21 June 2022
The global Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 will not be achieved. The United Nations’ latest progress report states this clearly.
The United Nations set the agenda of the Global Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 for the period up to 2030. In that year, the world should be in a better position. Among the forecast benefits were that structural poverty would be reduced, biodiversity improved, the earth would be more liveable and climate change would be slowed down.
The continued use of fossil fuels seems to be the most significant obstacle for the Goals not being achieved.
PRIORITY OF THE CLIMATE
A new report, Fuelling Failure, examines the relationship between the oil industry and all 17 SDGs. Plastic production is part of the oil industry. The conclusion is that the world’s dependence on fossil fuels is standing in the way of achieving the SDGs. To achieve the goals, the fossil fuel era needs to be ended rapidly.
The rationale is simple. SDG 13 refers to the approach toward the man-made climate crisis. If this approach does not work, the goals of the other SDGs will also not be achieved. Global warming is causing biodiversity loss, food shortages for more and more people, and increasing poverty. Or, to stick to plastic, reducing plastic production will not only prevent pollution but will also prevent health problems, ecosystem stress, pollution of inhabited areas and nature, and, by reducing CO2 emissions, will slow down the continuing global warming.
In the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, agreements were made that global warming would be kept below two degrees. The target is 1.5 degrees, to be attained by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve this goal, half the gas, coal and oil should be produced than is currently the case. There is no sign of the sharp drop that is needed. Read about this in this article in Nature. It is also abundantly clear that a steep drop in the use of plastic would help achieve the SDGs. However, plastic consumption across the world is increasing rather than decreasing.
‘LIMITING GLOBAL WARMING TO BELOW TWO DEGREES IS NOT WORKING’
None of the climate scientists in the Netherlands recently interviewed by the news broadcaster NOS (in Dutch) believe that global warming will be kept to well below two degrees. According to the Tyndall Centre, a British research institution, rich oil and gas producing countries will have to reduce their production by 75% by 2030 if the 1.5 degree target is to be met. The NOS also quotes the United Nations that expects the production of fossil fuels to be 110% higher in 2030 than needed to achieve that 1.5%.
FOSSIL FUEL NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY
How is it possible that BIG OIL and BIG PLASTIC are sabotaging the SDGs by producing as much oil and plastic as they can while embracing those very same SDGs? Shell is an excellent example. For each SDG, the multinational explains to the public what it is doing in which project to help achieve the agreed sustainability goals. So what is going wrong?
The answer to this burning question is that multinational companies are not or are barely held responsible by governments for their part in climate change and global warming. This must change. This is why the authors of the Fuelling Failure-report are arguing for a new worldwide treaty. They suggest a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty based on three principles.
- The extraction of new oil and gas reserves is subject to a worldwide moratorium.
- Current activities must be in line with the principles of the Climate Agreement.
- Alternative sources of energy should be made available more quickly, and countries that are dependent on fossil fuels should receive support.
Plastic Soup Foundation supports this call wholeheartedly.
You may also be interested in:
Three problems with the global Sustainability Goals in terms of the plastic soup
Sustainable Development Goals and fighting the plastic soup
Article by Maria Westerbos, director of the Plastic Soup Foundation, published by Impakter on 27 March 2019 in the SDG series.