UN Security Council hears of climate threat, does nothing
Russia warns against any move to recognize warming as a threat to global security.
BY KARL MATHIESEN February 23, 2021 9:13 pm
When it comes to climate change, bombs don’t work, so the United Nations Security Council prefers words to action.
Tuesday saw the highest profile discussion of climate change in the U.N.’s central body for promoting global peace. But Russia, which holds a veto as a permanent member of the Council, warned against any move to recognize warming as a threat to global security.
Moscow’s stance left the Security Council’s U.K. presidency stabbing at a broken panic button.
“It is absolutely clear that climate change is a threat to our collective security and the security of our nations,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who presided over the meeting.
Not the first such fight, but different actors this time.
In 2020, the U.S. under then President Donald Trump blocked a German effort to draft a sweeping Security Council resolution naming climate change as a threat to global security. Last week, the U.S. officially rejoined the Paris Agreement and on Monday, climate envoy John Kerry said “the climate crisis is indisputably a Security Council issue.”
The Russians were firm.
“The climate threat is so massive, so multifaceted,” said Kerry, “we bury our heads in the sand at our own peril.”
But Russia’s representative to the U.N. Vasily Nebenzya said the Council should not take on the work of other U.N. agencies that specialize in climate, “where this is dealt with by professionals.”
India was even more forceful.
More aggressive pushback came from India’s Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar. He said there was no “accepted methodology” to show climate change was a cause of conflicts.