Sustainable Development Goal No 13 and the Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World

E_SDG goals_icons-individual-cmyk-13.jpgThe COP24, Conference of the Parties 24, started this Monday, but why should we concern ourselves with what is happening in faraway Poland? The answer is simple: Because we live on the same planet and climate change concerns us all eventually. In this regard, we want to introduce you to Sustainable Development Goal no 13, which is dedicated to climate action, and how we can contribute to this goal and make the world more climate-friendly.

So here we go!

“Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts” is the main message of SDG No13. But what does this mean exactly? The UN defined it with the following five sub-goals it wants to reach by 2030:

  1. Strengthen the flexibility and the capacity to adapt to climate-related disasters in all countries.
  2. Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and into planning.
  3. Build knowledge and the capacity to tackle climate change. This includes an improvement of education, extensive awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity building. Hereby, the focus is on mitigation, adaption and impact reduction of climate change and an early warning system.
  4. Implement the commitments of developed countries towards the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This also includes a pledge by developed countries to mobilise $100 billion together every year as a contribution to the Green Climate Fund, in order to support the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions.
  5. Promote mechanisms to raise the capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in the least developed countries and small island developing states.

The question now is: What has been achieved since the establishment of SDG no 13?

In April 2016, 175 parties ratified the Paris Agreement and 168 parties communicated their first contributions. Additionally, 10 developing countries had successfully completed and submitted the first iteration of their national adaption plans for responding to climate change. In terms of the UNFCCC $10.3 billion had been raised, which is only a little more than one 10th of what was planned on being raised until 2020. Furthermore, the implementation of national adaptation programmes of action will help the least developed countries prepare and seek funding for comprehensive national adaptation plans, thereby reducing their risk of being left behind.

In this regard, this 24th climate conference is especially important, because concrete rules and tools should be ratified now, in order to implement the Paris Agreement. If that will not happen, the fight against global warming and climate change will suffer a major setback.

But even if no agreement will be reached on the issue of committed implementation, we as the people can help to stop the severe consequences of climate change. Here are ten steps that every one of us can implement, even when sitting on the sofa:

  1. Calculate your carbon emissions with the Carbon Calculator. This way you are more aware of the amount of CO2 you produce and hopefully, this motivates you to apply some of the following steps.
  2. Find a Goal 13 charity you want to support. Any donation, big or small, can make a difference! (See the “Get Involved” section on https://www.globalgoals.org/ for inspiration)
  3. Recycle paper, glass, plastic, metal and old electronics, in order to avoid exhausting our finite natural resources and raw materials.
  4. Composting food scraps can reduce climate impact while also recycling nutrients.
  5. Choose reusable products. Use an eco-bag for shopping and a reusable water bottle or a cup to reduce your plastic waste.
  6. Buy eco-friendly products. Read the packaging to see if products are produced in an eco-friendly way.
  7. Bike, walk or take public transport. Save the car trips for when you’ve got a big group.
  8. Consume less meat and become vegetarian for one day a week. The meat production industry has a huge impact on the environment.
  9. Reduce your use of paper. Avoid printing and substitute it with electronic devices or carriers.
  10. Stay informed. Follow your local news and stay in touch with the Global Goals online or on social media.

These are only a few ideas on what YOU can do.  If you want to get even more involved or are looking for other ideas then try the Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World.

For further reading:

More on the SDG 13: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg13 and the SDG Tracker

More about the COP24 on: https://cop24.gov.pl/.

The ICPP report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.

A guide on becoming climate neutral, developed by the UN for citizens.

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