Russia Says "No" to UN Resolution Declaring Climate Change a Risk to International Security
Russia shot down a UN Security Council resolution proposing to treat climate change as a risk to international peace and security. Ireland and Niger led the charge, requesting that the UN secretary-general make climate-related security risks central to conflict prevention. Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia stated the resolution would make "a scientific and economic issue into a politicized question."
Why This Matters
There is plenty of evidence linking climate change to geopolitical instability and increased conflict. Extreme weather has destroyed military bases and could displace 216 million people by 2050. Meanwhile, droughts and blistering heat waves have forced countries to compete for resources, ratcheting up tension between them.
A Missed Opportunity
Climate security risks have already affected the world. The Department of Defense announced earlier this year that "increasing temperatures; changing precipitation patterns; and more frequent, intense, and unpredictable extreme weather conditions caused by climate change are exacerbating existing risks" for the US.
When it comes to climate, Vladimir Putin has a lot at stake and a lot to lose. His gas exports are a source of geopolitical sway in Europe and climate change poses a major threat to Russia. But this vetoed UN proposal implies that Russia, with its economy dominated by fossil fuels, is not willing to cooperate with other countries on the issue.
"Today was an opportunity for the council to recognize, for the first time, the reality of the world that we are living in and that climate change is increasing insecurity and instability," Irish Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason said. "Instead, we have missed the opportunity for action, and we look away from the realities of the world we are living in."
Now This: Thawing Permafrost Puts Siberian Land at Risk, October 19, 2021.
ABC: Siberia's rapidly melting permafrost is changing the landscape, October 25, 2021.
The Telegraph: 2021 - A year of extreme weather, November 4, 2021.
The Economist: See what three degrees of global warming looks like, October 30, 2021.