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SDG 13 - Climate action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

SDG13 is both about mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Most importantly, and in line with IPCC and common approaches to mitigation, the global temperature increase must be limited to less than 2 °C above pre-industrial temperatures. In order to conclude on whether we succeed with this, a time horizon longer than 2030 is needed. Our forecast looks at 2050 and the indicator we chose is accumulated CO2 emissions from pre-industrial times. We hold the view that the main measure of success or failure of this goal should be whether we succeed with limiting global warming.


On the mitigation part of this target, the planet succeeds or fails together. Furthermore, our model reflects our current limited understanding and does not allow for differential regional adaptation efforts. Therefore all regions are said to suffer similarly.

Our most likely forecast is that carbon emissions will remain at a level that empties the remaining carbon budget in 2037, and continues thereafter. We are therefore unlikely to meet the goal, and give a red rating. There is little uncertainty in this assessment. Adaptation efforts are not counted as part of the overall ranking here, but it is clear that the adaptation capacity is highest in USA and OECD.

Understanding the score

Five regions: USA, OECD (excl. USA), China, BRISE (Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and 10 other emerging economies), ROW (rest of the world).
Green light: Goal likely to be reached.
Orange light: Goal not likely to be reached, but more than 50% of the gap between today's status and the goal is likely to be closed.
Red light: Goal not likely to be reached, and less than 50% of the gap between today's status and the goal is likely to be closed.

13. Climate action
SDG 13: Climate action score

Iberdrola: Deepening decarbonization

Climate change affects all of us, but has a particular impact on marginalized groups who may already have difficulty accessing basic resources or live in vulnerable regions. Universal access to energy, especially in developing countries, is vital for achieving the SDGs, but there is an urgent need to decouple CO2 emissions from economic development.

Electricity is the only energy form that can be efficiently decarbonized on a grand scale. Electrification can also decarbonize sectors, such as agriculture, transport, and buildings. As a world-leading multinational group in the sustainable energy sector, and the world's leading provider of wind energy, Iberdrola is fast-tracking this process through innovation, new technologies, and new business models. But as Iberdrola Director of Energy Policies and Climate Change, Carlos Sallé says, “it will take collective willingness and fundamental changes at policy level to make the changes happen on the necessary scale before it’s too late.” For Iberdrola, mitigating climate change is smarter than adapting to the severe impacts of it.

The task is urgent. “We cannot wait 10 years. If we lose the next 10 years it will be difficult to meet the targets by 2030.” 

“The recipe is simple” according to Sallé: “more clean energy, more storage capacity, sufficient backup power, more and smarter grids, and more digitisation”. 

“Start now, combine these factors and, through a greater electrification of the global economy, we will meet climate change targets in due time.”

For the complete forecast on SDG 13: Climate action and the full Iberdrola story, download the report.

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