Climate crisis and global hunger

Systemic inequalities in our food and energy systems

Sir, – In a week that sees that great celebration of rural Ireland, “the Ploughing”, an Irish farming leader said “the opinion is out there that we’re 100 per cent the problem” when it comes to climate change. From our research on climate change, it would be naïve at best and a total abdication of responsibility at worst to believe this.

But tackling climate change is about taking responsibility and Ireland, along with all other rich, industrialised, polluting nations must own their fair share of the problem and solutions.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio 1, the ICMSA’s Pat McCormack called for “a sense of fairness” and that is what we’re calling for too. The industrialised model of agriculture that is currently supported sees farmers globally paying a very high price.

The world produces more than enough to feed everyone. The problem is inequality in food distribution, lack of affordable food, growing crops to fuel cars and trucks, and waste. Hunger is rising all over the world as food production increases and profits in the industry soar. A total of 62 new food billionaires were created since the start of the pandemic.


My colleagues are just back from Kenya, one of 10 climate hotspot countries which collectively have suffered a 123 per cent rise in acute hunger over the past six years. That region has lost 1.5 million livestock due to drought caused by climate change. These communities have watched their animals starve to death and as a fifth failed rainy season threatens; they fear people are next.

Climate-fuelled hunger is a stark demonstration of global inequality. Countries that are least responsible for the climate crisis are suffering most from its impact and are also the least resourced to cope with it. Collectively responsible for just 0.13 per cent of global carbon emissions, the 10 climate hotspots sit in the bottom third of countries least ready for climate change.

Meanwhile, polluting nations such as those of the G20, which control 80 per cent of the world’s economy, are together responsible for over three-quarters of the world’s carbon emissions.

We cannot fix the climate crisis without fixing the systemic inequalities in our food and energy systems. One of our key proposals around this ahead of Budget 2023 is a wealth tax and broad windfall tax which could yield billions in revenue to tackle crises at home and uphold commitments overseas, including on climate finance. – Yours, etc,



Oxfam Ireland,


Dublin 4.