Aims to “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”.
Let's learn a little more about SDG 13.
Transcending geographies and political boundaries Climate change represents one of the most urgent challenges facing humanity. According to a recent report released by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) in early April 2022 – “It’s now or never to limit global warming”.
Urgent action is required in this decade if we are to prevent run away climate change, keeping the rise in global average temperature to less than 1.5 °C. Vital towards achieving this will be action by all nations to limit the increase in the emissions of GHG (Green House Gases) stemming from energy use and industrial activities. SDG 13 focuses on taking key steps to reduce the emission of GHGs, address the capacity and ability of at-risk communities to manage the impacts of climate change related hazards and natural disasters and create solidarity within the global community towards this action.
In his 2020 Peace Proposal SGI President Daisaku Ikeda shares: “Climate change is more than an environmental issue in the conventionally understood sense: It represents a threat to all people living on Earth, both now and in future generations. It is, like nuclear weapons, a fundamental challenge on which the fate of humankind hinges… Indeed, as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said, climate change is “the defining issue of our time.” The impacts of climate change threaten to render meaningless global efforts to eliminate poverty and hunger, as set out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
Despite the multipronged efforts to shift the global economy towards low carbon pathways, climate change continues unabated. Since the 1980s, each decade has been warmer than the previous one, with the warmest seven years all coming since 2015; top three being 2016, 2019 and 2020. According to a UN report, the year 2021 though temporarily cooled by La Niña events was still amongst the seven warmest years on record and is remembered for a record-shattering temperature of nearly 50°C in Canada, comparable to the values reported in the hot Saharan Desert of Algeria, exceptional rainfall, and deadly flooding in Asia and Europe as well as drought in parts of Africa and South America. 2021 was also the 7th consecutive year where global temperature continued to be 1° C above pre-industrial levels.
According to IPCC Chair Dr. Hoesung Lee: “We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming, I am encouraged by climate action being taken in many countries. There are policies, regulations and market instruments that are proving effective. If these are scaled up and applied more widely and equitably, they can support deep emissions reductions and stimulate innovation.”
In terms of action, day-to-day efforts to curb climate change become critical. Every action towards combating climate action will have a manifold impact, resulting in creation of more jobs, great prosperity, and better lives for all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building climate resilience. President Ikeda writes in the 2016 Peace Proposal:
“The challenges that confront humankind, such as poverty or natural disasters, manifest themselves uniquely depending on location and circumstance. And as I mentioned with reference to climate change, the impacts of different threats are such that they can affect anyone, anywhere, at any time. That is why day-to-day efforts are needed in each locality to enhance resilience- -the capacity to prevent crises or their escalation and the ability to act with wisdom to respond flexibly and energetically to difficult conditions in the aftermath of disaster.”
As of April 2018, 175 parties had ratified the Paris Agreement and 168 parties had communicated their first nationally determined contributions to the UN framework convention on Climate Change Secretariat.
As of April 2018, 10 developing countries had successfully completed and submitted their first iteration of their national adaptation plans for responding to climate change.
Developed country parties continue to make progress towards the goal of jointly mobilizing $100 billion annually by 2020 for mitigation actions.
From 1880 to 2012, average global temperature increased by 0.85°C. To put this into perspective, for each 1 degree of temperature increase, grain yields decline by about 5 per cent. Maize, wheat and other major crops have experienced significant yield reductions at the global level of 40 megatons per year between 1981 and 2002 due to a warmer climate.
Oceans have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished and sea level has risen. From 1901 to 2010, the global average sea level rose by 19 cm as oceans expanded due to warming and ice melted. The Arctic’s sea ice extent has shrunk in every successive decade since 1979, with 1.07 million km² of ice loss every decade.
Given current concentrations and on-going emissions of greenhouse gases, it is likely that by the end of this century, the increase in global temperature will exceed 1.5°C compared to 1850 to 1900 for all but one scenario. The world’s oceans will warm and ice melt will continue. Average sea level rise is predicted as 24 – 30cm by 2065 and 40-63cm by 2100. Most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions are stopped.
Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have increased by almost 50 per cent since 1990.
Emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades.
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
*Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change.
Here is a quiz to help deepen the understanding of why it is important to preserve the ozone layer.
Let’s take a fun quiz on understanding more about SDG 13, which pertains to Climate Action.
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