In a recent study, researchers discovered that fighting climate change while making progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is feasible. Scientists and researchers from the German Development Institute (GIZ) have developed a novel integrated strategy that balances strong climate action with targeted development plans, food and energy access, global equality, as well as national equity and environmental sustainability. The method was influenced by research from the Potsdam Climate Impact Research Institute and the German Development Institute. When obstacles are revealed, synergies become apparent that may be used to accelerate progress toward climate change mitigation and sustainable development objectives.
When the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in 2015, policymakers pledged to create a more sustainable and prosperous future for everyone. Climate actions are critical, but they will not suffice on their own. If the world continues on its present path, none of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals will be achieved by 2030. This was true even before to the COVID-19 epidemic, according to Björn Soergel, PhD, whose work was published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Fortunately, humanity also possess the resources necessary to effect change.
To protect people from climate change while still progressing toward the SDGs, researchers propose a Sustainable Development Pathway in a new study. To do this, many areas of action were studied, including food, energy, and global and national equality, as well as their impact on the likelihood of the SDGs being realised. A holistic approach is used to address all of the Sustainable Development Goals, from poverty and hunger eradication to climate action and all in between. This is because a large number of the SDGs are interconnected and therefore cannot be regarded as distinct objectives.
Additionally to climate policies compatible with the Paris Agreement, there are other measures such as sufficient nutrition, international climate financing, and a transfer of carbon price income that benefits the poor. Several of these levers may be used to accelerate progress toward the SDGs by 2030 and to continue doing so until 2050 and beyond. They enable us to strike a balance between providing a good quality of life for everyone and respecting our planet’s natural limits, Dr. Soergel explains.
When coupled with other targeted policies and a change in lifestyle, climate change measures are not anticipated to raise food costs. This is due to a number of reasons, one of which being a rise in worldwide demand for bioenergy. According to Dr. Isabelle Weindl of the Planetary Health Diet, a shift in our dietary patterns toward less animal protein, as recommended by an expert committee in the Planetary Health Diet, has substantial advantages. She is referring to the 2019 EAT-Lancet Commission report ‘Food in the Anthropocene’ which proposes a new eating pattern. Not only is the Planetary Health diet nutritionally balanced, but it is also much healthier than the typical diet in industrialised nations, which contains a high proportion of animal-derived foods. To compensate, food production would need much less land, water, fertiliser, and greenhouse emissions if it did not include as much meat and dairy as present diets do. By altering our eating choices, we may contribute to the health of our climate and ecosystems.
Similarly, a shift away from energy-intensive lifestyles in high-income nations would compensate for the increase in energy consumption needed in low-income countries to maintain acceptable living standards and build new infrastructure. Additional intervention possibilities include international climate funding and a pro-poor transfer of carbon pricing revenue. Climate measures can contribute to poverty reduction in the Global South. As a consequence, charging for greenhouse gas emissions and allocating a portion of revenues to sustainable development efforts in low-income nations helps both the earth and people.
We will be unhappy in the long term if we continue to approach climate change as a standalone problem. Climate protection must be incorporated into a long-term sustainability plan if it is to be effective. Carbon pricing is a critical component in implementing the plethora of policy measures required to achieve this objective. Other options, according to co-author Elmar Kriegler, PhD, include redistributive laws, attempts to promote healthy food and sustainable lifestyles, as well as measures to reduce our energy use. “Human well-being and planetary integrity may coexist in a more sustainable future,” the study states. Political leaders and the general public are accountable for making this vision a reality.
Note: This article appeared in Eurasia Review, dated 18 October 2021.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are of the author and do not necessarily represent Institute’s policy.