UN Security Council should take lead on climate change - WWF

Sunday, May 13, 2007

WWF expects the first ever discussions of climate change in the UN Security Council to give clear direction to UN agencies as to how to respond to this growing threat to human development.

At the request of the UK chairman, the UN Security Council will hold an unprecedented debate on climate change and its impacts on security in its meeting of Tuesday 17 April 2007.

“If the world as a whole does not act on the threat of climate change we face a future of mass migrations away from environmental disaster areas and towards areas capable of better adaptation to climate change,” says Hans Verolme, Director of WWF’s Climate Change Programme. “Some of these disasters will be sudden and some will take time to become apparent, but health, security and economic and social development are at stake.”

Climate change and its impacts pose direct and indirect threats. Direct threats such as floods, drought and famine often require development and disaster relief action by UN agencies. Indirect threats such as environmental refugees and violence over resources need involvement of refugee, civil protection and military actors. UN agencies are pivotal to develop the necessary policy responses in the regions concerned.

The UN Security Council must also take the lead in resolving the conflict between fossil fuel based notions of energy security and climate insecurity.

“We will increasingly see the military deployed to deal with environmental conflict at greater and greater cost,” says Verolme. “But if the Security Council act quickly, much of the worst impacts could be avoided.”

The UN must be aware that tackling energy security issues need to be reconciled with climate security. An increased use of coal might be promoted as a means to securing energy supplies but this is clearly at odds with climate security.

"There is a strong risk that governments will fail to make the connection between climate and energy security and just aim at a quick - and dirty - fix for energy supply, with disastrous consequences for the future of the planet," adds Verolme. "The Security Council should initiate the development of a global cooperative energy and climate strategy. Countries need to moves away from competition for scarce energy resources towards a clean low-carbon development of all countries."


Source: WWF