Written by Nereus Fellow Gerald Singh,
Our inability to curb the impacts of climate change are making it harder for us to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – a set of internationally agreed on goals intended to outline what “the future we want” looks like. While we found that climate change will impact the environment – something that is well known and anticipated – we also found that climate change impacts are likely to inhibit our ability to reduce poverty, end hunger, improve health, reduce gender inequality, ensure inclusive and sustainable economic growth, promote peace and establish effective institutions. We reviewed the latest scientific literature as well as asked a wide range of experts to identify consequences from climate change to the various Sustainable Development Goals. We first determined how climate change is affecting oceans, then we linked ocean change to human well-being and the Sustainable Development Goals. We found that there is a variety of ways that climate change is affecting oceans, directly and indirectly such as through increasing runoff rates and land-based pollution. Though our results found overwhelmingly negative consequences from climate change on society’s ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we found that the least affected goals were changing global consumption and production patterns and developing affordable clean energy systems. These two goals are also important as ways to mitigate climate change and help achieve the other Sustainable Development Goals. We suggest that these two goals can be prioritized by governments as ways to act against climate change and towards sustainable development in the face of climate change.
Singh, G. G., N. Hilmi, et al. (in press). “Climate impacts on the ocean are making the Sustainable Development Goals a moving target traveling away from us.” People and Nature