Biden’s UN climate envoy equates global inaction with ‘suicide pact’

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US climate envoy John Kerry warned on Tuesday that global warming made the world more dangerous and posed risks to world peace and security.

Failure to deal with the threats of climate change is “moving towards what almost amounts to a mutual suicide pact,” Kerry said at a United Nations Security Council meeting attended by the United Nations. presidents and prime ministers of several countries.

“We bury our heads in the sand at our peril,” he continued. “There is an urgent need to address the climate crisis as the urgent security threat it poses.”

Climate change has been coming to the Security Council for over a decade, but Tuesday’s meeting was notable for its stark contrast to the past four years when the United States, under President Donald J. Trump, have sought to block even general mentions of climate science in the work of the United Nations.

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“Climate disruption is an amplifier and multiplier of crisis,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told the Council.

Mr. Kerry noted the “inexcusable absence” of US climate leadership over the previous four years. As president, Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Agreement, the global agreement intended to limit greenhouse gas emissions. President Biden began the reinstatement process as soon as he was sworn in.

The Security Council has the power to impose sanctions and authorize country peacekeeping missions, which is why countries argue over what it should and should not address.

Mr Kerry’s remarks were part of a diplomatic row that erupted between powerful countries over whether climate change should even be discussed in the global body, which was designed to combat war and the peace.

Russia, India and China – all of which are among the world’s largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions – have argued that climate change can be tackled through other means. New global rifts have started to emerge.

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Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javdekar dismissed the idea of ​​climate change as a driver of conflict. China’s climate envoy Xie Zhenhua called climate change a development issue. Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily A. Nebenzia has been philosophical about rising temperatures. “Are they really the root causes of these conflicts?” He asked.

The session did not lead to anything concrete. But the fact that this happened and that several presidents and prime ministers attended sent the signal that climate change is becoming more and more important among the member states of the United Nations, especially with the United States which load it. “Team Biden’s focus on global warming has changed the structure of incentives in the Council, and I think many states will report the problem this year,” said Richard Gowan, analyst at the International Crisis Group .

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Of the 21 countries where the United Nations is currently deploying peacekeepers, 10 are ranked as the most exposed to climate change, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, an independent research group.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose country is the rotating Security Council president this month, opened the session by saying: “I know there are people in the world who will say these are all kinds. green stuff from a bunch of tree-hugging tofu nibblers and not suitable for international diplomacy and international politics. He added, “I couldn’t disagree more deeply.”

Britain is hosting the next UN climate talks, to be held in Glasgow in November.

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