"Over the years, the United Nations, Governments and the people of the world have come to recognize climate change as a deadly peril to our ecosystems and, by that, to our security and, indeed, our survival. We may in many cases in life have a Plan B – but we simply have no Planet B.” - Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, speaking at the 52nd Munich Security Conference
‘No challenge poses a greater threat to our future and future generations than a change in climate’. Thus spoke President Obama, and most Western leaders have done likewise. Yet as the security policy community descends on Munich for its annual conference, climate change is likely to be a sideshow, again, despite the global attention that climate change received in the context of December’s conference in Paris.
In dealing with climate change we are facing the challenge of a transformation to sustainability (WBGU 2011). What needs to be done? To combat climate change, we need to make significant greenhouse gas savings. But is this the only goal we should set ourselves? No, the transformation goes deeper than this: It confronts us with the question of how we want to live -- now and in the future.
Now that the much-awaited Paris (COP-21) Summit has come to an end with a broad consensus on the post-2020 – termed a historic breakthrough – the next steps towards planning and implementation are to be taken in an incremental fashion. Amidst fears that talks would be derailed, due to differences between developed and developing nations, the least developed and island nations played a crucial role in pressing hard for their demands, ensuring that an agreement was reached.
The new global pact to fight climate change has the potential to be a global solidarity contract for the 21st century. This will occur if the demands to promote decarbonisation and strengthening of resilience are pursued equally, immediately and systematically during implementation.
The most important and anticipated climate change conference in years is finally underway. In some ways, as Bill McKibben and Andrew Revkin have pointed out, its success is relatively assured thanks to the number of major commitments countries have already made. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see here.
Climate foreign policy needs to shift its focus towards catalyzing the climate economy, key to raising ambitions beyond Paris. Here is how and why.
Paris 2015: as climate advocate, this meant and means for me the upcoming World Climate Conference in December. And this hasn’t changed, even as a result of the horrific terror attacks last Friday in Paris. On the contrary, the outcomes of the approaching conference can make a major contribution to stomping out the breeding grounds for these kinds of attacks.
Acknowledging that climate change is a global threat to security in the 21st century, the Dutch government has convened an international conference on Planetary Security on 2-3 November 2015 in the Hague. The aim of the conference was to facilitate strategic exchange on existing foreign policy and security architecture.
In a commanding speech at Old Dominion University this week, Secretary Kerry announced a dramatic step toward integrating climate and security into U.S. foreign policy.