Climate Change FAQs

After reading these, we believe you will have a certain understanding of climate change!

Climate Change and Global Warming

Climate change refers to fluctuations in climate within a period of time. A period of time can also refer to decades or millions of years. The range of fluctuation can be regional or global with changes in average weather indexes. Currently most of the discussions on climate change are about the impact of environmental policies on contemporary climate, i.e., impact of human factors on the climate, specifically on the global warming issue. As to the global warming happening right now, most climate scientists think that “it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-twentieth century.”

Influencing factors of climate change come from many sides that include solar radiation, changes in the earth’s orbit, orogenesis, greenhouse gas emissions and so on. As many of the climate-affecting factors on the earth’s surface react slower, for example, changes in ocean temperatures, melting of glaciers. Therefore climate change compared to variations of factors that directly impact the climate might wait up to centuries, or even longer for the impact to be felt evidently.

Human activities will impact the environment. Sometimes human activities have direct and unquestionable impact. For example, irrigation will change humidity in the local area. Sometimes the impact is not so significant. Modern scientific research thinks that in recent decades human activities lead to rapid global temperature rises. Therefore human beings should try to reduce climate-affecting activities as much as possible and try to eliminate the bad effects caused. As to this point, there’s no argument in the academia as they have reached a consensus with more than 97% of climate scientists think that “global warming exists, and human activities very probably are the major cause leading to global warning.”

Among them, the biggest factors impacting the climate by humans are from burning fossil fuels. Manufacturing of cement releases a huge amount of CO2 and suspended dust. Furthermore there are also land use, ozone layer depletion, animal husbandry and agricultural activities, deforestation and so on that all have different degrees of impact on the climate and become factors of climate change.

Evidence of climate change can be seen from many aspects. From the mid-19th century, there were records of variations in the global atmospheric temperatures. Even we do not have direct records of earlier situations, we can still make certain of it from proxy measurements such as distributions of vegetation, study of ice cores, tree rings of ancient trees, changes in sea level, glacier geology and so on.

The greenhouse effect is the process by which radiation from a planet’s atmosphere warms the planet’s surface to a temperature above what it would be without this atmosphere. In the past it was considered similar to the mechanism of a greenhouse that makes the air temperature rise and thus name “greenhouse effect.” Quite a few researches indicate that human factors make the greenhouse effect on the Earth abnormally drastic and then lead to the effect of global warming.

By their percentage contribution to the greenhouse effect on Earth the four major gases are:

  1. Water vapor, 36–70% (but won’t be listed as a greenhouse gas)
  2. Carbon dioxide, 9–26%
  3. Methane, 4–9%
  4. Ozone, 3–7%

It is not possible to assign a specific percentage to each gas because the absorption and emission bands of the gases overlap (hence the ranges given above). Clouds also absorb and emit infrared radiation and thus affect the radiative properties of the atmosphere.

Strengthening of the greenhouse effect through human activities is known as the enhanced (or anthropogenic) greenhouse effect. This increase in radiative forcing from human activity is attributable mainly to increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. According to a recent assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. Their effects, together with those of other anthropogenic drivers, have been detected throughout the climate system and are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

CO2 is produced by fossil fuel burning and other activities such as cement production and tropical deforestation. Measurements of CO2 from the Mauna Loa observatory show that concentrations have increased from about 313 parts per million (ppm) in 1960, passing the 400 ppm milestone on May 9, 2013.[30] The current observed amount of CO2 exceeds the geological record maxima (~300 ppm) from ice core data. The effect of combustion-produced carbon dioxide on the global climate is a special case of the greenhouse effect first described in 1896 by Svante Arrhenius.

Impact of climate change on the globe

Greenhouse gases absorb heat energy from the atmosphere, making global air temperature rise gradually. From 1880 to 2012 the world’s mean air temperature rose by 0.85℃. In Taiwan the rise is about 1.3℃ and the temperature rise shows a tendency to increase, specifically significant is the increase is in daily low temperatures.
According to the Scientific Report of Taiwan Climate Change 2017’s estimate, Taiwan in the worst scenario would have mean air temperature increased by more than 3℃ by the end of the century, days of extreme high temperature in the future could be more than 100, strength of incidents of drought might be at least 12% more severe than now, future rainy seasons would have more rain, and incidents of extreme rainfalls would increase by 20%, the strength of rainfall would increase by more than 20% too.
The World Health Organization (W.H.O) thinks high temperatures mean heatwaves will happen more frequently and their duration will be longer and longer. Severe heatwaves will also lead to emergence of diseases like heat cramps, heat stokes, or even deaths.

