Climate Change Climate Change

The world’s poorest people are experiencing the impact of climate change with devastating consequences

The world’s poorest people are experiencing the impact of climate change with devastating consequences

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed in 2014 that global temperatures are increasing, sea levels are rising, and rainfall patterns are changing.

Climate change magnifies the risk of disasters everywhere, particularly in those parts of the world where people are already poor and vulnerable and where extreme weather events tend to occur.

Through our programming, we’re working to make communities more resilient to the significant challenges posed by climate change. To help prevent future disasters, we’ve invested in community-based early warning systems and are helping farmers prepare for changing weather conditions by providing training in drought-resistant crops and adapted farming methods.

We’re also advocating globally for a fair, ambitious, and legally binding global agreement while taking responsibility for our own emissions of greenhouse gases.

icon-climate-change-400Fast facts

  • Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer than any preceding decade since 1850.
  • Global emissions of carbon dioxide have increased by almost 50% since 1990.
  • While global demand continues to surge, renewable water resources are becoming scarcer.
  • There were around 13 million hectares of forest lost worldwide each year between 2000 and 2010.

Our climate change programs

In 2013, CARE worked with almost 400,000 people in 25 countries to help them adapt to the effects of climate change.


CARE integrates climate change adaptation into our programming because we recognise that the poorest communities are suffering the most, and most quickly, from climate change.

CARE’s community-based adaptation projects address the impacts of climate change on livelihoods and disaster risk. We also address the underlying causes of poverty and social marginalisation. CARE focuses on empowering vulnerable people with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to effectively adapt to the impacts of climate change. We currently have adaptation projects in Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Vanuatu, and Vietnam.

CARE believes that integrating climate change adaptation into poverty-reduction projects increases their sustainability and impact, especially in highly sensitive sectors such as water, agriculture, and health. Climate change impacts can seriously affect development results, in some cases completely reversing any gains that have been made.

Carbon Finance and REDD+

Carbon finance projects are designed to reduce the build-up of harmful greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. For poor rural communities, these projects present opportunities for poverty reduction, but can also pose a threat to livelihoods, land use, and incomes. CARE ensures that benefits associated with technologies that reduce emissions also support broader development goals.

Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) is a global goal that provides forest-dependent communities with secure property rights, equitable rewards for ecosystem services, and other livelihood benefits. CARE is engaged in the development of the REDD+ Social and Environmental Safeguards.

Eighty to ninety per cent of the world’s 1.1 billion poorest people are dependent on forest resources for their survival. Deforestation and forest degradation rob them of assets and diminish ecosystems that are essential to their fight against poverty.

We helped 400,000 people adapt to climate change in 2013


CARE advocates for a fair, ambitious, and legally binding global climate change agreement. The agreement must be supported by proactive national policies and actions that place poor women and other highly vulnerable people at the very centre of climate change response.

The decisions that the international community make or fail to make in the next few years in response to tackling climate change have major implications for the world’s poorest people.

CARE is working towards influencing the international community by:

  • strengthening networks and alliances that identify, analyse, and advocate for policy options that benefit the poor
  • addressing the implications of emissions policies for poverty reduction
  • participating in advocacy alliances such as the Climate Action Network
  • investing in disaster risk reduction
  • expanding opportunities for poor people to participate in and benefit from carbon finance mechanisms.

Visit CARE’s Climate Change Information Centre for more information.

Climate change affects women and men differently

Unequal access to resources, rights, and opportunities between the genders mean women and men can experience the impacts of climate change and disasters differently.

Women play an essential role in tackling the climate change challenge. If we can address and transform gender inequalities through climate change and disaster risk reduction initiatives, we can promote the equal rights of women, but also multiply the sustainable impact of climate-related activities.

You can find out more by downloading the PDFs below:

Taking responsibility

CARE has committed to taking responsibility for the emissions of greenhouse gases from our Australia-based operations. Our emissions-reduction goal is 40 per cent by 2015. The foundation of our response is measuring and reporting our carbon footprint.

In 2013/14, we had an overall reduction in our emissions of 23 per cent.

We moved closer towards our goal through these actions:

  • An 81 per cent reduction of emissions from waste. This was achieved through improving our recycling systems.
  • A 22 per cent reduction in our emissions from air travel, mainly through offsetting all our emissions.
  • Progress towards our emissions reduction goal is reported in our Annual Reports.

Other resources and highlights