Russia Vetoes UN Resolution on Climate Change Security Threat

Russia on Monday vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution designating climate change a security threat.

”The Russian Federation voted against the draft UN Security Council resolution on climate and security submitted by Ireland and Niger,” a statement from the Russian Federation Mission said. ”The penholders of the document were pushing it through without readiness to discuss the root causes of challenges that vulnerable countries face.”

According to The Associated Press, the resolution sought to incorporate the ”security implications” of climate change in managing conflicts and peacekeeping operations, as well as asking the U.N. secretary-general to assess climate-related security risks a main part of conflict resolution.

The resolution’s failure ends a yearlong effort to make climate change a larger factor in the Security Council’s deliberations regarding global issues, according to the report.

”By vetoing this resolution, Russia has stopped the world’s most important body for maintaining international peace and security from taking a small, practical, and necessary step to combat the impacts of climate change,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said after the vote. ”The climate crisis is a security crisis — one of the most pressing of our time. It is a threat to every person, in every nation, on every continent.”

In voting the resolution down, the Russian Federation said that the document was a ”one-dimensional” approach to conflicts and threats to international peace by looking at them only through a climate change ”lens” that would end up hurting poorer countries.

”It was a generic proposal to establish this automatic link while neglecting all other aspects of situations in countries in conflict or countries lagging behind in their socio-economic development,” the federation’s statement said. ”We have to acknowledge that this course of action is not about caring for countries or for the lives of people that are faced with problems of climate change.”

In October, President Joe Biden’s administration lobbied for climate change to be a bigger priority at home and abroad.

In an Oct. 21 statement, the administration said climate change was a ”core element” of home security and foreign policy.

”The climate crisis is reshaping our physical world, with the Earth’s climate changing faster than at any point in modern history and extreme weather events becoming more frequent and severe,” the White House statement said at the time.

”In just 2021, wildfires raged across the western United States, throughout the Mediterranean region, and eastern Russia; Europe, China, and India experienced extreme flooding, and the world has suffered unprecedented levels of drought.”

Thomas-Greenfield said that while the veto was disappointing, most member nations supported the measure, and the vote would not stop the push for a greener future.

”The clear majority of UN Member states endorsed Security Council action on this issue. With more than 113 countries as co-sponsors of this resolution, it signals the overwhelming support within the UN membership,” she said. ”Russia may have blocked this one resolution. But our global movement cannot be stopped. The momentum will only build from here.”

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