Keeping the promise

Finding hope on climate action during the hottest years on record

In the relentless march of climate change, the Earth is heating up faster than ever. As the mercury climbs, so too do the stakes for humanity.


Since the 1980s, each decade has been warmer than the previous one. Last year was the hottest year on record, and 2024 could be even hotter.

The first 12-month period to register global average temperatures exceeding 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels was February 2023 - January 2024, due to the combined effects of climate change and El Niño. While this sort of breach is temporary, it should ring alarm bells that we are getting dangerously close to long-term tipping points. In fact, there is an 80 percent likelihood that one of the next five years will temporarily breach the 1.5 threshold again and replace 2023 as the hottest year on record. 


1.5 isn't just a number.

it's a harbinger of profound consequences for our people and planet and a clarion call for greater ambition on climate.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Reports delineate various scenarios based on our actions, each painting a distinct picture of the future. Should we continue on our current trajectory, the consequences will be dire: 


More extreme weather events


Rampant biodiversity loss


Exacerbated health crises


Heightened conflicts over dwindling resources

That said, if we come together and urgently act to cut down emissions at scale, we still have a chance to stabilize at 1.4°C warming by century’s end and ensure a liveable planet for the next generations.

The climate crisis unquestionably poses an existential threat to humankind. But it’s not too late to pull back from the precipice. We can still realize the promise of the Paris Agreement by taking urgent action, including reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by phasing out fossil fuels, protecting and restoring biodiversity and natural ecosystems and increasing resilience.

We already hold the key
to our solutions


There is hope amidst the gloom. We already know what needs to be done to enact change.

The climate crisis can feel overwhelming and scary, but we do have the solutions we need to address this challenge head on, and developing countries around the world are leading the way. What we now need is to boldly scale up these solutions, together.

– Cassie Flynn, Global Director of Climate Change, UNDP


Renewable energy

A swift transition to renewable energy sources will be paramount in reducing GHG emissions and mitigating climate change. Good news! We are on the right track, as renewables provided a record 30 percent of global electricity in 2023, but we need to sustain and enhance our efforts. By investing in solar, wind and other renewables, we can decarbonize our energy systems and pave the way for a better and greener future.  

Solar panels




Rethink consumption

We need to completely rethink our production and consumption patterns, moving towards more sustainable and circular economies. This entails embracing smarter choices such as reducing waste – especially plastics – minimizing resource consumption, and prioritizing products and services with lower environmental footprints.

Plastic waste



Make peace with nature

Nature-based solutions, exemplified by initiatives such as UNDP’s Equator Prize, offer promising avenues for combating climate change while promoting biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. 

Mangrove planting



According to climate models, without significant action, the world is headed for 2.5 to 2.9°C temperature rise above pre-industrial levels this century, well above the safety limits established by scientists. Demand for cooling is already increasing rapidly. People are going to have to find smart, energy-efficient and sustainable cooling solutions to face extreme heat conditions. 

Even if we manage to peak global greenhouse gas emissions before 2025, the story does not end there.

Past and present emissions will continue to cause warming for centuries or even millennia, bringing further long-term changes in the climate system. That's why we need to learn to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

A multifaceted approach is essential. We must prioritize climate adaptation strategies such as investing in resilient infrastructure, implementing early warning systems, and bolstering community resilience to withstand climate shocks. Embracing agri-ecology practices and sustainable forest management, along with innovative water solutions focusing on storage and demand management, will further contribute to building climate resilience.

Ensuring climate justice must underpin all climate action efforts, addressing the disproportionate impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities that have done the least to contribute to the crisis, and promoting equity and inclusion. 

Sustainable agricultural practices can help in both mitigating climate change and adapting to its impacts.

Photo: UNDP Mali/Imen Meliane

Climate Promise 2025


Working hand in hand with nations around the globe, UNDP is spearheading efforts to translate intentions into actions. At the heart of this endeavour are nationally determined contributions (NDCs), ambitious national climate pledges set by countries to reduce GHG emissions and increase climate resilience. Through its Climate Promise, UNDP is working with over 120 countries and territories to enhance and implement their commitments and chart a course towards sustainability.

But the task ahead is monumental, and the next two years are going to be crucial. 

That is why UNDP launched Climate Promise 2025 to support developing countries to align the third generation of NDCs to the 1.5°C goal and to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the lead up to the UN Climate Change Conference, COP30, set to take place in 2025 in Brazil. With a strong focus on climate finance through integrated national financing frameworks (INFFs), Climate Promise 2025 draws on the expertise of UNDP’s Climate Hub, which delivers the UN system’s largest portfolio of support on climate action.

When 75,000 people from 77 countries around the world were asked how climate change is impacting their lives and what action they want to see from their leaders, the results were clear. The Peoples’ Climate Vote 2024 found that four out of five people want their countries to take stronger climate action, and a large majority are in favour of quickly moving away from fossil fuels and supporting those who’ve been harmed the most by climate change impacts. 

No nation can tackle climate change alone; it's a global challenge that demands a global response. The choices we make today will reverberate for generations to come. Will we succumb to inertia and apathy, consigning ourselves to a dystopian future? We believe the answer lies not in despair, but in action. We already have the solutions. We must embrace them with urgency and determination.

The world cannot afford delays, indecision or half measures.

– António Guterres, UN Secretary-General

Photo credits

We already hold the key to our solutions

UNDP Climate Promise; Unsplash/APPA; Unsplash/Naja Bertolt Jensen; Wetlands International; Project Regeneration

Climate Promise 2025

United Nations