When talking about sustainability, most of us will instantly think of climate change. And to no avail since it is ultimately one of the biggest threats we face as a humanity in the 21st century affecting every single person in every single country.
The effects of climate change can already be seen in more extreme weather conditions, rising sea levels and soaring average temperatures with no ending in sight. And far worse is yet to come unless we take instant action. According to the UN, the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have increased almost 50% during the last 20 years and if no significant decrease takes place in the future, these emissions will result in 1.5°C warming of the global average temperature by the end of the century.
The warming itself results in bad crops, melting ice and severe drought across the globe. This is why one of the main targets of the 13th SDG is to “Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries”. Climate change doesn’t acknowledge national borders but the poorest areas are currently the ones most affected by it without being among the greatest polluters. Thus implementing proper practices to national strategies and planning in industrialized countries is crucial.
This sums up the need for global communal actions, such as the 2015 Paris Agreement, signed by 175 countries, in which they agreed to work to limit the global temperature rise well below 2°C. In order to succeed, steps like “Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning” need to be taken in every participating country. However, in 2017 the president of the United States announced the nation’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Even with the earliest possible withdrawal date being more than two years away, many questions and concerns continue to arise.
Tackling the rising average temperature is still possible through the right measures and institutional changes, and with more and more people turning to renewable energy sources and daily sustainable habits we have every reason to remain hopeful. We have no way of knowing what the future holds but action must taken now.