SDG 13: Climate Action
1. EU Programmes likely to be relevant for libraries
2030 climate & energy framework
The 2030 climate and energy framework includes EU-wide targets and policy objectives for the period from 2021 to 2030.
Key targets for 2030:
- At least 40% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels)
- At least 32% share for renewable energy
- At least 32.5% improvement in energy efficiency
The framework was adopted by the European Council in October 2014. The targets for renewables and energy efficiency were revised upwards in 2018.
Environment Action Programme
The European Union has put in place a broad range of environmental legislation. As a result, air, water and soil pollution has significantly been reduced. Chemicals legislation has been modernised and the use of many toxic or hazardous substances has been restricted. Today, EU citizens enjoy some of the best water quality in the world and over 18% of EU's territory has been designated as protected areas for nature.
However, many challenges persist and these must be tackled together in a structured way.
The 7th Environment Action Programme (EAP) will be guiding European environment policy until 2020. In order to give more long-term direction it sets out a vision: "In 2050, we live well, within the planet’s ecological limits. Our prosperity and healthy environment stem from an innovative, circular economy where nothing is wasted and where natural resources are managed sustainably, and biodiversity is protected, valued and restored in ways that enhance our society’s resilience. Our low-carbon growth has long been decoupled from resource use, setting the pace for a safe and sustainable global society." It identifies three key objectives:
- to protect, conserve and enhance the Union’s natural capital
- to turn the Union into a resource-efficient, green, and competitive low-carbon economy
- to safeguard the Union's citizens from environment-related pressures and risks to health and wellbeing
Final Circular Economy package
On 4 March 2019, the European Commission adopted a comprehensive report on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan. The report presents the main achievements under the Action Plan and sketches out future challenges to shaping our economy and paving the way towards a climate-neutral, circular economy where pressure on natural and freshwater resources as well as ecosystems is minimised. In 2015, the European Commission adopted an ambitious Circular Economy Action Plan, which includes measures that will helpstimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy, boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs.
The EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy establishes a concrete and ambitious programme of action, with measures covering the whole cycle: from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials and a revised legislative proposal on waste. Key elements of the revised waste proposal include:
- A common EU target for recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2035;
- A common EU target for recycling 70% of packaging waste by 2030
Climate change, disaster risk reduction and desertification – International cooperation and development
Climate change is happening now; it already affects communities around the globe. Unless it is tackled, it could undermine the world's efforts for development.
The EU is a strong international supporter of sustainable development. To address climate change challenges in this context, it backs a wide variety of activities dealing with issues such as adaptation, mitigation, disaster risk reduction and desertification.
In urgent and exceptional circumstances, such as the sudden influx of refugees in Europe, the European Union can fund emergency humanitarian support for people in need within the EU territory. The emergency support within the European Union, adopted in March 2016, aims to preserve life, prevent and alleviate human suffering and maintain human dignity.
2. Library Policies and Best Practices
Freedom of expression is a sacred principle in libraries; therefore, those who deny climate change may be listened to in libraries, but also have a hard life: climate change has become an emergency also because of them. Awareness activities and campaigns / exhibitions promoting good practices should awaken people’s consciousness and accelerate the attainment of SDG 13. Cooperation between citizens and universities through public libraries would reverse the current consideration that climate emergency is something beside and ahead of us, and not inside of us and now.
One of the most popular standards applied in sustainability is the ISO standard 14001:2004: Environmental management systems — Requirements with guidance for use, a standard that is successfully applied in many aspects of SDGs.
The University Library of Huelva set up an ISO standard compliant system designed to manage processes and procedures related to environmental aspects. It was applied to all library activities and services having an impact on the environment.
(See: Marta Garcia (2020), “La agenda 2030 en las bibliotecas universitarias: qué es y ejemplos de aplicación”, Desiderata, n. 13. https://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/articulo?codigo=7217946)
3. Opportunities for library funding
This Chapter refers to the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) 2021-2027, and in particular to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund+ (ESF).
In order to make the most out of these Funds, first refer to the ESIF managing authorities, which are different in every Member State and are responsible for national operational programmes and policies. The list of national authorities, country after country, and region after region, is available at the following link, https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/atlas/managing-authorities/.
In the Table(s) below, for each ESIF objective: Column 1 designates the ERDF or ESF+ specific objective. Column 2 and 3 set, respectively, the related outputs and results indicated by ESIF official documents. It can be easily inferred that European Commission criteria for evaluation are quite general and do not get into the detail of the programmes. It is up to Member States to set additional criteria for evaluation.
Finally, Column 4 lists examples of library projects set up to pursue ESIF objectives or to attain specific Sustainable Development Goals. ESIF-funded and SDG-oriented library projects are matched with specific ESIF 2021-2027 objectives and sub-objectives; what is shown in the table, however, is a simulation: under which presumed ESIF specific objective could SDG-oriented library projects have been funded, if they were to be presented within the ESIF 2021-2027 framework?
More detailed information on the Library Projects listed in Column 5 can be found in the “Sustainable Development Goals and Libraries - First European Report."
4. Main Eurostat Indicators
Key trends in climate action in Europe show the following evidence (Eurostat Report, pp. 253 and ss):
- The EU has reduced its GHG (Greenhoue gases) emissions by 21.7% compared with 1990 levels;
- Per capita emissions have continued to fall in most EU countries;
- GHG emissions intensity of EU energy consumption has decreased gradually over the past two decades;
- Continuous increases in near-surface temperatures and ocean acidity over the past decades;
- Economic losses from weather- and climate-related extremes have been considerable over the past decades;
- The EU’s contribution to climate finance for developing countries has been increasing since 2014.
Goal 13’s attainment is monitored through the following main indicators: Source: EU SDG Indicator set 2019, pp. 24-25:
5. Library Indicators
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Library Indicators enabling the evaluation of library performances and how they can match SDG indicators.
"Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts"
Climate change already has observable effects, such as an increase in average global air and ocean temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, a rising global average sea level and rising ocean acidity. The impacts of climate change threaten the viability of social, environmental and economic systems and may make some regions less habitable due to food and water scarcity. As reflected in the EU 2030 climate and energy framework and in its long-term vision ‘A Clean Planet for all’, the EU pursues climate change mitigation, by reducing emissions of greenhouses gases, reducing energy consumption and increasing the share of renewable energy.
Europe has taken a leading role in this context by engaging in international negotiations, pursuing the goals of the Paris Agreement and supporting climate initiatives around the world.
The 2030 climate and energy policy framework sets three key targets for 2030: at least 40% cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 1990 levels, at least 27% share for renewable energy and at least 27% improvement in energy efficiency. The EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change supports actions to make the EU more climate-resilient. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions mitigation is also being tackled through the Circular Economy Package. Overall, the EU aims to spend at least 20% of its budget for 2014-2020 on climate-related projects and policies.
Targets and Indicators: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg13
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