Is climate change a global security threat?
We ask if there are grounds for the UN’s concern that climate change may pose a threat to international peace.
The UN Security Council has expressed concern that climate change may aggravate threats to international peace and security after what diplomats described as intense negotiations between Germany and Russia, which initially opposed any council action.
Small island states, which could disappear beneath rising seas, are pushing the Security Council to intervene to combat the threat to their existence. Meanwhile there has been talk of a new environmental peacekeeping force – the green helmets – which could step into conflicts caused by shrinking resources.
The final statement expressed “concern that possible adverse effects of climate change may, in the long run, aggravate certain existing threats to international peace and security”.
The Security Council had failed to agree on whether climate change was an issue of world peace in 2007, when Britain brought up the matter. This is one of the first debates that will be occurring within that forum, which raises the whole issue of the security implications around climate change and the potential security implications for the world.
Is it a real opportunity to achieve significant results or an attempt to divert attention away from the root causes of the problem and from the countries that cause global warming and to distribute the burden evenly on all nations?
Inside Story, with presenter Jane Dutton, discusses with guests: Sabrina Chesterman, a climate change consultant based in South Africa; Tobias Seakin, a senior research fellow and the director of National Security and Resilience; and Cleo Paskal, an associate fellow with the Energy, Environment and Development Programme.
This episode of Inside Story aired from Thursday, July 21, 2011.