Tackling climate change and environmental risks
2016 was the hottest year on record. The average for the year was around 1.1°C higher than before the industrial revolution.
There is no longer any doubt that the climate is changing and that those changes have largely been caused by humankind. It is only by rapidly and systematically reducing emission of gases harmful to the climate that global warming can be kept within manageable limits.
Drawing on scientific calculations, climate policy in recent years has set out to limit global warming to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. If temperatures were to rise any further, there is a danger that the consequences would be irreversible and beyond human control.
In the climate agreement concluded in Paris in late 2015, the international community went one step further and adopted the goal of limiting global warming to significantly less than 2 degrees, and to 1.5 degrees if possible. This will only work if all countries take the necessary steps – so not only the world's industrialised countries but also developing countries and emerging economies.
Time is running out. Poorer countries, which are often particularly vulnerable to climate risks, must be helped to implement the climate agreement and take a climate-smart development path.
Many countries face great challenges as changes in the climate lead to changes in their environment. They need to safeguard vital natural resources, adapt agricultural practices and provide protection from ever more extreme weather events, like droughts or floods. Natural disasters are already costing the world eight billion US dollars a year. That is why poor people in developing countries are in particular need of support, for example in the form of insurance against climate risks, failed harvests or damage to their homes.