A Compendium of Solutions for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Staying Below 2°C or 1.5ºC

There is widespread agreement that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the UN in its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development cannot be achieved without action to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement. But not all climate policies contribute equally to achievement of the SDGs. There is insufficient understanding in the climate policy community of how climate and development policies can be integrated to deliver multiple benefits and vice versa.

This Report contributes to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs by examining a wide range of solutions that contribute positively to both climate protection and the SDGs. It was written to bridge the literature on the SDGs and climate change policies because too much of this literature remains in single-issue silos. The SDGs’ policy literature relating to climate change can be too abstract and unrelated to the key issues and policy debates relating to the implementation of the Paris Agreement. Our Report aims to rectify these knowledge gaps by presenting a wide range of technologies and policy solutions that can help achieve climate goals and the SDGs.

There is already a great deal of literature, and policy agreement, that climate action and the SDGs will require a complete decarbonisation of the power sector and a switch to 100% renewable energy, in combination with access to clean energy for all. We have therefore focused our Report on two key sectors - agriculture, land use change and forestry and the built environment - which, in our view, receive less policy attention but where there are an abundance of SDG friendly solutions that can also contribute to the portfolio of solutions needed to help keep global emissions below 2°C/1.5°C. Each solution is described in our Report succinctly and generally accompanied by one or more proven case studies showing how that solution can contribute to specific SDGs and to pathways that keep global temperatures below 2°C/1.5°C. Where possible, we have tried to provide estimates of greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction potential alongside each solution along with a summary of its key features.
Our report also examines more controversial carbon dioxide removal options that have been put forward as solutions, including bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). The majority of these options have not been tested and/or been widely implemented. Our findings suggest they may well fail to deliver at scale in making a realistic and affordable contribution to the Paris Agreement, and their contribution to the achievement of the SDGs would be rather limited or in some cases potentially negative.