Oxfam International Blogs - Paris 2015 http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/paris-2015 en Climate change and hunger: El Niño could push us into unchartered waters http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-10-01-climate-change-hunger-el-nino-could-push-us-unchartered-waters <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Millions of poor people face hunger and poverty this year and next because of droughts and erratic rains as global temperatures reach record levels and because of the onset of a powerful El Niño, the climatic phenomenon that develops in the tropical Pacific which can bring extreme weather to several regions.</p> <p>I’ve written about El Niño in <a href="http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/blog/2014/01/increase-in-super-el-ninos-will-impact-the-poorest-most" rel="nofollow">previous blogs</a> and about the danger that<a href="http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/blog/2015/08/weather-alert-an-introduction-to-climate-change" rel="nofollow"> rising sea surface temperatures</a> are increasing the odds of powerful El Niños happening. And this one certainly seems like it will be a humdinger; possibly the <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/this-year-s-el-nino-will-be-the-strongest-in-18-years-wmo-says-1.3212589" rel="nofollow">most powerful</a> since the strong <a href="https://www.wmo.int/media/content/el-ni%C3%B1o-expected-be-strongest-1997-98" rel="nofollow">El Niño of 1997/98</a>.</p> <p>El Niños don’t necessarily cause serious climatic disruption – there are many other influences on climate patterns – but they do increase the odds, especially in Southern Africa, Central America and parts of Asia and the Pacific.</p> <p><strong>What makes this year’s El Niño especially dangerous</strong> is that it is happening on top of rising global temperatures. Last year record high temperatures – it was the warmest year on record - seemed to create an El Niño effect, although an actual El Niño did not develop. Growing seasons in Southern Africa and Central America behaved as if one was occurring; rains were late and erratic and there were serious crop failures in several countries.</p> <p><img alt="Climate change and El Niño map." title="Climate change and El Niño map." height="400" width="800" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/6912_el_nino_map_for_media_twitter_600x400px_proof.jpg" /></p> <p>So if the current El Niño does have the anticipated impacts, the rains will be bad again in these regions which will mean a second successive year of crop failure. That would bring even greater food insecurity for millions of people. The countries currently suffering most, and likely to be worst hit again, include Zimbabwe – where 1.5 million people are currently hungry - and Malawi. There some 2 million people were been hit by extensive floods and by drought in 2014/15, and now by rising prices for the staple crop of maize. The lean season will start as early as January for most and continue well into April.</p> <p><strong>Ethiopia too is already facing</strong> what the Oxfam Country Director has described as “the start of a major emergency, which is expected to be serious and long” due to poor rains. But what is happening in Ethiopia may also show the way forward in making sure that drought does not result in deaths from hunger or impoverishment of communities so that they become vulnerable to future climate shocks.</p> <p><strong>Prevention measures</strong> being taken by the Government and international agencies like Oxfam include cash-for-work, water for people and animals, fodder and livestock vaccination. As a result the situation is not as bad as it might have been by now.</p> <p>National governments and international donors, including the UK, need to step up support for such-like prevention and preparation programmes so that these can be scaled up. At the moment it seems that the implications of the chronic droughts and El Niño have not been fully appreciated.  In Ethiopia, Southern Africa and Central America Oxfam staff report that donors seem reluctant to fund prevention work, saying they are over-stretched and have other and higher-profile emergencies to deal with. However, relatively small amounts of money spent now are likely to be much <a href="http://www.fsnau.org/in-focus/study-report-mortality-among-populations-southern-and-central-somalia-affected-severe-food-" rel="nofollow">more cost-effective than waiting</a> until the only option is to provide emergency relief.</p> <p><strong>The El Niño is likely</strong> to mean that <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2015/08/17/july-was-likely-earths-warmest-month-in-whats-destined-to-be-earths-warmest-year/" rel="nofollow">2015 will be even hotter</a> than 2014, and that 2016 will be unusually hot too. In light of the way in which climate change is already increasing temperature and rainfall extremes, preparedness, prevention and social protection will become ever more crucial to enable communities across the world to adapt.  </p> <p>But ultimately any level of preparation and adaptation will be thwarted unless at the next <a href="http://www.cop21.gouv.fr/en" rel="nofollow">climate change talks in Paris</a>, world leaders create a universal and legally binding agreement to mitigate carbon emissions and limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius. Currently the world is on track for at least 3 degrees of warming which would be globally catastrophic.  </p> <p><em>This entry posted by John Magrath (<a href="https://twitter.com/JFMagrath" rel="nofollow">@JFMagrath</a>), Oxfam Program Researcher, on 1 October 2015.</em></p> <p><em>Photo at top: Aissata Abdoul Diop, a member of the Diawoud community women's cooperative, showing how the maize ears dried in her drought stricken garden, during the West Africa food crisis of 2012. Credit: Pablo Tosco/Oxfam</em></p> <p><img alt="Climate change is causing hunger." title="Climate change is causing hunger." height="512" width="1024" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/el-nino-ipaishe1-twitter-1024x512-final.jpg" /></p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><a href="http://oxf.am/ZAzr" rel="nofollow"><strong>Take action on climate change</strong></a></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><strong>Read the Oxfam report: <a href="http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/publications/entering-uncharted-waters-el-nio-and-the-threat-to-food-security-578822" rel="nofollow">Entering Uncharted Waters: El Niño and the threat to food security</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Blog: <a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/15-09-22-road-zero-hunger-runs-through-paris">The road to zero hunger runs through Paris</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Climate change and hunger: El Niño could push us into unchartered waters</h2></div> Wed, 30 Sep 2015 23:01:38 +0000 John Magrath 27794 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-10-01-climate-change-hunger-el-nino-could-push-us-unchartered-waters#comments Will businesses ‘Walk the Walk’ and “Talk the Walk” on the Road to Paris? http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-05-19-will-businesses-walk-and-talk-road-to-paris-climate <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Business leaders meeting in Paris have the power to show they will listen to those who are least to blame yet most affected by climate change, like Anastacia from Mozambique </strong>(pictured above)<strong>. She told Oxfam that the temperature is changing and there are more extreme changes in the rainy and dry seasons where she lives. Rainy seasons are getting longer and the dry seasons shorter.