Climate change: A security (Council) issue?

The impact of climate change on small islands was no less threatening than the dangers guns posed to large nations.” Robert G. Aisi (Papua New Guinea delegate before the UN Security Council) “The world has moved from the cold war to the 'warming war', in which chimney stacks and exhaust pipes are the weapons, and it is a chemical war of immense proportions.” Afelee F. Pita (Tuvalu delegate before the UN Security Council) On 17 April 2007, the United Nations Security Council held a groundbreaking open debate at the ministerial level on the relationship between energy, security, and climate. As such, the meeting emphasised the need to reflect on the linkages between climate change and international security. This article explains how the topic reached the UN Security Council, highlighting the division in the international community between those who believe that climate change is a security challenge and that it is, therefore, a legitimate issue to bring before the UN Security Council, and those who believe that climate change is rather a matter of sustainable development which should be dealt with by other UN bodies.

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