Take Urgent Action to Combat Climate Change and Its Impacts
WHY IS SDG 13: CLIMATE ACTION SO IMPORTANT?
As the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report reveals, between 1880 and 2012 the Earth's average temperature increased by 0.85°C, between 2030 and 2052 the increase will be 1.5°C and 3 to 5°C by the end of the century. Sea levels rose 19 centimeters between 1901 and 2010 and the Arctic is losing 1.07 million km2 of ice every decade.
On the other hand, the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere has been rising steadily since the Industrial Revolution, and now stands at a worrying 413.2 parts per million (ppm), according to 2021 data from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The WMO also warns that this is a growing trend. The last time there was a comparable concentration of CO2 on Earth was between three and five million years ago, when humans did not yet exist.
In this regard, communities should work to move towards a low-carbon economy, in which renewable energy and the power sector play a key role. Decarbonization of the economy is vital to curb climate change, and this will only be achieved through a clear commitment to electrification and clean energy.
All these data point to the fact that the Earth's climate patterns are changing, and human activity is largely responsible. Climate change has a negative impact on the environment, the economy, the well-being of people and communities and, if we do not act urgently, the consequences will be devastating for life and development on our planet. Indeed, extreme weather events and rising sea levels are already affecting people living in developing countries, the most vulnerable. By acting now, we can promote economic growth, eradicate extreme poverty and improve people's health and well-being.
Reversing the above figures can only be achieved by acting globally, across the board and with resolve. That is why taking urgent action to combat climate change has become SDG 13 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in September 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda.
SDG 13 TARGETS: CLIMATE ACTION
Within SDG 13, the specific targets for 2030 are as follows:
Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related risks and natural disasters in all countries.
Mainstream climate change measures into national policies, strategies and plans.
Improve education, awareness and human and institutional capacity on climate change, mitigation and early warning.
Promote mechanisms to increase capacity for effective climate change planning and management in least developed countries.
According to the International Energy Agency, energy-related CO2 emissions will grow by nearly 5% in 2021. Thus, in order to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations "at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human-induced) interference with the climate system", the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26), one of the most important environmental summits, was held.
Global temperature 2021
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the global surface temperature in May 2021 was 0.81°C above pre-industrial levels.The world is not on track to meet the Paris Agreement targets. Although COVID-19 reduced human activities and consequently lowered emissions, the planet is still experiencing an increase in global carbon-dioxide emissions. Financial climate supports are working and countries are trying to adapt and promote climate action. But the pandemic was a wake-up call. The climate crisis damage is anticipated to be much bigger than the COVID-19 pandemic and will include all planet.
 IPCC. Climate Change 2014. Synthesis Report. https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/05/SYR_AR5_FINAL_full_wcover.pdf
 WMO. Greenhouse Gas Bulletin: Another Year Another Record. 2021. https://public.wmo.int/en/media/press-release/greenhouse-gas-bulletin-another-year-another-record
 IEA: Global Energy Review 2021. https://www.iea.org/reports/global-energy-review-2021
 National Centres for Environmental Information. Global Climate Report May 2021