They were decided to ensure sustainable development goals on an economic, social and ecological level worldwide: The SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals.
Unlike the Millennium Sustainable Development Goals from the year 2000, they apply not only to developing and emerging countries, but also to the rich industrialized countries. What is also new is that, in addition to topics such as poverty reduction, the fight against corruption and for peace and the rule of law, the focus has shifted to the climate crisis and measures to prevent it from getting worse.
Sustainability and recognize the importance of fighting the climate crisis. For example, they should ensure sufficient water of the best quality, affordable and clean energy, sustainable production and consumption and the implementation of global climate protection. By 2030, states are called upon to align their actions and actions accordingly.
The UN describes Sustainable Development Goals as a “blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all.” Of the 17 goals, seven expressly refer to the fight against climate change and the preservation of the environment. But others, such as education for all, also contribute to a better awareness of the challenges of the climate crisis.
Goal 6, for example, aims to “ensure the availability and Sustainable Development Goals management of water and sanitation for all.” By 2050, one in four people could be living in a country that is suffering from chronic water shortages. Droughts in particular will be intensified as a result of the climate crisis.
Fossil energy sources account for the largest proportion of greenhouse emissions affecting sustainable future.
That is why Goal 7 calls for ensuring “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. In order to keep the demand for energy from increasing too much overall, goal number 11 aims to make cities and communities more sustainable.
Cities can become more environmentally friendly through functioning waste disposal, sewage systems or better insulation of new houses.
Goal 13 is specifically about the climate crisis: “Immediate action in the fight against climate change and its effects” are intended to prevent the impending catastrophe. Among other things, the UN calls for improved preparation for natural disasters, better education and the integration of the fight against climate change into the political planning of states.
Goals 15 and 16 deal with protecting the oceans and forests. Both are enormously important as greenhouse gas-binding carbon sinks in order to mitigate the greenhouse effect.,Angela Merkel sees the G20 states as playing a pioneering role in achieving the goals. In order for Germany to be able to meet this responsibility, a total of 63 concrete goals were formulated in the “German Sustainable Development Goals Strategy”.
The last ice age left its mark on many regions of the planet. A good 20,000 years ago, large parts of the northern hemisphere were covered by ice. The ice cover acted like a thermal blanket for the underlying soil, which could not freeze.
Wherever the protective ice cover was missing as in northern Siberia or parts of Alaska, the freezing cold could penetrate deep into the ground. To this day, many of these soils, which are called permafrost or permanently frozen soils, have not thawed. Permafrost occurs mainly in the northern hemisphere in the polar regions or in high mountainous areas.
Germany there’s permafrost soils, more precisely on the Zugspitze.
Due to global warming, however, permafrost soils are thawing faster worldwide. This is an incalculable risk for the regions affected and for the global climate. In the polar regions, for example, buildings or infrastructure such as roads or pipelines are anchored in permafrost soil.
Defrosting makes the ground softer and entire towns can literally sink into mud. ,In the permafrost, dead plant remains are stored like in a gigantic freezer. Defrosting causes the plants to decompose, releasing methane and carbon.
This increases the greenhouse effect and increases global warming. Experts estimate that today almost 1.7 trillion tons of the extremely strong greenhouse gas methane are stored in the permafrost that is about twice the amount that is bound in the atmosphere.
If large amounts of the greenhouse gas are released, it will become more difficult to achieve the goal of keeping global warming low, predict researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Potsdam, for example
It would help if man-made emissions from traffic and industry were reduced. According to the scientists, this could slow down the thawing of the permafrost soils.
The effect of high temperatures on the permafrost soils was shown by a study published in August 2021: Scientists led by the Bonn geology professor Nikolaus Froitzheim found out that the extreme heat in Russia in 2020, large amounts of methane were released in some permafrost areas of the country.
The researchers examined the concentration of methane in the air and looked at the local soil conditions. They found that a particularly large amount of gas was released in two areas with limestone.
The study was published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS). “The amounts of natural gas that are suspected to be underground in northern Siberia are enormous,” explained Froitzheim. “If parts of it got into the atmosphere through the thawing permafrost, it could have dramatic effects on the already overheated climate on earth.”
In addition to the negative effects on the global climate, the thawing also has completely different consequences: the thawing soils give again and again Traces of primeval life free. For example, remains of mammoths, horse fossils or prehistoric puppies have been found in recent years. In 2013, the thawing ground in Siberia even released a mammoth, complete with hair, muscle tissue and liquid blood. Such finds are of immense importance for paleontological science.