Several international leaders, led by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, warned on Tuesday at the UN Security Council about the urgency of the global climate crisis and the need to take action on it. Countries will discuss new ways to reduce emissions at the COP26 summit, to be held next November in Glasgow, Scotland.
It was the famous British naturalist, David Attenborough, who opened the UN Security Council session on Tuesday, February 23. And, like many other times, he took the opportunity to warn that climate change is the greatest challenge facing modern human beings.
“I do not envy you the responsibility this places on all of you,” the wildlife announcer said, addressing world leaders during the virtual meeting.
In fact, the urgency of the climate crisis generated consensus among most of the leaders who are part of the UN Security Council, who on Tuesday underlined the implications of climate change for international peace.
“It is absolutely clear that climate change is a threat to our collective security and the security of our nations,” said Johnson, the first British leader to preside over a debate at the United Nations Security Council in nearly three decades.
A climate crisis that can turn into a security crisis
The new US envoy for the climate, John Kerry, recalled that the Pentagon has for years described the climate as a “threat multiplier” and defended that “it is time to start treating the climate crisis as the security crisis that it is.” .
“It is literally our last and best hope to get back on track and get it right,” Kerry said during her speech.
The United States, which has returned to the Paris Agreement on climate and multilateralism in the hands of the recently launched Joe Biden Administration, stressed that there is no doubt about the link between climate and conflict and considered that it is the type of challenge for the that the United Nations was created.
Point with which the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, agreed. “The link between climate and security, although complex, is undeniable,” he remarked. Along these lines, he recalled that the countries most affected by conflicts in the world are also the most vulnerable to climate change, such as the regions ravaged by jihadist terrorism.
Macron also opted to nominate “one or a special envoy for climate security”, as did Germany.
For his part, the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, took the opportunity to pressure countries, companies and financial institutions to make ambitious commitments to reduce global emissions. China and the United States are the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters.
The climate emergency not only damages the environment; it weakens our political, economic & social systems.
We need to protect countries & communities and address the specific risks the climate crisis poses to international peace & security. pic.twitter.com/mCPykgiHDH
– António Guterres (@antonioguterres) February 23, 2021
“We still have a long way to go, and we hope that the major issuers will set an example in the coming months,” Guterres told the council.
A divided front on the climate crisis
Although the United States has changed positions with Joe Biden at the forefront of the nation, it appears that Russia and China have not, with Moscow in open opposition.
Both nations questioned whether the Security Council was the right place to discuss the environmental issue.
“We agree that climate change and environmental issues can exacerbate conflicts. But are they really the main cause of these conflicts? There are serious doubts about it,” said Russian ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia.
In a more nuanced way, China declared that “sustainable development was the key to solving all problems and eliminating the cause of conflicts.”
With the world struggling to reduce the emissions that are warming the planet fast enough to avoid catastrophic warming, the United Nations will hold a climate summit (COP26) in November in Glasgow, Scotland, where new ways to curb climate change will be sought. .
With EFE, AFP and Reuters