The impact of climate change have been felt and experienced by many countries for many years. Today, greenhouse gas (GHG) is 50% higher than the levels in 1990. Global warming has caused climate change for a long time, and these irreversible changes threaten all countries if the countries around the world do not act. Economic losses caused by natural events due to this climate change are at the level of hundreds of billions of dollars. The nations aim to prevent permanent changes to be experienced in the climate system and to prevent economic losses due to this change. In this direction, the United Nations funds developing countries under SDG-13 to adapt to climate change and prepare low-carbon development plans (United Nations 2021a). The work carried out to support sensitive areas within the scope of Goal 13 also helps to achieve other goals. It is aimed to keep the global temperature change below 1.5° with the work to be carried out within the framework of this purpose. In addition, the carbon dioxide emission rate in 2030 should be reduced by 45% compared to 2010, and net-zero is targeted for 2050 (United Nations 2021a).

Climate change manifests itself in every way nature acts. In the middle of 2021, Germany suffered one of the most fatal and devastating natural disasters in its history by receiving record rainfalls in 100, 500 and even 1000 years in some regions (“European Floods Are Latest Sign of a Global Warming Crisis” 2021). Moreover, wildfires worldwide drew attention in 2021, especially in Siberia, Mediterranean countries and Canada. Despite the cold climate of the northern regions of Russia, Yakutia hit 39 °C and experienced the driest weather since 1888 and suffered record wildfires, causing massive amounts of smoke and abnormal temperature rise (Magnay 2021). Human losses, property damages, internal displacements, outages of healthy water and electricity, deforestation and high carbon releases indicate that humanity is still not ready to cope with frequent and abnormal climate-related disasters (Die Welt 2021). By 2030, the UN plans to cope with wild disasters in every country adaptively. Deaths, injuries, internal replacements or homelessness due to disasters should be reduced as much as possible (United Nations 2021b).

To achieve future goals of reducing climate change, national governments and international institutions need to establish new policies and plans with climate change measures included. Indicators of this targeted focus on decarbonisation strategies and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions (SDSN 2021). Contributor countries of the Paris Agreement on climate change prepared their nationally determined contributions (NDCs), which declare each country’s plan on reducing GHG emissions and climate change impacts. In addition to NDCs, volunteer countries have begun to adopt new plans for protecting from the natural disasters caused by climate change, such as floods or cyclones (United Nations 2021c). However, some countries’ declared targets are insufficient, meaning that they can be satisfied without the adoption of new policies. Also, another group of countries adopted policies that cannot satisfy the insufficient targets. This situation complicates the progress for the 2030 and 2050 targets. Therefore, the policies of the countries that make rapid progress should be imitated (Doni et al. 2020). Furthermore, policies must optimise benefits to different SDGs. For example, a regulation that bans fertiliser use totally to help climate action would decrease yields, and thus, it could increase poverty and hunger and contradict SDG 1 (no poverty) and SDG 2 (zero hunger). However, not having a policy that regulates fertiliser use could cause the overuse of fertilisers and damage the climate action (Campbell et al. 2018). Hence, the adoption of optimised policies is required to achieve the future targets of SDG 13. Also, revision of current policies and plans may be needed to strengthen the tools of governments against climate change. Figure 15.1 compiles the targets of SDG-13.

Fig. 15.1
figure 1

Targets of SDG-13.(UNDP 2021)

Climate change research in the built environment and related disciplines of transportation and utilities is still in its early stages. To plan effectively for the future, decision-makers require a significantly wider knowledge base. To accomplish this, academics and decision-makers must collaborate to generate this knowledge, which can then be used to develop effective climate change plans (EPSRC 2003). Some approaches, knowledge and skills are required to counteract climate change.

