Goal 13: Climate Action

Measuring progress in the Nordic countries

Work in progress: This page is under active development.

Adopted in 2015 by all United Nations (UN) members, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide a global agenda for making the world a better place by 2030. They are described by the UN as a ‘shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet‘, and goals are to be achieved by all countries, in global partnership, by 2030.

This data tracker uses the latest official data to look at how the Nordic countries are progressing towards achieving the 17 SDGs, with this page looking closer at Sustainable Development Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

Data for the other goals can be access via this link.

Each target is presented by first looking at global trends, before zooming in on the Nordic countries and assessing their performance. The assessment is based on work by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in analysing the progress made toward the SDGs in all OECD countries.

Target 13.1

Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries

Indicators:

13.1.1Number of deaths, missing persons and directly affected persons attributed to disasters per 100,000 population
13.1.2Number of countries that adopt and implement national disaster risk reduction strategies in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030
13.1.3Proportion of local governments that adopt and implement local disaster risk reduction strategies in line with national disaster risk reduction strategies

Global trends

Target 13.1 measures progress both by looking at human and economic costs of disasters, as well as by countries’ adoption of disaster risk reduction strategies at a national and local level.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe effect on the disaster-mortality rate, reversing the progress made from 2015 to 2019 in decreasing the distaster-mortality rate.

In 2020, a total of 80 countries reported near 300 000 deaths caused by disasters, of which the pandemic COVID-19 related. This figure is, according to the UN, significantly underreporting deaths caused by the pandemic, with the World Health Organization estimating 4.5 million excess deaths caused by he pandemic at the end of 2020.

In terms of risk reduction strategies, as of 2021, 123 countries had implemented national disaster risk reduction strategies under the Sendai Framework. 97 of these countries had done so at both the national and local levels.

The Nordics

Data on the Nordic countries for this target is sparse. However, with regard to risk reduction strategies, only Finland and Norway have implemented such strategies in accordance with the Sendai Framework.

Norway has a score of 0.98 for its level of implementation (0.0 lowest - 1.0 highest) with Finland at 0.75. In Finland 100%, of all local governments have implemented local strategies in line with the national strategy, with 98% of all local governments in Norway doing so.

The OECD provides no assessment for the Nordic countries on target 1.5.

Target 13.2

Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning

Indicators:

13.2.1Number of countries with nationally determined contributions, long-term strategies, national adaptation plans and adaptation communications, as reported to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
13.2.2Total greenhouse gas emissions per year

Global trends

The Paris Agreement sets out a goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels (1850-1900). The latest data for 2021 shows that the global mean temperature rise was at 1.11 ± 0.13 °C above pre-industrial levels, with 2021 one of the seven warmest years recorded, highlighting the need for decisive climate action.

Under the Paris Agreement each Party to the agreement is required to establish a climate action plan, called a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), which is to be updated every five years. As of April 2022, a total of 193 parties had submitted such NDCs, and 13 parties had submitted their second updated NDC.

To reach the target of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 °C greenhouse gas emissions have to be cut by 45% by 2030 (compared to 2010 levels), and achieve net-zero by 2050. However, the current trends imply a trajectory where global emissions will increase by 14% over the current decade.

The Nordics

In 2020 total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden were around 45-55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents. Since 1990, Denmark, Finland and Sweden have all managed significant emission reductions, albeit from a higher starting level than Norway and Iceland. In Iceland, emission levels have been stable at around 3-4 million tonnes per year.

When it comes to assessing progress towards the SDG target, the OECD uses emission levels in terms of per capita and per unit of GDP. In all the Nordics, except for Iceland, the emission intensity both per capita and per unit of GDP has decreased over the past decades. In Iceland, per capita emissions are at approximately the same levels as in the 1990s.

When it comes to assessing progress towards the SDG target, the OECD uses emission levels in terms of per capita and per unit of GDP. In all the Nordics, except for Iceland, the emission intensity both per capita and per unit of GDP has decreased over the past decades. In Iceland, per capita emissions are at approximately the same levels as in the 1990s.

The target level which the OECD uses to measure progress is set at half the lowest emissions observed in 2015 in OECD countries. Gauged against this benchmark, Sweden is the only country which has a high likelihood of reaching the target by 2030. Denmark, Finland and Norway are judged as making progress, albeit insufficient to reach the 2030-target.

The OECD notes that end target values are for informative purposes on how to measure progress towards the SDGs, and that the definition of end values by a country is a political process.

Target 13.3

Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

Indicators:

13.3.1Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development are mainstreamed in (a) national education policies; (b) curricula; (c) teacher education; and (d) student assessment

Global trends

There is ongoing work to develop the indicator used to measure progress towards this target. Each of the four components of the indicator (policies, curricula, teacher education, and student assessment), are measured by a range of criteria which taken together are given a score between 0 and 1, where 1 entails full mainstreaming of the Global Citizenship Education (GCED) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). As of 2022, no data is currently available at the global or regional level.

The Nordics

At a Nordic level, Denmark, Finland and Sweden took part in the first round of measuring this indicator (2017-2020). The data showed that as of now, only Sweden has fully mainstreamed GCED and ESD into their national education policies.

Given the lack of data over time, no trend assessment is given for this indicator. New data is set to be released during 2024.

Target 13.a

Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible

Indicators:

13.a.1Amounts provided and mobilized in United States dollars per year in relation to the continued existing collective mobilization goal of the $100 billion commitment through to 2025

Global trends

The latest data for 2020 shows that while climate finance levels have increased, the total amount is still approximately $17 billion short of the $100 billion target. Note that the initial target was to achieve $100 billion annually in climate finance for developing countries by 2020, the target deadline has been extended to 2025.

The Nordics

Target not assessed at country level.

Target 13.b

Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities

Indicators:

13.b.1Number of least developed countries and small island developing States with nationally determined contributions, long-term strategies, national adaptation plans and adaptation communications, as reported to the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Global trends

Insufficient data to analyse trends at the global level.

The Nordics

Target not applicable to the Nordic countries.

About the data

The data presented on global, regional, and national trends are from the UN SDG Global Database and the OECD unless otherwise stated.

The assessment of the Nordic countries is based on the findings from a recent OECD report, published in April 2022. The OECD uses a three-tier classification for each target:

  • Target is achieved or on track to being achieved
  • Progress has been made, but is insufficient to meet the target
  • No progress or moving away from the SDG target

Note that the OECD methodology uses the current status of a target and calculates a likely trend towards 2030 based on recent progress. Thus, a country that is close to a target, but trending away from it, will be classified as having "No progress or moving away from the SDG target". Conversely, a country that is currently further away from the target, but trending towards it (and has a high likelihood of reaching it before 2030), will be classified as "Target is achieved or on track to being achieved".

Changelog

  • Pilot release 30 August 2022

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