The times when alarming reports of a climate catastrophe were perceived as a suspicious conspiracy theory, have gone forever. If we want to ensure the prosperity of ourselves, future generations and other inhabitants of our planet, we can no longer ignore key scientific facts. World-class organizations are aware of that as well. The UN in 2015, while setting the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, considered climate protection to be one of the development priorities. According to Sustainable Development Goal 13, Member States should immediately “take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”.
The climatic catastrophe is happening now, all over the world
Climate change affects every country, on every continent. It disrupts the economy and affect life – both people and other organisms. Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, weather events are becoming more extreme (this year’s heat has already killed hundreds of people in India) and greenhouse gas emissions have reached the highest levels in history. Some places on Earth dry out, others are flooded. Cyclones have reached even Europe (so-called Medicans).
Such changes have already occurred in the Earth’s history, but never have they taken place at such an alarming rate. Neither we – people – nor other animals have time to respond to these changes and adapt to them. That is why today we are talking about the sixth mass extinction – only this time the cause is human activity. The climate crisis is very costly for ecosystems, people, communities and countries today, and it will cost more in the future if we do not take care to slow them down (because there is no way to stop it anymore).
What does the Sustainable Development Goal 13 oblige us to do?
All countries whose representatives signed Sustainable Development Agenda, and therefore its 17 goals, undertook to take all possible actions necessary to limit the negative impact of human activity on the terrestrial climate.
Climate action, i.e. implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 13, obliges us to:
- strengthen resilience and adaptability to threats related to climate and natural disasters;
- integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning;
- improve education, raising awareness and human and institutional capacity for climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning;
- implement the commitment of highly developed UN Member States to mobilize a total of USD 100 billion a year by 2020 in order to meet the needs of developing countries and to fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible;
- promote mechanisms to enhance the capacity for effective planning and management of climate change in least developed countries and small island developing ones, including focusing on women, young people and local and marginalized communities.
Global changes wanted now
Many countries have taken their commitments seriously. The pace of turning to green energy is accelerating, as more and more people are interested in (also in the economic context) RES and other solutions limiting emissions, including ones in cities (used in the idea of smart cities). It should always be borne in mind that a climate disaster is a global challenge that doesn’t respect national borders. This is an issue that requires coordinated solutions at the international level. It is the responsibility of countries with a high degree of technological development to provide help in the transition to a low-carbon economy also for developing countries.
Fortunately, no one is trying to ignore the problem anymore. From April 2018, 175 parties have ratified the agreement and 10 developing countries have made the first iterations of their national adaptation plans in response to climate change.