Taiwan is situated in a geographical position conducive to development of the fishing industry. Coupled with the excellent conditions of climate and hydrology that make the surrounding waters the path many of the migratory fish must pass. In addition to being an important industry in Taiwan, fishing is moreover an important source providing the animal protein and Omg3 that Taiwan’s people need and has played a decisive role in the country’s supply of food and food safety.
The environmental variations brought by climate change will directly or indirectly affect the quality and quantity of fishery production and make the uncertainty and risks of supply of aquatic products increase that in turn would impact the country’s food supply chain. According to descriptions from the IPCC and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), gradual changes of climate (seawater warming, ocean acidification) and drastic changes (abnormal water temperature, change in rainfall patterns and frequencies, hurricanes and so on) will change the oceanic mixed layer, nutrient cycle and basic productivity, and then in a step further affect the growth, death, resource amount and ecological structure of aquatic resources.
Specifically to the impact on fishing along the coast of Taiwan, disappearances of some resident and migratory species and changes in seasonal migration or phenomenon of getting far away. They lead to reduction in catch, change in the species of fish catch, imbalance of ecological system, change in distribution of fishing grounds, increase in difficulty of fishing operations. Extreme rainfall causes mudslides and destroys water quality of aquaculture, reduction in amount of rainfall leads to reduction in water for aquaculture use, rising sea levels lead to decrease in culture areas as they all cause difficulties in the aquaculture industry.

According to the definition in the IPCC AR5, an extreme weather events describes an extremely rare weather phenomenon in history, specifically to types of severe or abnormal weathers. For example, tropical cyclones like typhoons can get more energy from warm seawater. Therefore when the warmer the temperature of seawater is, the more powerful the typhoon or tropical cyclone is as it will bring along more abundant rainfall.
In recent years there are often phenomena of extremely low or extremely high temperatures, and a heatwave is an even more extreme phenomenon with a higher temperature. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) defines the standard of a heatwave is that the daily maximum temperature is 5 degrees Celsius above the average temperature over a 30-year period and has lasted over 5 days.

Climate change in affecting the usage situation of water resources and will cause the situation of water shortage in certain areas to get even worse. On the other hand, temperature rise, change in mode of precipitation and increase in droughts will affect the amount of water in lakes, rivers and underground water.
The Scientific Report of Taiwan Climate Change 2017 points out that climate change leads to the phenomenon of water temperature rise and also affects the water environment, increases the potential for worsening of water quality, and then affects obtaining of water resources, safety and quality, causing regional lack of water resources, lack of drinking water or poor quality. On the other hand, due to reduction in underground water that leads to acidification of farmlands, indirectly affecting crop yields, supply of fish harvests and public health.
The occurrence of floods and droughts not only affects the water supply system, the flushing of torrential rainstorms will also affect the water environmental system downstream. Rise in water temperature and increase in retention time in water will cause massive reproduction of algae and affect the water body and also increase the amount of microbes in the water as well as concentration of organic materials, ensuing the problem of great increase in the concentration of the by-products of disinfection that directly affects safety of water supply.

