Take bold climate action, WMO urges world leaders

Unpacking the interconnections between climate indicators and the SDGs through clear visual maps, a new World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) report aims to inspire leaders to take bolder climate action.

The report ‘Climate Indicators and Sustainable Development: Demonstrating the Interconnections’ coincides with the United Nations General Assembly’s annual session and the opening on Wednesday of the SDG Action Zone, which is dedicated to accelerating action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“If the SDGs are to be achieved by the 2030 target, the risks posed by human-induced climate change must be understood and addressed,” it said.

The aim of the report is to demonstrate the connections between the global climate and the SDGs, which go far beyond SDG 13 for climate action. “It also champions the need for greater international collaboration, which is essential for achieving the SDGs, and for limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius or even 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century,” a WMO release said.

The report is accompanied by a story map, highlighting seven climate indicators whose impacts span the SDGs: Carbon dioxide concentration, temperature, ocean acidification, ocean heat content, sea-ice extent, glacier mass balance, and sea-level rise.

“In the face of ongoing climate change, poverty, inequality and environmental degradation, understanding the connections between climate and international development is a matter of urgency,” WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said.

The report examines the implications of the latest data and scientific research on the state of the global climate for sustainable development, to highlight how our climate is already changing and how the changes will impede the achievement of the SDGs.

Because CO2 concentration drives global climate change, it is indirectly responsible for risks related to the other climate indicators and nearly every single SDG. Therefore, reducing carbon emissions is one of the most effective and necessary climate-related actions for achieving the SDGs, the report stresses.

WMO plans to compile exemplars on the interconnection between climate indicators and SDGs based on real data in 2021. The methodology in this report will be used to closely monitor the risks posed by the worsening of these indicators on achieving the SDGs, the release added.

“It is hoped that this report can serve as a basis for more interdisciplinary research and collaboration, improved policy development and stronger commitment to both the SDGs and climate action. Our future depends on it,” it said.