Ethny Childs
11 February 2021

Briefing paper: SDGs & climate change

At the end of 2020, the IES set out the work we will be doing ahead of COP26 to bring together expert voices on climate science. Across six themed discussions, the IES is using its platform to generate conversations and to clarify key areas of consensus and conflict which will need to be addressed ahead of the conference this November.

The first of our 'STAGES on the road to COP26' was Sustainability. For this theme, we explored the high level interactions between the climate and sustainability agendas, with the aim to facilitate open discussion on how climate action fits within the wider vision of sustainability and how our efforts to address climate change can support our alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Our work on this theme culminated in a discussion meeting featuring guest speaker Professor Chris Rapley CBE. The overriding message from the meeting is the need for concerted action to ensure that climate action is embedded within the wider sustainability agenda and that a greater understanding of the complex interactions between the two is essential for effective integration of sustainability and climate action into national policies, strategies and planning.

Read a summary of the key discussion points from the meeting

Following on from these discussions, today we are launching our briefing paper on The Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change, seeking to make clear the synergies and challenges which exist in our work towards sustainable development while also pursuing robust climate action. 

Next Steps 

Addressing the climate crisis will require action which moves us away from unsustainable systems of consumption and production which have become ingrained in our society. The IES will be looking into these key questions of transformative change as we enter the second of our STAGES on the Road to COP26: 'Transformation'. You should expect to hear more soon about our plans for this crucial discussion, where we will be taking a more direct look at systems which require transformation and the ways we can promote societal change.

Get involved

We have established a new COP26 Community for members involved in COP and the themes outlined above, which will help to shape our activities in this area over the coming year. This community will be focused on championing the work of experts and evidence around climate change, and driving change to ensure adaptation measures are accurate, ambitious and achievable, through tailored discussions, events and resources. Find out more.