“Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts", SDG 13, an overview to be informed

The Goal dedicated to climate change and a reflection on the virus

In the analysis of climate change, reference is made to the environmental parameters, which are: temperatures, rainfalls, overcast, distribution and increase of flora and fauna. Changes in these phenomena result in climate change. 

The first thing we think about when reflecting on the issues linked to climate is the well-known greenhouse effect that, when looking at the data available, has a significant role. But do we actually know what the greenhouse effect is? The atmosphere is penetrated by the sun rays that warm our planet every day, while during the night the Earth loses heat in the form of infrared rays. Some solar radiations that should enter into the atmosphere and then exit as infrared rays remain trapped due to the so called greenhouse gases, which similarly to what happens in a farming greenhouse creates a significant increase in temperature. The main gases that trigger this phenomenon are methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide, which create a hood that constrains toxic substances and solar radiation without letting them get out. These gases are the result of industrial production and transport, but the excessive presence of carbon dioxide is also linked to deforestation: as we know, through chlorophyll photosynthesis the plants absorb carbon dioxide releasing oxygen (and vice versa during the night in reduced quantities). They are therefore not only the "green filters" of our toxines but also the producers of our oxygen.

These considerations lead us to reflect on how much the actions and decisions of the humankind influence the environment and therefore the climate. In fact climate change is in large part imputable to human activities. The greenhouse effect is only one of the numerous phenomena that unveil climatic changes, together with for example acid rain, the ozone hole, the melting glaciers, the pollution we breath and many other phenomena in which we do not get directly interested because they are out of our reach. As a consequence of this, climate change is one of the Goals of the Agenda, aiming at improving the quality of life within the next 10 years through decisions at the highest level. These are in fact the most effective and concrete ones, in addition to the sensitization on the importance of each individual's contribution. 

It is easy to understand that the countries that are more involved in the release of waste and polluting substances are those characterized by extensive production and industrialization. A 2015 detection places in the first place China, followed by the United States and the European Union. That year specifically the EU demonstrated its commitment to the cause by ratifying the Paris Agreement, the first global agreement with a focus on climate aiming at limiting the increase in the global temperature to 1.5 °C compared to the preindustrial era.


A complete readjustment of the ecosystem, together with the abatement of climate change are still far away, nonetheless there are chances of getting together closer to the realization of the set goals. Together with the measures of the Paris Agreement there are accessible and flexible solutions to enable the countries' shift to the production of green energy, which would transform their economies in clean and resistant ones while respecting the environment. Nobody denies the criticality of the current situation, but looking at the problem of climate change with an attentive and critical eye we can ascertain that the current global paralysis due to Covid19 has radically brought down the CO2 emissions. It is to be hoped that in the phase of resumption to the activities, this period of crisis will be taken into account while reflecting on how to reinvent the production processes using clean energy.

Focus Italia and Covid

On October 8, 2019 the Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASviS) wrote “Italy and SDG 13: for the climate we need unprecedented changes (...) Country at a crossroad. While the EU approves 55% emission cuts, Italy needs to reactivate the Adjustment plan and implement green economy. This transition poses serious social issues and should not burden the weakest ones."scriveva l’Asvis (Alleanza italiana per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile). This report refers to a checkered improvement, inversely proportional to the growth in the economic trends. The blockage in our country seems to have had a positive impact on the decrease of pollution in the air, and those that were logical assumptions based on an analytical look on our daily life have been confirmed by the detection of the ESA satellites. 


As the pictures show, it is possible to certify that the restrictions imposed on the citizens have drastically reduced the production of fine dust produced by transport and production. 

According to the former Minister of the Environment, Alfonso Pecorario Scanio, today president of the foundation "Fondazione Univerde", fine dust is not only dangerous for the citizen's health, but it is also a carrier of the virus: "From the study it appears that fine dust can be carrier of the Coronavirus. And this could be one of the reasons why the virus spread so quickly in the Po Valley and in China before that, in an area strongly industrialized like Wuhan. This makes it worth to start reflecting on the need to abandon the production of cars with internal combustion engine."

By Francesca Castiglione

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From the World North America Sections Environment & Development International Organizations Society


SDGs agenda2030 smog effetto serra CO2 emissioni

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