Climate change presents the single biggest threat to development, and its widespread, unprecedented effects disproportionately burden the poorest and the most vulnerable. Goal 13 calls for urgent action not only to combat climate change and its impacts, but also to build resilience in responding to climate-related hazards and natural disasters. Globally, 2015 was the hottest year on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Climate change is already affecting every country on every continent through changing seasons and weather patterns, rising sea levels, and more extreme weather events.
Understanding the impacts of climate change
Since 1980 both the occurrence and economic impact of weather-related natural disasters such as floods, droughts, and tropical storms have risen.1 Global climate models indicate that by 2050 low- and middle-income countries are more likely than high-income countries to experience higher temperature increases because of geographic location (figure 13a), possibly leading to more extreme weather-related disasters and associated economic losses
The Paris Agreement sets the stage for ambitious climate action by all for sustainable development
The landmark Paris Agreement, signed in April 2016 by 175 Member States, attempts to mitigate climate change and accelerate and intensify actions and investments needed for a sustainable, low-carbon future. Central to the agreement is the need to strengthen the global response to keep global temperatures from rising no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue further efforts to limit the rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Paris Agreement requires parties to identify their “intended nationally determined contributions” (INDCs). Progress on the Paris Agreement will be tracked every five years through a global stocktaking exercise.