The council met in New York to discuss the potential effects of global warming, but according to Bloomberg the two permanent members objected to it being a 'formal session’.
Despite the participation of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this meant the session – planned by Pakistan and the United Kingdom – had few political implications.
China, Russia, India and more than 100 developing countries oppose climate becoming a UNSC issue as the council does not operate under the principles of Common But Differentiated Responsibility, which underpins the UN climate talks.
They are concerned that securitizing the issue would place a greater burden on poorer nations with large greenhouse gas emissions to take action.
The Security Council is mandated to take primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security (Pic: UN Photos)
Small island states vulnerable to sea level rises have pushed for climate to be discussed at this level for over two decades.
Marshall Islands representative Tony deBrum expressed frustration with Russia and China’s stance, explaining that 35 years on from gaining independence from the USA the very existence of his country is now in question.
“Our roads are inundated every 14 days,” he said. “We have to ration water three times a week. People have emergency kits for water. We can no longer use well water because it’s inundated with salt.”
The meeting – the third in UNSC history – was convened by council President Pakistan and permanent member the United Kingdom, which despite domestic criticism over its low carbon strategy appears to be embarking on a new initiative to inject momentum into global efforts to cut emissions.
The UK’s new climate envoy Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti is pushing for climate change to be framed as a global security concern.
“The UK believes that the impacts of a changing climate pose a significant and emerging threat to a country’s national security and prosperity,” a Foreign Office spokesman told RTCC.
“The UK is engaging with our international partners and through international forums to better manage this risk.”
For the complete article, please see Responding to Climate Change.
The European Green Deal has made the environment and climate change the focus of EU action. Indeed, climate change impacts are already increasing the pressure on states and societies; however, it is not yet clear how the EU can engage on climate security and environmental peacemaking. In this light, and in the run-up to the German EU Council Presidency, adelphi and its partners are organising a roundtable series on “Climate, environment, peace: Priorities for EU external action in the decade ahead”.
In January 2020, the German Federal Foreign Office launched Green Central Asia, a regional initiative on climate and security in Central Asia and Afghanistan. The aim of the initiative is to support a dialogue in the region on climate change and associated risks in order to foster regional integration between the six countries involved.
Climate change will shift key coordinates of foreign policy in the coming years and decades. Even now, climate policy is more than just environment policy; it has long since arrived at the centre of foreign policy. The German Foreign Office recently released a report on climate diplomacy recognizing the biggest challenges to security posed by climate change and highlighting fields of action for strengthening international climate diplomacy.
A high-level ministerial conference in Berlin is looking at the impact of climate change on regional security in Central Asia. The aim is to foster stronger regional cooperation, improve the exchange of information and form connections with academia and civil society.