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Why India, Russia blocked move to take climate change to UNSC?

  • IAS NEXT, Lucknow
  • 17, Dec 2021
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Reference News:

India and Russia have blocked a proposal that would have allowed the UN Security Council to deliberate on climate-related issues.

What’s the issue?

The draft resolution, piloted by Ireland and Niger, sought to create a formal space in the Security Council for discussions on climate change and its implications on international security.

  • It also asked that the UN Secretary-General provide periodic reports on how risks from climate change can be addressed to prevent conflicts.

What has India said?

India is second to none when it comes to climate action and climate justice. But UNSC is not the place to discuss either issue. In fact, an attempt to do so appears to be motivated by a desire to evade responsibility in the appropriate forum and divert the world’s attention from an unwillingness to deliver where it counts.

Concerns over the proposal:

  • Billing climate change as a threat to international security diverts the council’s attention from genuine, deep-rooted reasons of conflict in the countries on the Council’s agenda.
  • Securitising climate change would be largely convenient to countries that were actively helping engender conflicts or waged military activities in diversion from the Security Council’s mandate or simply don’t want to provide the necessary help to developing countries.
  • Action taken as part of the resolution can potentially range from sanctions on fossil-rich countries to UN military intervention in domestic conflicts perceived to have been caused by climate change.

What next?

The UN already has a specialized agency, the UNFCCC, for discussing all matters related to climate change.

  • The parties to the UNFCCC — over 190 countries — meet several times every year, including at a two-week year-ending conference like the one at Glasgow, to work on a global approach to combat climate change.
  • It is this process that has given rise to the Paris Agreement, and its predecessor the Kyoto Protocol, the international instrument that is designed to respond to the climate change crisis.