A new decade brings new challenges. 2020 started with news from Australia about the devastating bush wildfires. The link with the climate emergency is clear – Australia has experienced one of its hottest and driest summers on record. The call for the 2020s to be a decade of action and delivery for sustainable development feels more timely than ever.
World leaders met at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Summit in September 2019 to assess progress to date and pledge to mobilise financing, enhance national implementation and strengthen institutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by their target date of 2030.
We’ve undoubtedly made progress over the last decade but we need to scale up our activity if we’re to meet the target date of 2030, plus get on track for Net zero in 2050 as currently embraced by our UK government.
There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted by all UN member states in 2015, along with a 15 year plan to achieve all the goals by 2030.
The goals are ‘a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.’ There’s more information on each goal and what drives it on the UN Sustainable Development Goals website.
All the goals are interrelated but at Energy Saving Trust our work relates most strongly to the goals around affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and climate action. Since Energy Saving Trust’s foundation in 1992, our primary focus has been on saving people money by reducing the demand for energy via home energy efficiency, insulation and installing domestic renewable energy generation systems We deliver programmes for national UK governments that promote renewable energy generation, active travel and the switch to low carbon transport.
It’s clear that action towards the sustainable development goals goes hand in hand with action to mitigate the climate emergency. The two are intrinsically connected. Sustainable development cannot be achieved without climate action and many of the goals address the core drivers of the climate emergency.
The start of 2020 marks ten years to the target of 2030 for the UN sustainable goals and there’s clearly a long way to go. The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, called on everyone to mobilise for a decade of action on three levels:
You can get involved in climate campaigns, movements or organisations – supporting change can start with writing to your MP or local authority about what action they are taking or supporting. If this feels too daunting, remember you can start small. Simple everyday energy-saving actions, such as turning off appliances at the wall socket and turning out lights when a room is empty can save energy, which reduces demand and the use of fossil fuel. We’ve got plenty of advice on our home energy efficiency pages on things you can do at home to reduce energy use and the Sustainable Development goals site has a lot more suggestions about what you can do outside the home and at work too. We can all join in with the decade of action and make each step a positive one.