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Connecting climate action with other Sustainable Development Goals


The international community has committed to combat climate change and achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Here we explore (dis)connections in evidence and governance between these commitments. Our structured evidence review suggests that climate change can undermine 16 SDGs, while combatting climate change can reinforce all 17 SDGs but undermine efforts to achieve 12. Understanding these relationships requires wider and deeper interdisciplinary collaboration. Climate change and sustainable development governance should be better connected to maximize the effectiveness of action in both domains. The emergence around the world of new coordinating institutions and sustainable development planning represents promising progress.

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Fig. 1: Impacts of climate change on the achievement of the SDGs.

United Nations.

Fig. 2: Synergies and trade-offs between climate action and the SDGs.

United Nations.

Fig. 3: Process links between international commitments on climate change and sustainable development.


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KTH research work for this Perspective was partially funded by the Formas grant no. 2018-01253.

Author information




F.F.N. coordinated the research team for this Perspective, designed and contributed to the expert elicitation process and wrote and reviewed the paper. B.M., B.S. and N.H. designed and contributed to the expert elicitation process and wrote and reviewed the paper. L.C., E.C., M.H., M.T., J.T. and H.Z. contributed to the expert elicitation process and to writing and reviewing sections of the paper.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Francesco Fuso Nerini or Ben Milligan.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Methods, Supplementary Table 1, Supplementary References 1–5, results from the analysis included in one big table.

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Fuso Nerini, F., Sovacool, B., Hughes, N. et al. Connecting climate action with other Sustainable Development Goals. Nat Sustain 2, 674–680 (2019).

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