2015 is marked by two important outcomes of international negotiations with implications for future development: the agreement on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris climate agreement. Both imply ambitious (long term) targets which only can be met with a fundamental restructuring of economic and social systems. In this context monitoring of progress towards achievement of goals is essential and needs thorough measurement systems.
The complexity calls for indicator systems instead of single indicators. It seems appropriate to explore the interfaces between the SDGs and monitoring requirements for the Paris climate agreement. Monitoring and review of the UN SDGs will be based on a set of global indicators complemented by indicators at the national and regional level to be developed by the countries and reflecting their particular circumstances (UN 2015). This is especially true in the area of goals "Affordable and Clean Energy" and "Climate Action". In order to reach the ambitious GHG emission reduction targets required to limit climate change to well below 2°C – or even 1.5°C – above pre-industrial levels as stated in the Paris Climate Agreement a fundamental decarbonisation of our societies is inevitable. A substantial contribution to reducing emissions needs to come from the energy system since energy-related emissions account for the largest share in total GHG emissions, i.e. for 67% of Austrian GHG emissions and for 78% of EU GHG emissions respectively.
A number of research questions arise on the implementation of the climate agreement and the UN SDGs. This is also true with respect to the development of adequate measurement and monitoring systems.