IPCC analyses the synergies and trade-offs between preventing climate change and SDGs

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  • Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its ‘special report’ on the impact of global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
  • Keeping other global issues in mind, the report analyses the trade-offs and synergies between keeping climate change in control and other sustainable development goals (SDGs).
  • Their study goes while some goals are aligned with reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the trade-offs are higher for other paradigms.
Reducing the impact of climate change isn’t just about reducing average global temperatures, it’s about doing it in a way that doesn’t worsen other global problems. A ‘ special report’ by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) analyses that while it may be synergized with reduction of air pollution and improving health, reducing greenhouse gas emissions drastically will be trickier when it comes to food security and water security.

In order to successfully implement policy changes that control climate change, the report highlights that finance and technology need to be aligned with local requirements and institutions need to be integrated for effective governance.

It also warns against a single-minded approach to reducing climate change. The IPCC recommends that issues of power and inequality shouldn’t be ignored, but integrated into the solutions that are put in place to tackle climate change. Here's how the panel proposes tackling climate change and balancing other sustainable development goals (SDGs):
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Climate resilient development pathways

Climate resilient development pathways

Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions is normally synergised with the reduction of air pollution and improvement of health. The benefit of these synergies is maximised for developing nations, particularly those located in Asia.

Synergies and trade-offs

Synergies and trade-offs

On the other hand, when it comes to food security, a single-minded approach to creating a policy solely to reduce global warming may have a negative impact on global food supply. In contradiction to what the World Trade Organisation propagates, the IPCC sites that putting a ‘support price’ in place as a complementary measure would help reduce the trade-off so that populations aren’t put at risk of hunger.

Limits to adaptation and residual risks

Limits to adaptation and residual risks

The report hypothesizes that greater policy concerns would like in the area of providing affordable energy, especially for countries like India where there is a major reliance on solid fuels for cooking. One solution may be re-distribution measures where subsidies could be provided on clean fuels and stoves. According to the IPCC, re-distribution methods require a much lower investment than mitigation altogether.

More than energy, water security is where things get tricky, especially with some nations looking to hydropower power and nuclear power as energy alternatives that could potentially compound the problem of water scarcity.

India, in particular, has been making developments in the field of bioenergy. But bioenergy, as per the IPCC, can also result in an increase in the demand for water that could add to the problems of a water-stressed region. And if production of crops for bioenergy is prioritised, it’s a trade-off when it comes to food security.

Future worlds

Future worlds

All in the all, the option is either reducing the effects of climate change now keeping trade-offs mind or letting climate change worsen to increase the detrimental effects on the already at-risk segments of the world. Keeping climate change within the limits of 1.5 degrees Celsius, in addition, will make it easier for to achieve the SDGs for poverty eradication, inclusive economics growth and food security in the long-run.

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