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Climate change will bring extreme weather in UK but is an ongoing catastrophe in developing world

New predictions about the impact climate change could have on the UK are a wake-up call that cannot be ignored, says Christian Aid.
 
As the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announce UK predictions for increased flooding and dramatic temperature rises of 6C or more by 2080 if climate change is not halted, Christian Aid assesses the implications beyond our shores.
 
Whatever difficulties the UK will face from rising temperatures, the impact on countries in the developing world will be much worse.
 
‘Life in parts of the UK will get harder, but it will get a great deal harder in countries already suffering the impact of climate change,’ says Christian Aid’s senior climate policy expert Dr Alison Doig.
 
‘Their plight will worsen dramatically unless the international community wakes up to the fact that a full-blown emergency is looming.
 
‘At the moment climate change is seen as a problem in the UK. But in the developing world people are dying as a result of climate change and those worst affected are those least responsible for causing the carbon emissions that are responsible. 
 
The current global temperature rise of around 0.8oC is already causing 300,000 deaths from climate change across the developing world and the predicted temperature rises in the coming century mean poorer countries will continue to bear the brunt of its impacts.’   
Rising sea levels are already threatening communities in the Pacific and parts of Bangladesh, said Dr Doig, while drought is destroying lives and livelihoods in a number of African countries.
 
Extreme weather phenomena such as hurricanes and typhoons has increased in places such as the Caribbean and South East Asia, while diseases thriving in warm temperatures affecting both humans and livestock are also increasingly prevalent.
 
The world’s poorest countries are least able to respond to the changing climate, and have least resources in terms of health services, emergency responses and ability to rebuild lost assets.
 
‘The answer lies in our own hands,’ said Dr. Doig. ‘It is imperative that the international community agrees a tough, new, carbon-reduction deal at the next UN climate summit in Copenhagen in December.
 
‘This is another reason why Gordon Brown needs to show real leadership on climate change and consider attending the negotiations in person.’

‘If global warming is to be kept below 2oC, the point beyond which scientists predict climate catastrophe, rich countries must agree to reduce carbon emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2020. And those cuts have to be made domestically, not bought on the carbon off-set market.
 
‘In addition, developing countries must receive massive injections of finance from the industrialised world to help them adapt to the impacts of climate change already upon them, and develop in a low carbon way.
 
‘If the rich countries that bear by far the greatest responsibility for carbon emissions are seen to be unwilling to make real sacrifices, developing countries will question why they too should not pollute at will as they advance economically.’

Christian Aid and other development and environment groups estimate that industrialised countries should contribute 110bn Euros yearly by 2020 to support climate work in developing countries.

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For more press information, please contact Gillian Sandford on 0207 523 2419 or 07912 407692 or email gsandford@christianaid.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

  • Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in 49 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.

  • Christian Aid is a member of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition - the UK's largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change. 

  • Together with faith-based development agencies in a number of other European countries, Christian Aid has launched a new climate justice campaign called Countdown to Copenhagen. www.countdowntocopenhagen.com 

  • The figure of 300,000 deaths from climate change is taken from the estimates in report ‘Human Impact Report: Climate Change – The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis’ released by the Humanitarian Forum earlier this month