</strong></p> <h3>Will companies actually stand up and make broad commitments at the Business &amp; Climate Summit in Paris this week?</h3> <p>This year is crucial when it comes to tackling climate change as world leaders will be meeting in Paris in December to negotiate how those emitting the most carbon will stand by those that are most vulnerable to climate change. In the lead up to those negotiations, major multi-national companies will come together this week to discuss climate change at a Business Summit in Paris. The Business &amp; Climate Summit “provides a unique forum for business and government leaders to demonstrate bold action, adopt forward-looking strategies and call for ambitious policies that will allow us to scale up solutions,” according to its website. But will companies actually stand up and make broad commitments?</p> <p><strong>It is more urgent than ever</strong> for business to make it clear to governments that it is in the commercial interests of many of them particularly the food and beverage sector, as well as the in the interests of those living in poverty and the planet itself, to make ambitious commitments. Last year, Oxfam called on food and beverage companies to <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/bp186-standing-sidelines-big10-climate-emissions-200514-en_2.pdf" rel="nofollow">step off the sidelines</a> and start playing ball when it comes to climate change. After all, this sector is at extreme risk of climate impacts. Every day there is news of how climate change is wreaking havoc on our food like <a href="http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/05/04/climatechange-tea-india-idINKBN0NP1YW20150504" rel="nofollow">tea</a>, <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168192315000830" rel="nofollow">coffee</a>, <a href="http://www.salon.com/2014/11/20/why_climate_change_could_mean_the_end_of_chocolate_partner/" rel="nofollow">cocoa</a>, <a href="http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err-economic-research-report/err175.aspx" rel="nofollow">dairy</a>, <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/02/filipino-fight-against-climate-change-201421613573434853.html" rel="nofollow">coconuts</a>, and <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/climate-change-food-security-global-banana-market-feeling-strain-hotter-weather-1854296" rel="nofollow">bananas</a>, to name a few. Recently I met a dairy farmer in Kenya, Rose, she told me “the weather has changed tremendously. This place used to have plenty of rain. Almost throughout the year we had rain here. There was no problem with fodder.” In one of the droughts she lost 2 of her 5 cows. Dairy farming was how she supported her family.</p> <p>The irony is that the way we grow our food also contributes to climate change. Two companies – <a href="http://www.behindthebrands.org/en-us/campaign-news/climate-roadmap" rel="nofollow">General Mills and Kellogg</a> – took up our challenge last year to reduce their agricultural emissions across their supply chains but some are still standing on the sidelines.</p> <p><strong>But reducing their emissions is only one step towards the Road to Paris.</strong> The second step must be supporting the farmers like Rose that not only take on the climate risks of the food sector in a disproportionate way, but reap the <a href="http://www.cocoabarometer.org/Download_files/Cocoa%20Barometer%202015.pdf" rel="nofollow">least amount</a> from the prices of the commodities they grow. Economic resilience is a key part of the equation for reducing farmer vulnerability to climate impacts, but companies must also accelerate the sharing and investing in innovations related to adaptation strategies for those farmers.</p> <p>Finally, once they have credibly “walked the walk”, food and beverage companies need to “talk the walk” – by sounding the alarm for the future of food security and for their own survival. This includes being a public champion and a strong advocate toward key national governments for a fair and binding climate treaty in Paris, robust financing for adaptation and calling out other industries, including the fossil fuel sector, to stop blocking any efforts towards these accomplishments. Some of the food and beverage companies have been leaders on this front and have been the driving force behind statements made coalitions such as <a href="http://www.ceres.org/bicep" rel="nofollow">BICEP</a>, <a href="http://www.wemeanbusinesscoalition.org/" rel="nofollow">We Mean Business</a> and the <a href="http://www.theconsumergoodsforum.com/" rel="nofollow">Consumer Goods Forum</a>, but more can be done by those leaders and the laggards must catch up.</p> <p>So will the food and beverage companies step up and make some concrete commitments? Look out for our next blog to find out.</p> <p><em>This entry posted by Irit Tamir, Senior Campaigns and Advocacy Advisor, Private Sector, Oxfam America, on 19 May 2015. Photo: Anastacia Antonia, Farmer, Mozambique. 22 years old. Credit: Mario Macilau/Oxfam</em></p> <h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><a href="http://www.behindthebrands.org/en/take-action" rel="nofollow"><strong>Make your voice heard - push your favorite brand to act on climate change</strong></a></p> <h3>You may also like</h3> <p><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/15-03-31-battle-brands-annual-scorecard-update"><strong>Battle of the Brands: The Annual Scorecard Update</strong></a></p> <p><a href="https://blogs.oxfam.org/en/blogs/15-01-19-inequality-climate-change-defining-challenges-2015"><strong>Rising inequality and climate change: The defining challenges for global leaders in 2015</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Will businesses ‘Walk the Walk’ and “Talk the Walk” on the Road to Paris?</h2></div> Tue, 19 May 2015 11:19:01 +0000 Irit Tamir 26776 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/15-05-19-will-businesses-walk-and-talk-road-to-paris-climate#comments