This contributing paper presents a mapping tool that connects the seven World Meteorological Organization (WMO) state of the climate indicators to climate change impacts and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Although there is emerging scientific literature on climate change, risk and policy action, the interdisciplinary nature of the research has resulted in difficulties for stakeholders to quickly and easily find information on climate change as it relates to ecosystems, populations and development. The WMO indicators were chosen for their clarity, relevance for a range of audiences, and ability to be updated using internationally agreed and published methods with open access and high-quality data. Each indicator represents key aspects of the climate system linked to various associated risks identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the academic community. Systemically mapping the relationships between the WMO climate indicators and related risks to show how climate can affect the achievement of specific SDGs, with clear visual representations, provides stakeholders with a new tool to better grasp the interconnected and complex nature of how climate change threatens sustainable development.
This study finds that the connections between the global climate and the SDGs go far beyond Goal 13 for climate action. Each of the seven climate indicators addressed (surface temperature, ocean heat content, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, ocean acidification, sea level rise, glacial mass balance and sea ice extent) pose significant risks to 13 of the 17 SDGs. By educating the international community on the interconnectivity between climate change and sustainable development, more interdisciplinary partnerships for change can occur, contributing to more sustainable behavior and consumption.