U.N. Security Council To Debate Climate Change
UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. Security Council will debate climate change for the first time on April 17, the result of a British campaign to force it onto the agenda of a body that deals with matters of war and peace.
"The traditional triggers of conflict are likely to be exacerbated by the effects of climate change," Britain's U.N. ambassador Emyr Jones Parry told a news conference Wednesday at which he outlined Security Council business for April, when Britain holds the rotating presidency.
Britain considers the topic so important to global security that Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett will preside over the debate.
Countries on the 15-member Security Council normally have their ambassadors take part in debates but reserve the right to have foreign ministers or heads of state or government address the council on issues of greater importance.
Britain invited other countries to send foreign ministers as well, Jones Parry said.
In March Britain announced its intention to bring climate change to the Security Council, but it had to be agreed by the council's 15 members including the five permanent members who have veto authority.
Permanent members China and Russia expressed some opposition to the holding the debate, diplomatic sources from two countries said. Meanwhile, the United States, which has declined to adhere to the Kyoto Protocol, had no opposition.
Behind Prime Minister Tony Blair and Beckett, a former secretary of state for environment, Britain has taken a leading role in urgent action against global warming in other international forums such as the European Union, which last month agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 20 percent by 2020.
Anticipating that some U.N. member states will argue that climate change should remain a matter for the General Assembly or agencies dealing with environment, Britain circulated a so-called concept paper arguing that climate change could provoke new wars, change borders, disrupt energy supplies and force mass migration.
It outlines six areas where climate change could affect global security: border disputes, migration, energy supplies, other resource shortages, societal stress and humanitarian crises.
Melting ice and rising sea levels could alter the world's physical landmass, leading to potential changes in political or maritime borders, and mass migration could also result, with some estimates that up to 200 million people could be displaced by the middle of the century, the paper says.