When seawater temperature rises, the volume of seawater will increase. If every drop of water can increase some amount of volume, then they can expand the depth of the whole ocean, making the sea level rise. Furthermore glaciers and amount of icecaps in the polar mountainous areas are decreasing, and melting glaciers flowing into the sea speeds up rising of the sea level and expands the area covered by warmer oceans.
According to the 2019 Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, the global mean sea level rose 0.16 meters from 1902 to 2015 (around the range of 0.12-0.21m), and the decade of 2006-2015, the annual rise is about 3.6mm (around 3.1-4.1 per year). This rate of rise is unprecedented, about 2.5 times the average rate of rise of 1901-1990. The report also indicates that the sea level will continue to rise for centuries. Even if there’s an abrupt drop of greenhouse gas emissions and the global rise in temperature is limited to far below 2°C, it will still rise about 30-60 cm by 2100. But if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase strongly, it could then reach 60-110cm.
At the same time the Special Report also points out that sea level rises will increase frequencies of extreme sea level rise events happened during periods like rising tides and storms. There are signs showing that no matter how many degrees of additionally rising temperature, by the mid-century many of the 100-year events happening in the past will happen once a year in many areas. Many low-lying coastal cities and small islands will face risks and will threaten coastlines as well as surrounding cities and constructions. Sea level rises will affect thousands of people living around coastal low-lying areas and will also weaken beaches and destroy coastal wetlands.
According to the Scientific Report of Taiwan Climate Change 2017, the world’s and Taiwan’s average sea levels all see a trend of rising in past decades. The global mean sea level rose by 0.19m in the past 100 years and the sea level of the surrounding waters of Taiwan rose by a rate of 3.4 mm annually in the recent 20 years.

According to the 2019 Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate, human activities will emit carbon dioxide to the atmosphere with around 15% to 40% of carbon dioxide emissions remaining in the atmosphere for longer than 1000 years. Additionally about 25% is absorbed by oceans. NASA data shows that every year the surface seawater absorbs about 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide and absorbs 90% of heat in the atmosphere at the same time. With accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it causes more and more carbon dioxide to dissolve in seawater and form carbonic acid, leading to pH value of seawater to drop (i.e. acidification). Since the industrial revolution, the pH value of the global surface seawater has dropped by about 0.1 (the lower the value the higher the acidity). It is estimated that by the end of the 21st century, the pH value of the surface seawater will reach the lowest in 20 million years.
Acceleration of ocean acidification threatens the entire marine ecosystem, specifically it will lower the ability of marine life to form calcium carbonate shells or bony structures. Factors that cause acidification of seawater also include eutrophication of seawater near the coast, or chemical substances that are naturally released or released to oceans from human activities. For example, increase in submarine volcanic activities, increase in deposition flux of acidic materials in the atmosphere and so on. Even though emulation results from researches show warming affects the pH value of seawater very slightly, yet it is estimated that the average pH value of seawater will drop from that of 8.2 prior to the industrial revolution to 7.8 by 2100.

According to the Scientific Report of Taiwan Climate Change 2017, it points out that many animals and plants will only grow under specific weather conditions. For example, temperature and mode of rainfall. Even slight weather changes could affect animals and plants in the region, or it might impact the whole ecosystem. Due to global warming, some species were forced to migrate to colder regions. For example animals and plants in North America are gradually migrate to the north or high-altitude regions. Climate change will also affect the life cycles of animals and plants. For example, with weather getting warmer some plants will start to grow and flower in the spring and the survive until the fall; some animals will wake up from hibernation earlier or change their time of migration.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) defines high temperature as any temperature of 35℃ and above, and the standard of a heatwave is the daily maximum temperature is 5 degrees Celsius above the average temperature over a 30-year period and has lasted over 5 days. According to this definition, Taipei Station needs to see more than 5 days in a row with a high temperature above 39.3 degrees before it qualifies for the standard of heatwave. Taiwan currently does not have a clear definition of heatwave, but we tally the days with a highest temperature of above 35 degrees Celsius as days of high temperature.

