Climate Change Undermines China's Fight against Poverty

Press release - 2009-06-17
Climate change is hitting China’s poor the hardest while seriously weakening the country’s poverty alleviation efforts, a new report jointly released by Greenpeace China and Oxfam Hong Kong reveals today. The report, “Climate Change and Poverty: a case study of China”, also urges the government to commit to an ambitious climate rescue plan.

Climate change is hitting China’s poor the hardest, a new report jointly released by Greenpeace China and Oxfam Hong Kong reveals today.

"Eradicating climate poverty is the most complex and most difficult feat to accomplish," Hu An'gang, a well-respected economist in China, writes in the preface of the report.

The research finds that China's poverty-stricken areas are also those areas that are most vulnerable to climate change-caused disasters. The proportion of the absolute poverty population that is affected by climate change reached 95% in 2005, and is expected to rise. Case studies from Guangdong, Sichuan and Gansu provinces show that global warming induces floods, snow storms, and landslides which are detrimental to ecologically sensitive areas and hamper poverty relief efforts.

"China's poverty alleviation efforts for the past few decades could be seriously undermined unless the Chinese government takes the leadership in shaping an aggressive climate rescue treaty in the Copenhagen climate meeting this December," said Greenpeace China climate campaigner Li Yan.

Greenpeace urges immediate actions to avert the catastrophes caused by the climate crisis. "Developed countries, as a group, must agree to cut emissions by 40% by 2020. China and other developing countries need to reduce their projected emissions growth by 15-30% by 2020," said Li Yan.

Oxfam highlights the importance of adaptation measures and related finance. Oxfam Climate Change Programme Officer Li Ning said, "Developing countries, including China, should push climate change adaptation measures, such as introducing anti-drought and anti-flood crops, improving infrastructure, and elevating bridges and roads in flood-prone areas."

"Since rich countries are largely responsible for causing climate change and they have the capability to help, the developed world should start planning to raise the scale of resources needed - likely to be at least $50bn adaptation fund annually."

"Global warming is a key cause of poverty in China, which cannot be ignored," adds Lin Erda, climate scientist and lead author of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports, in the preface of the report.


Hans Xu: Media officer, Greenpeace China

+86-10-65546931 ext 123; +86-13401098073; Hans.Xu@

Wang Binbin: Media officer, Oxfam Hong Kong

+86-10-65512602 ext 701; +86-13810377810;

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