SDG 13 - Climate action

Affordable, scalable solutions are now available to enable countries to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies. The pace of change is quickening as more people are turning to renewable energy and a range of other measures that will reduce emissions and increase adaptation efforts. Climate change, however, is a global challenge that does not respect national borders. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities and countries dearly today and even more tomorrow. It is an issue that requires solutions that need to be coordinated at the international level to help developing countries move toward a low-carbon economy.

The facts

Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, weather events are becoming more extreme and greenhouse gas emissions are now at their highest levels in history. Without action, the world’s average surface temperature is likely to surpass 3 degrees centigrade this century, affecting the poorest and most vulnerable people the most. Some more facts regarding sustainable development goal thirteen (SDG 13):

  • Sea levels have risen by about 20 cm (8 inches) since 1880 and are projected to rise another 30–122 cm (1 to 4 feet) by 2100.
  • Climate pledges under The Paris Agreement cover only one third of the emissions reductions needed to keep the world below 2°C.
  • To limit warming to 1.5°C, global net CO2 emissions must drop by 45% between 2010 and 2030, and reach net zero around 2050.
  • Bold climate action could trigger at least US$26 trillion in economic benefits by 2030.
  • The energy sector alone will create around 18 million more jobs by 2030, focused specifically on sustainable energy (UNDP, 2019).

The focus of SDG 13

The aim of SDG 13 to mobilize US$100 billion annually by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries to both adapt to climate change and invest in low-carbon development. Supporting vulnerable regions will directly contribute not only to SDG 13 but also to the other SDGs (UNDP, 2019). Of the five SDG 13 targets, the first three cover strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity, integrating climate change actions into policies and strategies and raising awareness. The final two are development targets used to support developing countries in line with the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Australia’s performance on SDG 13

A 2018 article by The Conversation highlights that Australia is performing relatively well in areas such as health and wellbeing, and providing good-quality education. But its results for the environmental goals and climate change are among the worst in the OECD group of advanced nations. Read the article here.

What is La Trobe University doing?

It was recently announced that La Trobe University will be Victoria’s first major university to become carbon neutral by 2029 and our regional campuses are set to become carbon neutral by 2022. Find more information about this ambitious project here. Furthermore, in 2016, the University Council endorsed a plan to fully divest from fossil-fuel related company investments over five years and commit to greater transparency on the carbon footprint of companies held in its investment portfolio.

Across our teaching efforts, there are a range of subjects focused on climate change at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. From 2015 all students undertaking undergraduate programs at La Trobe University will complete at least one subject that has the ‘Sustainability Thinking’ Learning Essential embedded in it. Sustainability Thinking is the capacity to engage effectively with social, environmental and economic change and challenges in the contemporary world. These include, for example, climate change, food and water security and human and labour rights.

Upcoming LTU event

The Ideas and Society Program at La Trobe University, convened by Professor Robert Manne, is a forum for discussion about the future of Australia and beyond. In September the program is hosting a debate on: Climate Change and Australia: Where to Now? Please follow the link to find out more and to register: https://www.latrobe.edu.au/events/all/climate-change-and-australia-where-to-now.

SDG Video

The video on SDG 13 is produced by our CR3+ Partner Audencia Business School from Nantes, France.  In the video, Dr Céline Louche discusses the sustainable development goal in depth, including some more facts and figures on climatic events and global warming. She also discusses the role businesses play when it comes to climate action and provides examples. Actions companies can take are attempting to decarbonise their operations and supply chain by improving energy efficiency; reducing the carbon footprint of their products and services; setting ambitious emissions reduction targets; and investing in innovative low carbon products and services. The second part of the video shows Dr Jennifer Goodman, also from Audencia Business School, and Hugues Chenet, research associate at the University College of London and Chair on Energy and Prosperity in Paris. Hugues is also co-founder of the 2 Degrees Investing Initiative. Jennifer interviews Hugues about his co-founded initiative and about what finance can do for SDG 13.

Please enjoy the presentation.

If you would like access to the full video to use in your teaching, please contact Dr Swati Nagpal.

This blog is part of the SDG Series, a series that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, in the lead up to the CR3+ Conference in October 2019.


More blogs in the SDG Series:
- An introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 1
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 2
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 3
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 4
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 5
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 6
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 7
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 8
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 9
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 10
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 11
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 12