Jennifer Ulloa

Climate change chronicles: progress on UN SDG 13

Learn about SDG 13 and how you can help speed up progress on Climate Action.
6 min Read

Introduction to SDG 13  

Welcome! You’re here probably because you want to learn more about the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and probably in particular, SDG 13 (Climate Action), and, as always, kudos to you for making it here. 

We have loads of SDG related facts and figures, mainly touching on what the SDGs are and why they are important for all of us to work towards. 

Our goal by the time you finish this article is that you’ll have a more holistic understanding of the SDGs and the role you play (yes, you!) in making sure the #globalgoals come to fruition by 2030.

Don’t worry if that sounds like a lot, we are all in this together! Now let’s get to it… 

What are the Global Goals?

The Global Goals, officially known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), are a set of 17 interconnected and ambitious objectives established by the United Nations in 2015. 

Think of them as an interconnected guide, or blueprint, to solving some of the world’s most pressing issues: poverty, hunger, climate change, and more. 

Why are the Global Goals important? 

In essence, the SDGs are a universal call to action, emphasising the need for countries, communities, and individuals to collaborate in shaping a more sustainable and equitable future. 

Everyone and anyone can take part and make a contribution—however big or small—towards ensuring we strive for a more sustainable, just, and equitable world. 

Did you know? The Paris Agreement alone has paved the way for $23 trillion in business opportunities in emerging-markets to put towards climate investment solutions. 

In this article, we delve into the intricacies of SDG 13, exploring what it means and the big and  small ways you can make a difference and do your part. 

What is SDG 13? 

Goal number 13 of the UN SDGs is: Climate Action. 

This goal is dedicated towards addressing and combating climate change to reduce its impact on the world.

At present, every person on the planet is affected by climate change.  

Climate change is undeniably caused by human activities, and if not taken seriously, will threaten life as we know it on the planet. 

SDG 13 promotes a holistic approach to sustainability, encouraging us to live and produce more responsibly. And you can learn more about SDG 13 here. 

Are we doing enough to combat climate change?

The short answer is.. well no. 

According to NASA, without any major changes to how we are all going about doing things today, the global temperature is on track to rise by 2.5 degrees Celsius to 4.5 degrees Celsius by 2100 according to the latest reports.

The New York Times states that a lot of countries have vowed to cut their emissions now faster than ever, but the crux is that these commitments mostly last on paper. 

If states do follow through with their plans, the world could potentially limit global warming to anywhere from 2 to 2.4 degrees Celsius by 2100.

Progress has been made and there’s definitely more benefit in seeing the glass half full rather than half empty! 

But in reality, there is little wiggle room when it comes to SDG 13 and to reach our goals we must take part in collective and consistent action. 

Where do we stand with SDG 13? 

As it stands, we are all very far behind with fulfilling any of the UN SDGs by 2030. We love sharing this video with you so here we are popping it in below again simply because it’s awesome.

Just hear it from coach Al Pacino himself. 

To put it in perspective: 

It is tough to say it isn’t all doom and gloom when we are so far behind, but remaining optimistic is crucial in addressing such a challenge… and since there is no time like the present, let’s continue with what you can do NOW.

How do we begin to combat climate change?

Addressing climate change consists of a two-tier approach:

1. Migration 

2. Adaptation 

1 - Mitigation looks at reducing or stabilising the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and looks at preventing further warming of the planet. Mitigation also  looks at increasing the number of carbon sequester eco-systems and encourages burning less fossil fuels, enhancing clean transportation systems, and increasing the size of forests. 

2 - Adaptation looks at the strategies and measures put in place to minimise the impact of climate change. The key goal of adaptation is to look at how we can collectively minimise the effects of sea level rise, extreme weather events and food insecurity. 

Essentially, we all need to band together and raise our ambition to this issue by tenfold. 

Beginning with education (such as reading this article) leads to awareness which leads to action. And we all know that doing small actions each day is the key to making a large difference over a longer term. 

Let’s have a look at them below: 

  • Reduce your carbon footprint: This one seems obvious, but if everyone on the planet reduced their carbon footprint (who can), or at least become more aware of understanding how what we do on a day-to-day basis can affect generations to come, then that can make a big difference.

  • Change to renewable energy: Transitioning to renewable energy can make a difference. We totally understand that completely changing your home energy to renewable is a huge undertaking! Maybe starting with your office space (or if you are a remote worker, where you go to complete your 9-5) is a sustainable choice. 

Here is a list from Hubble HQ of the most sustainable offices in the UK if you are unsure of where to start.

  • (Re)consider carbon offsetting: Once having a reputation of greenwashing, the World Economic Forum actually asks us to reconsider that notion, and states that carbon offsetting can in fact have a positive impact on local and underserved communities where projects take place.

Actions you can take today

A great way you can get involved to reduce carbon impact and work towards SDG 13  is by signing up to Pawprint and having a browse through our eco-library of over 600 carbon-busting actions. 

Lucky for you, all actions on the app are tagged with the relevant SDG; most of our actions are aligned with SDG 12 and SDG 13. Here are some you can get started with:


  1. Run appliances on eco mode
  2. Choose non-dairy milk in your tea or coffee
  3. Attend an academic conference from anywhere in the world!
  4. Swap your morning newspaper for a digital version (like a newsletter!)
  5. Take a shorter shower
  6. Cycle instead of drive
  7. Reuse pasta water on plants
  8. Opt out of junk mail
  9. Start an e-waste box
  10. Share unwanted food
  11. Learn how to mend clothing!
  12. Upcycle old sheets into cloths

Track all these actions, and so much more on Pawprint. 

Key indicators for long-term involvement

So, how are we measuring success towards SDG 13 and progress towards it? The UN have cleverly come up with indicators (sort of like KPIs) to work towards. 

We’ve listed below the two targets most relevant to Pawprint and how you use our platform. 

Target 13.2 - Integrate climate change measures into policy and process. 

Target 13.3 - Improve education, awareness-raising and human institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.

Final Remarks

SDG 13, Climate Action, is a critical component of the broader Sustainable Development Goals. 

Our current consumption patterns are straining the Earth's resources and contributing to environmental degradation. 

Achieving this goal is not just the responsibility of governments and corporations but also individuals like you and me.

By adopting sustainable practices, advocating for change, and making conscientious choices, we can work towards a future where responsible consumption and production are the norm, ensuring a healthier planet for future generations. 

Remember, small actions can have a significant impact, and collectively, we can make a difference in achieving SDG 13 and a more sustainable world.

Interested in learning more about SDG 13 and SDGs more widely? You’ll want to listen to this podcast.

Find out more

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