Heat injury is a general term referring to acute illnesses from the body’s inability to regulate high temperatures normally. Common forms of heat injury include heat cramp, heat exhaustion and heat/sun stroke. By degree of severity, heat stroke is the most severe, then comes heat exhaustion, and heat spasm is an early warning to heat injury.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) points that one degree Celsius rise in the air temperature in the nighttime will lead to 10% reduction in rice yields. The practical crops we plant need to grow normally under adequate temperatures and sufficient water. The impact of constant-changing weathers on crops can be either good or bad. For example, northern regions usually have cooler temperatures, therefore temperature getting warmer can be conducive to some plant growths; southern regions have higher temperatures and the extra heat might impede with crop growths.
Chapter 11 of the IPCC AR5 Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change points out that climate change will affect production of food crops and food supply. Apart from areas suitable for crops starting to move north and shortened crop growth period indirectly causing reduction in yields, climate change causes increased weather uncertainty. Frequencies of extreme weathers will increase. For example torrential rains, droughts, extreme high temperatures, extreme low temperatures will make crops damaged instantly. Not only are they a problem of reduction in domestic food production, other food-exporting countries will also face the same threat, leading to the world food supply chain getting weaker. These factors will all affect the future of food safety.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) both point out that climate can directly or indirectly cause human deaths through different mechanisms. For example, paths like air pollution can cause cardiovascular, pulmonary, cerebral damages, or thru warming, water and socioeconomic changes to affect spread of communicable diseases and cause nutritional imbalance.
Human health is suffering from threats of heatwaves, super typhoons, air pollution and climate-related diseases. Global warming will exacerbate the level of threats, specifically for certain groups like babies and infants, senior people, the challenged and those living along coastal areas. Climate change causes changes in temperature and amount of rainfall, affects plan ecology, changes biomes, distribution areas and density of rodents that spread diseases and insect vectors. It also affects vector ecology and their life cycles. For example, increased reproduction speed of vectors and expansion of their distribution areas and then affect the global condition of disease distributions.
Meanwhile rises in temperature might cause increases in incidents of related communicable diseases, leading to speeding of spread of vector-borne diseases. The White Paper on Health Impact Policy Coping with Climate Change 2018 by Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare states that climate change causes changes in temperature and amount of rainfall, leading to quick spread of vector-borne diseases. For example, the incidence of dengue fever has increased 30-fold in the past 50 years and is currently the vector-borne with the highest spreading speed that greatly affects people in Taiwan.
Changes in atmospheric conditions cause various kinds of disasters that not only shake human’s living environment; for example, heatwaves, droughts, floods, wildfires and increased frequency of other extreme weather events. They also lead to changes in ecosystems, destruction of a country’s infrastructure and living environment, increasing risks of people being displaced – making disruptions in the food and water supply that people rely on to stay alive and directly or indirectly lead to damages to people’s lives, safety, and health, which in the long term could even impact their mental health.

Fight against climate change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2015 published AR5 Climate Change 2014 Mitigation of Climate Change and in the Glossary annex it defines mitigation as “A human intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases (GHGs). This report also assesses human interventions to reduce the sources of other substances which may contribute directly or indirectly to limiting climate change, including, for example, the reduction of particulate matter (PM) emissions that can directly alter the radiation balance (e.g., black carbon) or measures that control emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and other pollutants that can alter the concentration of tropospheric ozone (O3) which has an indirect effect on the climate.

Taiwan’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act states that “Mitigation means any intervention to reduce the sources or enhance GHG sinks.” In general “mitigation” refers reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases or storage of released greenhouse gases through absorption in order to reduce the content of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and lower the impact of greenhouse gases on the atmosphere.

According to IPCC AR5’s estimates, in a emission scenario with a mild level of warming (RCP4.5), the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will reach 538 ppm by 2100, the global mean temperature will rise by 1.8 degrees, and the global sea level might rise by 0.47 meters.

If we do not reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, the global mean temperature in the future will be even higher, leading to increased melting of glaciers, sea level rises, threatening coastal areas and so on.

Carbon reduction could be very simple in reality! Everyone can do it from the daily aspects of food, clothing, housing, transportation, education, and entertainment to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

