New report: voices from communities affected by climate change

A new report from Friends of the Earth International launched on November 26 provides nine testimonies from community members around the globe who have dramatic first-hand experience of the devastating impacts of climate change.

MEDIA ADVISORY: November 26, 2007

Friends of the Earth Australia


A new report from Friends of the Earth International launched on November 26 provides nine testimonies from community members around the globe who have dramatic first-hand experience of the devastating impacts of climate change.

The report is available at:

The report “Voices from Communities Affected by Climate Change”, is being launched ahead of the key United Nations climate talks taking place from 3-14 December in Bali, Indonesia.

In this report, Indigenous Peoples, women, local authorities, farmers, small business owners and small-scale fisher folk speak out about their experience of climate change from Honduras, Peru, Brazil, Mali, Swaziland, the UK, Australia, Malaysia and Tuvalu. These community members highlight strategies that they have developed to attempt to adapt to the radical transformations that climate change has meant for their territories, lifestyles and ecosystems.

This global report begins with Tasmania’s and Australia’s encounter with the impacts of drought and bushfire over last year’s summer.

“Like everyone else in the world, here in Australia we will feel the effects of climate change. Already we have to contend with drought and bushfires, which may be attributable to climate change. However, in the global village our responsibility for the impacts of climate change is not the same – we have an obligation to the poorer people in the world to act” says Polly Buchhorn, report contributor, whose community of Scamander, Tasmania was devastated by bushfire in 2006.

Tatiana Roa Avendaño, Director of CENSAT Agua Viva/ Friends of the Earth Colombia says:

“We are on the brink of a global climatic catastrophe and poor, vulnerable communities – who are the least responsible for climate change – are already being hit by its impacts. Climate change is socially and environmentally disruptive, causing displacement, disease, and the destruction of livelihoods and ecosystems. Yet despite having to confront environmental disasters such as sea level rises in Bangladesh and across the Pacific, melting glaciers in the Andean and Himalayan regions and drought in Africa, these communities are showing remarkable resilience.”

“Nowhere near enough is being done to stop the root causes of climate change. Over-consumption – particularly in industrialised countries – continues unabated, and automobile, mining, oil and now biofuel corporations are raking in the profits. This drives home the need for a global, diverse movement to tackle climate change and demand climate justice. This can only be achieved by halting unsustainable consumption and production while promoting genuine solutions including clean renewable energy and energy sovereignty, a moratorium on fossil fuels extraction, the funding of adaptation, mitigation and forest conservation that protects land rights.”

Friends of the Earth International Climate Campaigner Stephanie Long says:

“The fate of these brave community members must be recognised by the global community. Friends of the Earth International is including this demand as part of our lobbying efforts for a post-2012 Kyoto agreement at the UN climate talks in Bali this December. Industrialised countries must accept responsibility for deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions within the coming fifteen years. Adaptation should be pro-poor, and protect ecosystems, livelihoods and human security. Community-based adaptation provides the best opportunity to ensure that adaptation projects are culturally, technically and socially appropriate, and that they increase resilience to the impacts of climate change.”

Industrialised countries should assess the costs of climate adaptation, and develop a detailed analysis of how new financing schemes, using tax and state funding, can be implemented to raise the necessary billions. Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), rich countries are obliged to finance developing country adaptation. [1] The costs of climate adaptation in developing countries will amount to many billions of dollars per year. [2]

As a nation, Australians are amongst the highest greenhouse gas emitters per capita in the world. As a wealthy industrialised nation we also have more resources and capacity for withstanding and adapting to climate change. Historically the global impact of our cumulative greenhouse gas emissions means we have a responsibility to share our resources and capacity for adaptation globally.



Cam Walker, Friends of the Earth Australia (Melbourne): (03) 9419 8700 or 0419 338 047

Emma Brindal, Friends of the Earth Australia (Brisbane): (07) 3846 5793 or 0411 084 727

Polly Buchhorn, report contributor – (Australian section) Tasmania: (03) 6327 5360

Stephanie Long, Friends of the Earth International climate coordinator:

+ 61-414 136 461

Tatiana Roa Avendaño, CENSAT Agua Viva/ Friends of the Earth Colombia director : + 57 1 2442465 or + 57 1 2440581 or + 57 1 3377709


[1] Article 4.3 of the UNFCCC commits Annex II countries to providing 'new and additional resources to meet the agreed full incremental cost of implementing measures…’ including ‘preparing for the adaptation to climate change’. In addition, Article 4.4 states that Annex II countries ‘shall also assist the developing country Parties that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in meeting costs of adaptation to those adverse effects.’

[2] According to Kermal Dervis, head of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), donors will need to provide 50 to 100 per cent more finance over and above current aid – equivalent to $50–100 billion annually – to cover the impacts of climate change. See