Goal 13: take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Author:Figueres, Christiana

The year 2015 marks a defining moment in the global quest for a sustainable future for 7 billion people, rising to over 9 billion by 2050.

Over the next nine months, Governments will define their vision for a post-2015 development agenda by agreeing upon a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs). Meanwhile, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), these same Governments will ink a new universal agreement in December 2015 in Paris at the United Nations Climate Change Conference to both address the threat of climate change and deliver on the opportunity of combating it.

These two pathways, though coming from two different backgrounds and having their own dynamics and challenges, must be mutually supportive and interrelated, if poverty is to be eradicated, livelihoods are to be improved, prosperity is to be fostered and a healthy, functioning world is to be passed onto the next generation. This essential relationship has been recognized by Governments and society in general. The 17 proposed SDGs include SDG 13: "Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts".

Crucially, proposed SDG 13 underlines that the task is being advanced under the UNFCCC in order to minimize the duplication of efforts and optimize finite resources.

The Paris agreement, which for the first time will bring together all nations in common cause, has the target of limiting the global temperature rise this century to below 2[degrees]C.

In order to achieve this, the new treaty needs to put in place policies, pathways, technologies and financing to ensure that global emissions peak in no later than 10 years, trigger a deep decarbonization of the worldwide economy, and deliver climate neutrality in the second half of the century. Climate neutrality, sometimes referred to as carbon neutrality, zero net or net zero, is nothing short of restoring the balance of the planet, in terms of emissions in and emissions out, to its previous state that prevailed one and a half centuries ago.

It is going to require a significant increase in clean and renewable energies, and the sustainable management and restoration of healthy ecosystems-- such as forests, soils and wetlands--that are capable of both absorbing what greenhouse gas emissions remain, while assisting communities and countries to adapt to some level of climatic impacts that will now be unavoidable.

All of these measures and actions can directly support the achievement of the SDGs...

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