  • Food:
    • Eat more vegetables and less meat: Change to eating vegetables in one of the meals every day can reduce 0.79 kilograms of CO2 emissions.
    • Bring your own cup, eco-friendly tableware: Do not think you can buy as many beverages as you can because their bottles can be recycled. Reuse a bottle 20 times can save 1/3 ~1/4 of CO2 emissions.
    • Eat only 80% full, eat at regular times with regular amount is the most healthy: Eating too much will take a toll on the health and this also needs resources to produce more food.
  • Clothing:
    • Recycling of old clothing helps others and also eco-friendly: Think about it. The old clothing you do not need might be needed by others. Beautiful old clothing also makes those needing it happy.
    • No need to do the laundry every day: Tell your family that dirty laundry can pile up for a while before it needs to be done as this can save water and electricity.
    • Wear clothing made of eco-friendly materials: Clothing made of chemically synthesized fibers needs to use petrochemical materials, energy consuming and pollution generating. Tell your family to choose clothing made of natural fibers as much as they can as this is both eco-friendly and earth loving.
  • Housing:
    • Set air conditioning to 26-28 degrees Celsius during summer: Set the AC temperature one degree Celsius more can save 6% of power consumption and reduce 38g of carbon dioxide emissions.
    • Keep windows open to ventilate and use less AC during summer: Keep windows open as much as possible and use less AC. Good ventilation makes you feel more comfortable, healthy and earth loving.
    • Turn off power when you leave: Keep a habit of turning off power when you leave can save a sizable amount of power.
  • Transportation:
    • Climb stairs, saving power and healthy: Take a floor less by elevator can reduce 0.218 kilograms of CO2 emissions. Go up and down 3 floors by taking the stairs, energy saving and health building.
    • Walk more to keep healthy: Use more of your feet to walk. Get off the bus or MRT a stop earlier to get yourself into exercise for a while can enhance your body’s immunity and increase the chance to interact with the environment.
    • Take mass transportation more: Tell your family to take more of the mass transportation tools to reduce congestion and save the trouble of finding a parking space as well as save energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Education:
    • Get to know the Green Mark: Know the product label for eco-friendly products. For example, Green Mark, energy-saving label, water-saving label. Also tell your family to choose products with these kinds of labels to reduce the impact on the environment.
    • Resource recycling and classification: Recycling of 1 KG of paper can reduce 0.242 KG of CO2 emissions. Every 1 KG of recycled metal/aluminum cans can reduce 0.031 KG of CO2 emissions.
    • Say no to plastc: Resource recycling also needs to consume energy. Even a store provides free plastic containers or bags with a recycling label, you can still say no. Say no to things that will turn to trash.
  • Entertainment:
    • Early to bed and early to rise makes you highly-spirited: Stay late less playing video games and/or watching TV not only is healthy to your body, but is also saving energy.
    • Use 1 hour of computer less every day: Watch one hour of TV less every day can reduce 95g of CO2 emissions.
    • When we are together: The family gets together in the same household, dine, study, watch TV together to increase the feelings between each other and also save energy.

Taiwan’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act points out that “Climate change adaptation means responses to actuator expected climate stimuli and their effects, which moderate harm or exploit beneficial opportunities. Adaptation may include “preventive and/or responsive actions,” “private and/or public actions” and “autonomous and/or programmatic” adaptations.”

“Adaptation” refers to adjustment and accommodation and is about adjustments made to cope with actual or predicted climate impact and its influence by natural or human system in order to lessen damage or develop beneficial opportunities. The purpose of adaptation is to lower the risk under climate change for human and natural systems, making the negative impact of extreme weather events and warming effect go down to the lowest and get the maximum profits coping with the positive effect of climate change.

Mitigation strategy focuses on lessening all the factors causing climate change and adaptation strategy has its attention on proper handling of the impact brought by climate change and the two influence each other. For example, newly built or elevated embankments, evacuating from disaster-prone areas, and use of drought-resistant crops to replace traditional crops.

Since the advent of the industrialized age, human activities have caused increased emissions of greenhouse gas emissions. If the speed of increase of greenhouse gases do not change, or even goes faster, it might cause even more damage.

Even if present greenhouse gases in the atmosphere did not increase anymore, they could have affected the future climate in ways like temperature rises, concentrated and intensive rain. If greenhouse gases emissions are not controlled, the adaptation cost will be increased tremendously as well. For example, adaptation efforts for global temperature rise by 2°C are easier than for 4°C and the cost is also much less. Meanwhile the UK’s Climate Change Adaptation Report says under the scenario of a sea level rise by one meter, the current Thames Barrier can protect London and the Thames estuary. But if the rise is over 1 meter, it might cost additionally billions of pounds sterling to put up a new barrier.

If the world did not decrease emissions of greenhouse gases on a large scale in the future, by he end of this century or next century, the sea level could have risen by more than one meter. Therefore climate change adaptation has become especially important. Adaptation is not only about disaster prevention measures related to construction, it also needs to have sustainable development (like green rooftops, rooftop farms, rain harvesting) covered.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) thinks climate loss is a malfunction problem of the global public goods market and adaptation can lessen climate change mitigation efforts.

