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WMO report on Rising CO2 concentration and SDGs


Recently, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has published a new report on Climate Indicators and Sustainable Development: Demonstrating the Interconnections.


GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Conservation of Environment and Ecology, Sustainable Development)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Sustainable Development?
  2. The 17 goals under the Sustainable Development Goals
  3. Climate Indicators and Sustainable Development

What is Sustainable Development?

  • Sustainable development has been defined in many ways, but the most frequently quoted definition is from Our Common Future, also known as the Brundtland Report: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
  • Three core elements of sustainable development are: Economic Growth, Social Inclusion and Environmental Protection.
  • Sustainable economic growth, achieving sustainable livelihood, living in harmony with nature and appropriate technology are important for sustainable development.

What are Sustainable Development Goals?

  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is an intergovernmental agreement formulated to act as post-2015 Development agenda to be achieved by 2030.
  • The SDGs are a set of seventeen pointer targets as proposed by the United Nation General Assembly’s Open Working Group, that all the countries which are members of the UN agreed to work upon for the better future of the country.

The 17 goals under the Sustainable Development Goals are:

  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all stages
  4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  9. Built resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation
  10. Reduce inequalities within and among countries
  11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production pattern
  13. Take urgent actions to combat climate change and its impact
  14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources
  15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably managed forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development.

About WMO’s Climate Indicators and Sustainable Development report 

  • WMO studied seven climate indicators — carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration, temperature, ocean acidification and heat, sea ice extent, glacier melt and sea-level rise – for the report on Climate Indicators and Sustainable Development: Demonstrating the Interconnections.
  • The primary aim of the report is to contribute to the sustainable development agenda and to inspire leaders to take bolder climate action.

Highlights of the WMO report

  • Rising CO2 concentration due to human activities is a key driver of global climate change and rising CO2 will impact all of the 17 United Nations-mandated SDGs.
  • Rising CO2 concentration and increasing global temperatures, if left unchecked, would negatively impact efforts to combat climate change under the SDG 13. This, in turn, would pose a significant threat to the achievement of the 16 SDGs other than SDG 13, by 2030.
  • This would happen because uncontrolled rising CO2 emissions would be indirectly responsible for risks related to the remaining six climate indicators, namely temperature, ocean acidification and heat, sea ice extent, glacier melt and sea-level rise.
  • For instance, rising concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere will lead to reductions in nutrient content, affecting food security or the SDG indicator 2.1.2. This would affect the global goal on tackling poverty, SDG 1, as well.
  • Rising CO2 in water would cause ocean acidification, directly affecting SDG indicator 14.3.1 which addresses marine acidity.
  • Both food insecurity and loss of livelihood may drive conflicts related to resource management, thus threatening regional peace and stability (SDG 16.1).
  • Extreme events attributed to rising temperature affect rainfall patterns and groundwater availability, which leads to a higher risk of water scarcity, directly affecting SDG 6 on access to water and specially the targets.

-Source: Down to Earth Magazine

February 2024