The course of adaptation necessitates adaptive management considering the evolving impacts of climate, the normative nature of risk tolerance and the tipping points between them (European Commission 2012; Wise et al. 2014). As emphasised by the UN, the importance of adaptation can be observed in the number of countries that have national adaptation plans and the financing of such plans. Recent reports identified six least developed countries that have already implemented a national adaptation plan, while a grand majority of developing countries are prioritising and implementing one. Furthermore, the mean annual finance for climate has been reported to be $48.7 billion between 2017 and 2018, which is an increase of 10% from 2015 to 2016. Most notably, the target of financial support for climate has started to shift from mitigation action to adaptation as more and more countries show increased support for adaptation (United Nations 2021c). The importance of creating reliable frameworks as measures of adaptive capacity has been emphasised both by researchers and policymakers (Solomon et al. 2007). However, there is no template for what this should contain due to adaptation’s context-specific, process-based nature. Knowing how to adapt is deemed necessary to measure adaptive capacity, as it is highly related to further deciding factors (Klein 2014). Learning is becoming more important in providing insights into what constitutes effective adaptation, which we define as improvements that minimise susceptibility to current and future climate change.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the international system for addressing climate change. The convention has been ratified by a large number of developing as well as developed countries such as the USA. The convention aims to “Prevent dangerous human interference in the climate system.” In spite of the high amount of support for the convention worldwide, obtaining this goal is contentious (UNFCCC 2021).

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) recognises the influence of biological systems in determining when climate change should be ceased. Three fields of influence against which the conventional criteria of “dangerous interference” are tested are agricultural production, sustainable development and environmental response. Climate change must be ceased in a period that allows ecosystems to “adapt naturally, does not prevent sustainable development, as well as maintains agricultural productivity”, according to the convention (UNFCCC 2021). In the light of the fact that sustainable development keeps productivity in agriculture and electricity, developed, least developed and developing island states should promote mechanisms to raise capacity for planning and management while incorporating women, youth and localised organisations and communities.

In the context of essential reductions by industrialised nations, the EU is committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 80–95% below 1990 levels by 2050. Several goals are determined for decarbonisation by 2050. In the short-medium term, conventional fossil fuels such as coal and oil are planned to be replaced by low-emission fuels such as natural gas and hydrogen. Nuclear power is also a low-emission power technology and has a huge place in the long-term plans of the EU. Renewable energy sources are primarily preferred in diversified energy supply technologies. With all these energy supply plans, obtaining high-energy efficiency in the end-user area is also a crucial aim. Finally, carbon capturing systems are proposed in the long term to decrease the release of inevitably produced carbon gases into the atmosphere (European Commission 2012).

The time horizon in WEO-2019 is 2050, rather than 2040, as in previous editions, to reflect announcements by various governments to attain carbon neutrality by 2050 and to model the possibility for new technologies (such as hydrogen and renewable gases) to be deployed at scale. As a result of continued CO2 emissions and advances in climate research, the interpretation of the climatic target included in the sustainable development scenario varies with time (IEA 2020).

Green Recovery’s progress in biodiversity conservation, responsible production and climate action will be stronger by 2100 (90%, 94% and 84%, respectively) with a longer timescale and even more ambitious aims, with 12 out of 13 targets on track or improving (IEA 2020; Moallemi et al. 2020). The fossil-fuelled development path achieves the fastest improvements in socioeconomic indices, such as gross world product (GWP) per capita, by 2100 while fulfilling moderate (and occasionally even aggressive) aims. However, in fossil-fuelled development, human and economic development leads to a significant increase in the share of fossil fuels in the energy supply, driven by rising energy demand from high-energy-intensity industries and services. In almost all 10,000 realisations of the fossil-fuelled development route, reliance on fossil fuels results in high climate consequences from energy-related CO2 emissions by 2100 (Moallemi et al. 2020).

In 2009, the World Energy Outlook published the 450 Scenario, a detailed energy transition scenario. The scenario was named after the CO2 concentration of 450 parts per million (ppm), which was thought to be consistent with a 50% chance of keeping average global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius at the time (assuming that net-zero emissions were reached in 2100) (IEA 2020). More than half of the population in the region’s major centres, where 1.2 billion new residents are predicted by 2050, live in low-lying coastal areas. As a result, more than 742 million urban dwellers are today exposed to several dangers caused by climate-related disasters, which pose a threat to infrastructure and communities (UNESCAP 2019).

Through their internal operations and supply chains, businesses are responsible for a large percentage of GHG emissions and resource use. Furthermore, items are frequently incorrectly disposed of and seldom enter a new life for future use due to a lack of end-of-use (EOU) planning. This contributes to global waste, pollution and a depletion of fresh material supply. As a result, companies play a critical role in collaborating with governments to limit global warming below 1.5 °C and develop resilience to present and future climate change consequences. Top businesses are taking this responsibility seriously today, offering innovative solutions to cut emissions, minimise effects across the value chain, enhance climate resilience and raise climate awareness. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including the publication of a sustainability action plan, the procurement of low-carbon materials, the investment in on-site renewable energy, the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs), the construction of net-zero factories and the return of products at the end of their useful lives (Bureau 2021).