In June 1992 the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with the purpose of adjusting the mode of production and consumption, and revising each country’s policy as well as strengthening bindings and regulations between nations. The conference hoped to ensure the Earth’s environment was not subject to further destruction any longer, and could still provide the future generations with sufficient natural resources and living environment. Leaders from more than 150 countries signed and passed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and made an agreement on globally controlled targets on anthropogenic greenhouse gases that regulates global warming issues from the greenhouse effect and the agreement was effective formally on March 21, 1994.

The Kyoto Protocol (long name: Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) serves as supplementary articles to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It was enacted in December 1997 by participating countries in the third meeting of the UNFCCC taking place at the Kyoto International Conference Center, Kyoto, Japan. The ultimate objective is to achieve “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change {IPCC) estimated that from1990 to 2100 the global temperature would have risen by 1.4℃ to 5.8℃. Current estimate shows that if the Kyoto Protocol could be implemented fully, it could only have lowered the temperature rise by 0.02℃ to 0.28℃ by 2050. Because of this many critics and environmentalists question the value of the Kyoto Protocol and the standards set by it are too low that are not enough to cope with severe crises of the future. On the other hand supporters point out that the Kyoto Protocol is only the first step. In order to achieve the goal of the UNFCCC, we still need to revise it to make it perfect from now on, until it meets the requirements stipulated in UNFCCC 4.2(d).

On December 8, 2010, the Kyoto Protocol that should end by 2010 was extended to 2020 by agreements made in the 18th UN Climate Change Conference held in Qatar.

The Paris Agreement (Fr: Accord de Paris) is a climate agreement passed in the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference on December 12, 2018 by 195 member nations of the UN (including observer nation Palestine and the Holy See) to replace the Kyoto Protocol with the hope to stop the trend of global warming together. Article 2 of Agreement passed the following content to strengthen the United Nations FrameWork Convention on Climate Change:

  1. Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.
  2. Enhance capability of the adverse impact of climate change and use methods that do not threat food production to increase climate resilience and development of low greenhouse gas emissions.
  3. Make cash flows compliant with greenhouse gas emissions and the path to climate-adaptive development

The Paris Agreement sets clear objectives and makes investments focused on renewable energy. Meanwhile it covers most of the developing countries and nations. But this agreement is not binding to them. Under the current framework, it is promoted by each individual country voluntarily. Nevertheless it can exert pressure through renegotiation by examining the achievement of emission reductions every 5 years for those that do not follow the agreement. Therefore it is still not known if the goals could be reached.

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United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGS)

The event echos goals 3, 4, 6, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 of the 17 sustainable development goals and use Our Oceans, Our Future as the theme to guide students to make abstract climate change concepts concrete. But what are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals?

In September 2015 the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development was passed by the world’s countries in the General Assembly. The Agenda covers 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that became effective formally on January 1, 2016. These new goals are applicable to all countries. Therefore in the subsequent 15 years, each country would be dedicated to elimination of all forms of poverty, realizing equality and coping with climate change and ensuring no issue is left uncovered.

The sustainable development goals are based on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and aiming to eliminate all forms of poverty. It is built on the guideline of the original sustainable development that “meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs” to continue to complete the tasks. Meanwhile the new goals call on all countries, including poor countries, rich countries and medium income countries, to take actions together to promote prosperity and protect the Earth.

The sustainable development goals projected to go toward the 2020 Agenda integrate the three major frameworks of society, economy, and environment and put forward five new major elements and emphasize the interrelationships of goal consolidation with the hope that at the same time of dedicating to elimination of poverty, we need to implement requirements of society that would promote economic growth, meet education, health, social protection and job opportunities as well as aspects coping with climate action and environmental protection.

GOAL 1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere

GOAL 2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

GOAL 3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

GOAL 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

GOAL 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

GOAL 6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

GOAL 7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

GOAL 8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

GOAL 9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

GOAL 10 Reduce inequality within and among countries

GOAL 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

GOAL 12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

GOAL 13 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

GOAL 14 Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

GOAL 15 Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

GOAL 16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

GOAL 17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development