Sustainable Goal of the Month | December 2020: Climate Action
A Greener, Cleaner, Brighter Future
Climate change is affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives. Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, and weather events are becoming more extreme.
Although greenhouse gas emissions are projected to drop about 6 per cent in 2020 due to travel bans and economic slowdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, this improvement is only temporary. Climate change is not on pause. Once the global economy begins to recover from the pandemic, emissions are expected to return to higher levels.
As the world looks to recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is growing global recognition that the catalyst for transformational change is investment in a green and sustainable global economy that produces jobs, reduces emissions, and builds resilience to climate impacts.
Today, progress is being made in many places, but, overall, action to rescue the planet and to save live and livelihoods is not yet advancing at the speed or scale required. Accelerating sustainable solutions are needed to meet the challenge of climate change. There is a need for all sectors of society to mobilize for action on three levels: global action: the Paris Agreement; locals action: green policies and investment from our government and private institutions that reduce CO2 and pollutants emission and people action: that reduces the carbon footprint in their daily lives. We can do this by simply not wasting energy:
- Turn off your lights and use energy-efficient lightbulbs
- Turn down the thermostat in winter and turn up during the summer
- Unplug unused electronics and appliances
- Install solar panels
- Drive a hybrid or electric vehicle.
Electricity drives our lifestyles. Although some 790 million people in the world still lack access to electricity, for the rest, everything from a computer to a television to refrigerator needs energy. We don’t have to give up our appliances — but we can use them in a way that doesn’t waste energy.
Shifting to a green economy could yield a direct economic gain of at least US$26 trillion through to 2030 compared to business-as-usual. With renewable energy, we can generate three times more jobs than compared to fossil fuels – that could mean about 9 million jobs annually in the next three years.
Read a green success story: Solar empowerment in Yemen
In December, we highlight Sustainable Development Goal 13 – Climate Action – as we mark the fifth anniversary of the landmark Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and an end to an unprecedented year with an ambition to recover better, stronger and healthier.
Here is everything you need to know about the Paris Agreement.
Climate science is clear – greenhouse gas concentrations, which are already at their highest levels in 3 million years, have continued to rise, even despite economic slowdowns caused by COVID-19. Temperatures are in record-breaking territory, polar ice is retreating, and sea level is rising. Now is the time for bold action to address the climate emergency and recover sustainably from the pandemic to generate an unstoppable movement pushing for the required transformations for a Greener, Cleaner, Brighter Future.
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