“Climate change is a multiplying threat . It amplifies existing threats , exacerbates economic, environmental and social problems , ” said the president of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), during the inauguration of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

Hoesung Lee said that climate change and sustainable development are inseparable and focused his speech on three points of convergence of both processes.

The first refers to the negative impact that global warming has on nature and humanity and that hinders the progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals .

The second, he said, is the ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement to limit the temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius, ideally to 1.5, as this will help achieve most of those Objectives.

The third point is about the new economic, environmental and social opportunities that result from bold measures against climate change and that depend on international cooperation, social justice and equity to develop resilience strategies.

Climate change and migration

Lee said the global temperature is currently one degree Celsius above the pre-industrial level, although warming is not uniform and most of the land regions are above that degree. Such is the case of the Arctic, where temperatures register two to three degrees higher.

He explained that almost 40% of the world's population lives in areas where warming exceeds 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels for at least one season of the year and noted that this causes major disruptions in people's livelihoods, especially in countries dependent on agriculture, where emigration has increased .

According to the IPCC data, for each degree of increase in temperature, migration increases 1.9%, while for each additional millimeter of precipitation, population displacements rise 0.5%.

Current warming puts coral reefs and biodiversity in general at high risk, as well as disproportionately affecting the Arctic, small islands, dry areas and less developed countries.

The increase in temperatures has a serious effect on ecosystems, human health and agriculture , which greatly hinders the eradication of hunger and poverty posed in the Sustainable Development Goals.

The expert warned that if the warming reached or exceeded 2 ° C not only would poverty and hunger not be eliminated, but inequality would not be reduced, not everyone would have access to drinking water and ecosystems would not be protected.

What would be achieved

On the other hand, limiting the rise in temperature to 1.5 ° C would be 50% less people without water and 10 million fewer people would be exposed to sea level rise.

In addition, the negative impact on various forms of animal and plant life would be halved and the risk of low crop yields reduced by one third.

In general, limiting warming to the 1.5 ° C target would reduce the risks to biodiversity, health, livelihoods, food security, human security and economic growth.

But for this the world needs to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 , Lee said and added that this is possible thanks to the advancement of technology and finance.

"What is needed is to establish market conditions where prices include the social costs of pollutant emissions so that investments in energy efficient and clean and in options that do not leave a carbon footprint are profitable," he said.

“The alternative is obvious. We must focus on achieving a world that uses energy and efficient consumer products and produces low-emission food. This will make it easier to limit heating to 1.5 ° C, achieve favorable synergies and reduce what needs to be given in return to achieve sustainable development .

International cooperation

Lee said the latest IPCC assessment confirms the urgency of international cooperation to improve national capabilities and access to financing and technology by developing countries and vulnerable regions.

“We need collective efforts at all levels to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C, taking into account equality and efficiency to strengthen the global response to climate change and achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication. The result will be a cleaner, sustainable, productive and stronger global economy, ” concluded the president of the IPCC.

The High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is part of the program of the High Level Segment of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The imperative of inclusion

The UN Secretary General also participated in the inauguration of this Forum, in which he spoke of the “imperative of Inclusion” to achieve the 2030 Agenda.

According to António Guterres, the evidence is clear: development is not sustainable if it is not fair and includes everyone. The increase in inequality in the world is hampering long-term growth.

"Together with the impacts of globalization and rapid technological change, we see how inequality increases economic anxiety , erodes public trust and undermines social cohesion, human rights, peace and prosperity," said Guterres. The head of the UN declared that, four years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the world panorama is disturbing .

The political will is crucial

In another intervention, the president of the General Assembly said that the hope of 7.7 billion people in the world lies in the 2030 Agenda. María Fernanda Espinosa believes that achieving sustainable development for all is the best way to demonstrate that the Collective action is capable of transforming the lives of people around the world.

Espinosa identified three crucial steps to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals: political will, collaboration and ambition.


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