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SDG 13 - Climate action

Taking countermeasures for a sustainable future

The international community agreed to limit global warming to a maximum of two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015. That was eight years ago – and much progress has been made during these eight years. However, the efforts made to date are far from sufficient to achieve the internationally agreed target and reverse the trend. For example, the expansion of renewable energies has increased significantly since then. The International Energy Agency (IEA) is forecasting a new record for expansion in 2023 and an even greater increase in 2024.

However, that is not enough: without a further drastic reduction in CO2 emissions, the earth's temperature is expected to rise to 2.8 degrees according to the latest calculations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Crises such as the Ukraine war and the conflict in the Middle East continue to keep the world on tenterhooks; the corona pandemic is only just behind us. This is why there is now talk of a polycrisis in which we find ourselves. At the same time, climate change and species extinction continue unabated. The two form a double crisis; they reinforce each other – both positively and negatively – and are among the greatest challenges humanity is facing.

If global warming continues to increase rapidly – we have already reached around 1.1 degrees – the impact will be dramatic, as the IPCC keeps urgently describing: More extreme weather events, water shortages, food insecurity, likely social upheaval – but also the further loss of biodiversity and entire ecosystems. We are already seeing some of this, whether as heatwaves in India, droughts in the Horn of Africa or floods in Pakistan and Mozambique.

Developing countries suffer the most from the consequences, although they have contributed the least to climate change and species loss. They usually live closer to nature and therefore feel extreme weather events more directly than people in the rich north. They also generally have far fewer resources to adapt to the new realities and mitigate the consequences. The global community must therefore take countermeasures quickly and decisively – in all areas of life. This includes phasing out fossil fuels as well as changing consumption and eating habits, new agricultural practices and the protection of nature, especially forests and moors, because they act as natural CO2 sinks and can store climate-damaging gases.

In United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 13, the global community agreed to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. On behalf of the German Federal Government, KfW is supporting its partner countries around the world in the climate-friendly transformation of their social and economic systems. This change must take place as quickly as possible, but at the same time it must also be fair and involve all sections of the population ("just transition") if it is to succeed and last. KfW is aligning all of its promotional activities with the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

KfW Development Bank's commitments to climate- and environment-related projects have been at a high level for many years and account for around half of total commitments. In 2023, commitments that will specifically contribute to achieving SDG 13 amounted to more than EUR 5.4 billion. Measures for climate protection, climate change adaptation and climate resilience continue to be items at the top of KfW’s agenda despite the many new crises that have arisen. This is because climate change will potentially exacerbate all other crises if the global community does not succeed in limiting global warming to a tolerable level.

“The coming years are decisive”

Interview with Christiane Laibach, KfW Executive Board member, on the occasion of the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai (COP28) on climate change and biodiversity, and their importance for KfW Development Bank.

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The challenge of climate change

Developing and emerging countries suffer the most from climate change, although they contribute the least. Strengthening their resilience to the impacts of climate change and at the same time supporting them in achieving their climate protection goals is an important goal of German DC.

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KfW's contribution to SDG 13

  • Solar power plant


    How a hybrid power plant on Galapagos is protecting the archipelago and the climate at the same time

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  • Man at harvest

    Mangrove protection

    Ecosystem and carbon store at the same time: mangrove forests in Indonesia

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  • Workers in front of substation

    Energy transition

    Green energy corridors deliver climate-friendly electricity in India

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  • Globe

    Development Research

    The climate crisis is now - Call for protection against climate risks

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“We keep ignoring the red light”

Interview with marine biologist and co-chair of an IPCC working group Hans-Otto Pörtner.

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Solar power from the desert

Morocco is harnessing the potential to free itself from fossil fuels with concentrated solar power plants. This is exemplary from an emerging country, and a bold step that is supported by international donors like KfW.

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