Tackling Climate Change
Goal 13 calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. It is intrinsically linked to all 16 of the other Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To address climate change, countries adopted the Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius. Learn more about Goal 13.
Why we need action
Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow.
People are experiencing the significant impacts of climate change, which include changing weather patterns, rising sea level, and more extreme weather events. The greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are driving climate change and continue to rise. They are now at their highest levels in history. Without action, the world’s average surface temperature is projected to rise over the 21st century and is likely to surpass 3 degrees Celsius this century—with some areas of the world expected to warm even more. The poorest and most vulnerable people are being affected the most.
A race we can win
Affordable, scalable solutions are now available to enable countries to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies. The pace of change is quickening as more people are turning to renewable energy and a range of other measures that will reduce emissions and increase adaptation efforts.
But climate change is a global challenge that does not respect national borders. Emissions anywhere affect people everywhere. It is an issue that requires solutions that need to be coordinated at the international level and it requires international cooperation to help developing countries move toward a low-carbon economy.
To address climate change, countries adopted the Paris Agreement at the COP21 in Paris on 12 December 2015. The Agreement entered into force less than a year later. In the agreement, all countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and given the grave risks, to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Implementation of the Paris Agreement is essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and provides a roadmap for climate actions that will reduce emissions and build climate resilience.
Climate Summit 2019
The Secretary-General will convene a Climate Summit in September 2019 to bring climate action to the top of the international agenda. Mr. Luis Alfonso de Alba, a former Mexican diplomat, will be his Special Envoy to lead its preparations.
The Summit will focus on the heart of the problem – the sectors that create the most emissions and the areas where building resilience could make the biggest difference – as well as provide leaders and partners the opportunity to demonstrate real climate action and showcase their ambition.
IPCC Climate Report 2018
Limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a new assessment. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society.
The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC was launched on Sunday, 7 October, in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.
Read the SG’s statement on the Report here.
Paris Agreement – Frequently Asked Questions
As of 28 September 2017, 166 countries have joined the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement is an ambitious, dynamic and universal agreement. It covers all countries and all emissions, and is designed to last. This is a monumental agreement. It solidifies international cooperation for climate change. It provides a way forward.
The Paris Agreement sends a powerful signal to markets that now is the time to invest in the low emission economy. It contains a transparency framework to build mutual trust and confidence.
It will serve as an important tool in mobilizing finance technological support and capacity building for developing countries. And it will also help to scale up global efforts to address and minimize loss and damage from climate change.
Paris is a beginning—we now have to implement the Agreement. But we have taken a giant step forward.
The proof will be in the implementation, by governments, businesses and civil society.
The agreement not only formalizes the process of developing national plans, but also it provides a binding requirement to assess and review progress on these plans. This mechanism will require countries to continuously upgrade their commitments and ensure that there will be no backtracking.
This agreement is a clarion call from governments that they are ready for implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
It is doable. Taking climate action now makes good economic sense. The more we delay, the more we pay. We can promote economic growth, eradicate extreme poverty, and improve people’s health and well-being by acting today.