The Impact of Climate Change on the Achievement of the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals

Submitted by CDKN Communications Team | published 18th May 2015 | last updated 30th Jul 2015
5567289489f79sk-rmavbild-2015-05-28-kl - climate adaptation.

Introduction

This work explores the implications of a potential international climate agreement on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Governments are due to negotiate a climate agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP21) in Paris, France at the end of 2015. The impact of the climate agreement on global development by 2030 will be significant and, although it is unlikely to significantly impact global warming or the frequency and severity of weather-related disasters in the period up to 2030, it will play a major role thereafter. A high-ambition agreement that provides a clear policy framework for action on climate change, incentivises international cooperation, and mobilises additional resources for mitigation and adaptation activities is essential to give us the best chance of achieving the SDGs by 2030. Likewise, strong SDGs will help to lay the policy groundwork for achieving and implementing a more ambitious climate agreement.

This research considers impacts on development over the next 15 years, including economic impacts, under two scenarios for the 2015 climate change agreement: a high-ambition agreement and a low-ambition agreement, with associated policies and levels of investment in mitigation and adaptation. The high-ambition scenario used is based on the UNFCCC aim to limit global warming to a 2°C increase on pre-industrial temperatures.

Case studies

Selected country case studies show that, at the national level, the nature of the links between the climate agreement and the achievement of SDGs varies from country to country. In the Caribbean states of Dominica and Jamaica, the SDG relating to poverty (SDG 1) is the most sensitive to the differences in the climate ambition, while in Pakistan and Uganda the SDGs relating to poverty and energy (SDGs 1 and 7, respectively) are the most sensitive to the level of climate ambition.

Ugandan farmlands. Picture from CDKN website

 

Key messages

A high-ambition climate agreement in 2015 is key to achieving the SDGs by 2030:

- The decisions that were taken at UNFCCC COP20 in Lima and those that will be taken at COP21 in Paris will have a significant impact on global development by 2030, even before the resulting impacts on the climate are felt.

- A high-ambition agreement that aims to limit global warming to 2°C by 2100 is essential to have the best chance of achieving the SDGs by 2030.

- The climate agreement is unlikely to impact global warming or the frequency and severity of weather-related disasters in the period up to 2030; it will, however, play a significant role thereafter.

- A high-ambition climate agreement can provide a clear policy framework and the legal basis for action on climate change, incentivise international cooperation, and mobilise additional finance and resources for mitigation and adaptation activities that support climate compatible development. Both the policy reforms and the additional finance play complementary roles in supporting such development.

- This can potentially have a significant impact on the state of the economy and social well-being in the poorest and most climate vulnerable countries before 2030, improving the likelihood that they will achieve the SDGs. Likewise a lowambition agreement puts their sustainable development trajectories at risk.

A strong set of SDGs needs to be agreed in 2015 in order to achieve and implement a high-ambition climate agreement that limits global warming to 2°C by 2100.

The decisions taken in finalising the SDG framework of goals, targets and indicators, and FFD commitments to 2030 will have a significant influence on climate change impacts to 2100.

- Strong SDG targets and strong FFD commitments are essential to have the best chance of achieving a high-ambition climate agreement that limits global warming to 2°C by 2100. Ambitious SDGs will promote national policies that will underpin the delivery of decarbonisation pathways to achieve a high-ambition climate agreement.