The Multilateralist

Security Council mute on climate change

The UN Security Council failed today to agree on even a nonbinding resolution on climate change. After the effort failed, U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice called the Council’s inability to agree "pathetic." This week’s discussions are just the latest attempt to treat climate change as a security problem deserving of Council attention.  Back ...

The UN Security Council failed today to agree on even a nonbinding resolution on climate change. After the effort failed, U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice called the Council’s inability to agree "pathetic." This week’s discussions are just the latest attempt to treat climate change as a security problem deserving of Council attention.  Back in 2007, the British pushed for the first-ever Council debate on climate change, but there has been persistent opposition to the body acting on the subject. Opposition to a Council role comes from both within and outside the body. China and Russia aren’t keen to see any action on the subject, and plenty of smaller states see Council involvement as encroachment on the traditional prerogatives of other UN bodies. China, which periodically assumes the role of defender of the General Assembly’s prerogatives, apparently made that argument yesterday.  For a good breakdown of the Council dynamics during the debate, see Matthew Russell Lee’s account here.

Update: Late in the day, the Council agreed to a watered down presidential statement (a weak form of Council action) that mostly noted steps taken by other UN bodies on climate change. The full text is here.

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