Sustainability was defined at the beginning of 18th century as principle of limiting the use of resources to the extent of unrestrained natural regeneration capacity. July 29. as „World-Overshoot Day 2019“ best marks the delinquency vividly (global average 1.6 planets respectively for e.g. Austria the aliquot share of ~3 Planets)!
Global overruns in dietary agriculture are driver for given up forests or acceptance of famine. In this criteria increasing world population reduces annually available global per capita capacity while consumed resources increase proportionally to standard of living. In the year 2000 United Nations communicated 8 Millennium Development Goals [MDG] for 2015 during a 3-day Millennium Summit among 191 world leaders. Preparations had started under the lead of Deputy Permanent Representative of People’s Republic of China to the United Nations Office in Geneva, his Excellency, and honorable Sha Zukang in the late nineties. His last assignment prior to official retirement at UN had been Secretary-General to the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro exactly 20 years after an agreement on the Climate Change Convention [UNFCCC] had been adopted there for the first time. 2 years later it went into force among UN member states and led to the Kyoto Protocol that became effective another 3 years later in 1997. It was based on the scientific consensus that (part one) global warming was already then occurring and (part two) it’s extremely likely that human-made CO₂ emissions would have had having predominantly caused it.
As the Kyoto Protocol at nascence deemed comprehensive, MDG7 just subsumed to “ensure Environmental Sustainability”. From 1997–2001 Sha Zukang had established the Department of Arms Control in China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served as its first Director-General. Thereafter he returned to the UN as head of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs until he took chair of the Rio+20 Summit. Disappointed about the community of Nations lacking commitment and profiteering circumventions as well as cheatings on the Kyoto Protocol he didn’t let any delegates leave the Summit prior to agreeing on measures for stepping up the MDG ambitions and Environmental Sustainability efforts in particular. This was the birth of the MDGs’ further enhancements into the SDGs adopted by 2015. Their specificity beyond MDGs reflects Sha Zukang’s spirit for a peaceful world [SDG16] for which he insisted to address primarily poverty [SDG1]/[MDG1] and inequalities [SDG10] in access to resources as well as contributing his comprehensive thinking by further particularization of the 8 MDGs’ to totally 17 Sustainable Development Goals [SDG]. Taking the Community of Nations’ Partnership [SDG17]/[MDG8] as a condition precedent they reaffirm reduction to reversal of global population increase by ensuring Gender Equality [SDG5]/[MDG3] and Quality Education [SDG4]/[MDG2]. For the latter notably “affordable Clean Energy for All“ [SDG7] was rendered more precisely. Further creating productivity increases and added value to generate „Qualitative Growth“ [SDG8] for decent work by pursuing innovation in industry and infrastructure [SDG9]. Striving urbanization for wealth dissemination whence conflicting with losses in evaporation surfaces and reduced local CO₂-assimilation capacities demands for Sustainable Cities’ and Communities’ [SDG11] design rules. In particular including the emphasis on keeping water clean [SDG6] and to protect Life under Water [SDG14] as well as On Land [SDG15] from pollution, respectively cleaning such out.
Since Carbon is contemporarily the most consummated resource, the problem of „CO₂ – discharge“ falls under the commandment of Responsible Resource Consumption and Production [SDG12] (Carbon Efficiency). Of course equally applying to water, which we contaminate at rates that even exceed Carbon destruction. Nature permutes about equally much Carbon, as comprised contemporary anthropogenic use of fossil Carbon. Instead of letting Carbon go out of the cycle unused or burning it into the atmosphere as CO₂ plus in the first case most detrimental Methane, it all should preferentially be reserved to anthropogenic chemical use. Therefore Climate Action [SDG13] must not be confused with Clean Energy [SDG7], already defined separately. Climate Action primarily calls to address in analogy to already successfully reduced halogenated hydro carbons the aromatics, Volatile Particles emission or other air pollutants. Because together with water sanity they form the basis for Good Health and Well-being [SDG3] summing up former [MDGs4-6] (reduce Child Mortality; improve Maternal Health; combat HIV/Aids, Malaria and other Deseases).
The intention to set priorities properly by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is currently completely drowned in the public discourse. Singular measures by politically strained Climate Actionism most often generate new, even expensively purchased problems. Particularly the contemporary Reduction of the Climate Issue to just Clean Energy – while idling Back-up capacities remaining unrecorded together with Greenhouse gases from natural degradation of unused terrestrial residues remain unaddressed. Equally as Carbon Efficiency ignoring Decarbonization by electrolysis, especially if causing interregional displacements in local water cycles! Sha Zukang was Carbotopia’s toughest teacher. Maybe that’s why it can step-up 13/17 SDGs as a single measure at no extra cost to any society.