The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has published a new report examining the implications of the latest data and scientific research on the state of the global climate for sustainable development.
The report – Climate Indicators and Sustainable Development: Demonstrating the Interconnections – highlights how the world’s climate is already changing and how these changes will impede the achievement of the United Nations’ (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), established in 2015.
According to the findings, if the SDGs are to be achieved by the 2030 target, the risks posed by human-induced climate change must be understood and addressed. The report’s release coincides with the UN General Assembly annual session and the opening of the SDG Action Zone, which is dedicated to accelerating action on the SDGs.
The aim of the WMO report is to demonstrate the connections between the global climate and the SDGs, which go far beyond SDG 13 for climate action. It also champions the need for greater international collaboration, which it believes is essential for achieving the SDGs, and for limiting global warming to less than 2°C or even 1.5°C by the end of this century.
The report is accompanied by a story map that highlights seven climate indicators whose impacts span the SDGs: Carbon dioxide concentration, temperature, ocean acidification, ocean heat content, sea-ice extent, glacier mass balance and sea-level rise.
Petteri Taalas, secretary-general, WMO, said, “In the face of ongoing climate change, poverty, inequality and environmental degradation, understanding the connections between climate and international development is a matter of urgency.
“Increasing temperatures will result in global and regional changes, leading to shifts in rainfall patterns and agricultural seasons. The intensification of El Niño events is also generating more droughts and floods. By unpacking the interconnections between the WMO climate indicators and the SDGs through clear visual maps, this report aims to contribute to the sustainable development agenda and to inspire leaders to take bolder climate action,” he said.
The report stresses that reducing carbon emissions is one of the most effective and necessary climate-related actions for achieving the SDGs.
WMO plans to compile exemplars on the interconnection between climate indicators and SDGs based on real data in 2021. The methodology in the report will be used to closely monitor the risks posed by the worsening of these indicators on achieving the SDGs.
“As the international community becomes increasingly aware of the interconnections between climate change and sustainable development, more interdisciplinary partnerships for change can happen, resulting in more sustainable behavior and consumption. It is hoped that this report can serve as a basis for more interdisciplinary research and collaboration, improved policy development and stronger commitment to both the SDGs and climate action. Our future depends on it,” concludes the report.