Dec 13, 2021 - World

Russia blocks UN effort to treat climate as security threat

Vassily Nebenzia

Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s UN ambassador. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Russia on Monday blocked a UN Security Council draft resolution that moved to define climate change as a threat to international peace, AP reports.

Why it matters: The proposal, co-sponsored by Ireland and Niger, would have called for factoring information on climate-related security implications into plans "regarding conflicts, peacekeeping efforts and political decisions," per AP.

  • While 12 of the 15-member council voted in favor of the measure, veto-wielding Russia's negative vote blocked the measure.
  • American Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield criticized Russia's move to stop the measure, saying the country "has let the world down, and there is no justification for taking this action."

The backdrop: Earlier this year, the Biden administration released a sweeping set of assessments on climate change's threat to national security and its role in fueling migration.

  • The assessments outlined several main risks to U.S. national security interests through 2040, including geopolitical tension as countries address climate change and its effects.
  • The security council has discussed climate-related security implications since 2007, according to AP, and the General Assembly declared itself "deeply concerned" about the issue in a 2009 resolution.

What they're saying: "The proposed document was coercing the Council to take a one-dimensional approach to conflicts and threats to international peace and security," Russia's UN Mission said in a statement.

  • "It was a generic proposal to establish this automatic link while neglecting all other aspects of situations in countries in conflict or countries lagging behind in their socio-economic development."
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