Caoimhe Durkan continues her series on the Sustainable Development Goals, this week looking at Goal 13.

Following a year of extreme weather conditions in Ireland, including intense snowfall in March, a summer of widespread drought and uncharacteristically high temperatures, the need to address the issue of Climate Change has never seemed so urgent.

Why is Climate Action included as one of the Sustainable Development Goals?

 Climate Change is a critical issue which is affecting each of us in more ways than we can imagine. Climate Action is included as one of the Sustainable Development Goals as taking action to halt the progress of climate change is imperative to develop a sustainable future for all life on earth.

An analysis carried out by the World Meteorological Association has shown that the five-year average global temperature from 2013 to 2017 was also the highest on record, while 2017 was one of the three warmest years on record and 1.1 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.

According to the most recent WWF Living Planet Report, “exploding human consumption is the driving force behind the unprecedented planetary change we are witnessing”, as the demand for energy, land and water grows each year.

How does Goal 13 relate to the remaining 17 SDGs?

Climate change is intricately linked with the remaining 16 sustainable development goals since it has been predicted that changes in the climatic system will impact upon the availability of freshwater, food security, and energy.

Poor and developing countries will be among those that will experience most acutely the adverse effects of climatic changes, since they lack the infrastructure to withstand threats posed by cyclones, increasing temperatures, and rising sea levels. Additionally, it is expected that climatic changes will have a profound effect on agricultural activities, making famine a very real threat in developing countries.

What are the Goal 13 targets?

 The United Nations have outlined a number of targets in relation to Goal 13, with all countries expected to integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning. The UN aims to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacities to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries and improve education and awareness with regard to mitigation, impact reduction and early warning.

Are countries doing enough to combat climate change and its impacts?

In the Peruvian Amazon, the Harakmbut warriors recognise that protecting their tropical rainforests, the lungs of the earth, is the most effective way to combat climate change. With UNDP support, they are carrying out the Amazon Indigenous Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Initiative, “Peru’s most ambitious local mitigation, adaptation and conservation plan ever”.

In the UK, citizens took it upon themselves last week to protest the government’s failure to address the threat that climate change poses, and urged officials to take measures towards mitigating its effects.

Meanwhile, an organisation called Climate Case Ireland, inspired by the success of Dutch Urgenda Foundation, will be taking the Irish government to court on January 22nd to demand more climate action. Visit to learn more, show your support, and get involved.


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Image courtesy of Alex at Unsplash 

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