Tackling Climate Change
In 2020, concentrations of global greenhouse gases reached new highs, and real-time data point to continued increases. As these concentrations rise, so does the Earth’s temperature. In 2021, the global mean temperature was about 1.1°C above the pre-industrial level (from 1850 to 1900). The years from 2015 to 2021 were the seven warmest on record.
To limit warming to 1.5° Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as set out in the Paris Agreement, global greenhouse gas emissions will need to peak before 2025. Then they must decline by 43 % by 2030 and to net zero by 2050. To address climate change, 195 countries commited to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius and are articulating climate action plans to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts through nationally determined contributions. However, current national commitments are not sufficient to meet the 1.5°C target.
“To limit global warming to 1.5C, as called for in the Paris Agreement, greenhouse gas emissions must begin falling by 7.6 % each year starting in 2020”
The Sustainable Development Goal 13 (SDG 13) calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. It is intrinsically linked to all 16 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The five targets of SDG 13 include:
- Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries.
- Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.
- Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.
- Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible.
- Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities.
Although at first glance CE does not directly contribute to the SDG 13 targets, achieving climate target 13.2 would greatly support the adoption of CE practices related to renewable energy and contribute to achieving the energy targets of SDG 7.
Completing the picture
“Until now, we’re looked at solving climate change largely by switching to renewable energy. We’re replacing fossil fuels at speed, all over the world. But the truth is that energy transition will only solve half the climate problem. It’s like we’ve been reading half the book, like we’ve been watching only half the movie.” (Ellen McArthur Foundation)