Poverty and equity are inextricably linked in the analysis of climate change and the global governance response. A more equitable approach to ‘mitigating’ climate change is essential for global governance cooperation, but ‘North’ and ‘South’ views of equity are rather polarised. A more pro-active negotiating strategy by poorer countries is needed to move closer to a solution based on per capita emission rights. The poorest countries are most vulnerable to the direct and indirect adverse impacts of climate change, and these threaten to undermine donor poverty reduction efforts. Given the apparent commonalities between the climate change ‘adaptation’ agenda and poverty reduction objectives, there is an urgent need to mainstream climate change adaptation in sustainable development policies. There may also be win-win environmental and poverty reduction opportunities in the Kyoto Protocol, but these could be costly in terms of development assistance support.