SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 13

Take urgent action to combat

CLIMATE ACTION:

WHY IT MATTERS

What’s the goal here?

Taking urgent action to tackle climate change and its impacts.

Why?

As greenhouse gas levels continue to climb, climate change is occurring at much higher rates than anticipated, and its effects are evident worldwide. By addressing climate change, we can build a sustain- able world for everyone. But we need to act now.

Are people’s lives really being affected by climate change?

Yes. Severe weather and rising sea levels are affecting people and their property in developed and developing countries. From a small farmer in the Philippines to a businessman in London, climate change is affecting everyone, especially the poor and vulnerable, as well as marginalized groups like women, children, and the elderly.

What happens if we don’t take action?

What happens if we don’t take action? If left unchecked, climate change will cause average global temperatures to increase beyond 3°C, and will adversely affect every ecosystem. Already, we are seeing how climate change can exacerbate storms and disasters, and threats such as food and water scarcity, which can lead to conflict. Doing nothing will end up costing us a lot more than if we take action now. We have an opportunity to take actions that will lead to more jobs, great prosperity, and better lives for all while reducing green-house gas emissions and building climate resilience.

Can we solve this problem or is it too late to act?

To address climate change, we have to vastly increase our efforts. Much is happening around the world – investments in renewable energy have soared. But so much more needs to be done. The world must transform its energy, industry, transport, food, agriculture and forestry systems to ensure that we can limit global

temperature rise to well below 2°C, maybe even 1.5°C. In December 2015, the world took a significant first step by adopting the Paris Agreement, in which all countries committed to take action to address climate change. Many businesses and investors are also committing themselves to lower their emissions, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it makes economic and business sense as well.

How much would it cost to solve this problem?

In total, public and private sector investment in clean energy needs to reach at least US$1 trillion per year by 2030, and more to build climate resilience. This sounds like a lot, but consider that of the US$1.7 trillion invested in the global energy supply in 2016, nearly 70% was related to fossil fuels. But more and more, governments and businesses are finding that investments in renewable energy and sustainability are paying off.

What’s more is that the estimated costs of mitigation do not account for the benefits of reduced climate change. These include cleaner air, greater food security, more livable cities, and better health. Investments of only $6 billion for disaster risk reduction over the next 15 years would result in total benefits of $360 billion in terms of avoided losses over the lifetime of the investment.

What can I do to help achieve this goal?

There are many things that each of us can do as individuals. To find out what you can do, go to:

www.un.org/en/actnow

To read more about the UN’s efforts on climate change:

www.un.org/en/climatechange

To find out more
about Goal #13 and other Sustainable Development Goals, visit:

www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment

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