Many of the adjustments required to establish a carbon-free world would have an initial cost on various economic sectors. When zero-carbon economy infrastructure is developed, and legislative incentives are implemented, high-carbon businesses are expected to lose market share throughout the transition. With the adoption of climate policies, a study by Malerba and Wiebe suggests that Germany will experience the highest job increase in the EU. However, some other countries worldwide, such as Japan and the USA, will have a higher increase of available jobs. The study also concluded that there is no correlation between poverty rates and proportional job increases. A country with a high portion of its population living in poverty may witness a high proportional job increase, while another country with similar population characteristics experiences a low proportional job increase. For example, Brazil experiences a high increase of 0.8%, and India experiences a low increase of 0.3% (Malerba and Wiebe 2021). Another study found that if the measures to restrict global warming to 2 °C become in charge, available jobs will increase 0.3% more compared to current measures (Montt et al. 2018). This study also found that Bulgaria, Indonesia and Taiwan will experience the highest proportional job increases of 0.9%. The study suggests that there will be 4.9 million new jobs created in China, one million in the USA and 1.3 million in India with the climate action measures. Since its economy relies mostly on fossil fuels and the industries that are expected to grow under climate action measures are not developed, the Middle East may experience job losses, unlike the rest of the world (Montt et al. 2018).

To reduce emissions, expenditure that belongs to individuals and the public must change. The government must develop new regulations that encourage individuals to spend their money in new ways, like using decarbonised heating for homes and using alternative modes of transportation such as electric automobiles and motorcycles. Simultaneously, changes in government expenditure and new fiscal incentives are required to spur the development of breakthrough zero-carbon technologies, improve building energy efficiency, modify farming methods and create sustainable energy grids.

Carbon emissions that originate from individuals or companies can be exposed to economic sanctions such as emission trading systems as well as carbon taxes. Even though this system can provide equal pay, low-incomers can be affected disproportionately by these measures (Abdallah et al. 2011). Favourably, this problem may be addressed by rebate programmes that return at least part of the collected earnings to lower-income individuals. Calculations of the precise future costs of adaptation generate a wide range of outcomes, as they are highly dependent on the level of future greenhouse gas emissions, how the climate system will respond to them in various locations and if they are effective. As a result, estimating the economic costs and benefits of adaptation is extremely challenging. However, adapting without attempts to mitigate climate change would be prohibitively expensive (Imperial College 2021).

According to the World Bank, developing countries can face economic damages of approximately 75–100 billion dollars per year because of the 2 °C warming until 2050. However, it is considered that these values are pretty low. In the meantime, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates this loss can approach 280–500 billion dollars each year until 2050. If global warming continues to rise beyond this point, the costs of adapting will skyrocket (Fankhauser 2019; Olhoff et al. 2015; World Bank 2010).

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), reducing global warming to 2 °C would lower yearly per capita global consumption growth by 0.06 percentage points relative to growth in a hypothetical future without climate change (Onencan et al. 2016). The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), on the other hand, claims that if climate change is taken into consideration in reform and budgetary plans, this consideration will create a 1% and 2.8% increment to GDP in G20 nations for 2021 and 2050, respectively (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2017).

Investing in adaptation is critical for limiting the adverse effects of climate change on human society. Every efficient policy for combating climate change, on the other hand, must decrease emissions to prevent future warming while also adapting to the unavoidable effects of climate change. According to the Global Commission on Adaptation, climate change will affect people despite the most effective strategies. As a result, reducing emissions is “the best form of adaptation” (Global Commission on Adaptation 2019).

15.1 Companies and Use Cases

Table 15.1 presents the business models of 52 companies and use cases that employ emerging technologies and create value in SDG-13. We should highlight that one use case can be related to more than one SDG and it can make use of multiple emerging technologies. In the left column, we present the company name, the origin country, related SDGs and emerging technologies that are included. The companies and use cases are listed alphabetically.1Footnote 1

Table 15.1 Companies and use cases in SDG-13