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Opinion and Editorial

This is the time to act and get results on climate change

Kevin Watkins
Filed on January 17, 2020 | Last updated on January 17, 2020 at 09.11 pm

This is the decade of no return for the climate emergency. Failure to price carbon out of the world's economies, safeguard carbon sinks, and - critically - protect the world's poor against the effects of global warming that are now irreversible will first slow, and then stall and reverse, gains in poverty reduction, nutrition, and health.

We cannot allow these challenges' daunting scale to foster passive acceptance of the inevitability of the SDGs' failure. Nor should we tolerate the paralyzing complacency that now pervades gatherings like Davos, World Bank-International Monetary Fund meetings, and United Nations summits. There is an alternative.

Nothing would do more to bring the SDG targets within reach than a concerted drive to narrow the social disparities currently acting as a brake on progress. To take one example, closing the gap in national death rates between children from the richest and poorest 20% of the world's population would save more than two million lives between now and 2030. That will require further investment in universal health coverage, more equitable public spending and service provision, and greater emphasis on the diseases that kill the poorest children.

- The author is CEO of Save the Children, UK.

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