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‘Pathetic’ UN Security Council Says Climate Change Not Our Issue

‘Pathetic’ UN Security Council Says Climate Change Not Our Issue


The United Nations Security Council today declined to accept that climate change was a matter of peace and international security. The New York Times reports that U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice was vociferous about her colleagues lack of action, saying, “This is more than disappointing. It’s pathetic.” This is the first time since 2007 that the Council has considered a statement on climate change. It was brought to debate by Germany, which presides over the Security Council this month.

While the Council declined to accept climate change as part of its purview, the final statement after the debate noted, “concern that possible adverse effects of climate change may, in the long run, aggravate certain existing threats to international peace and security.”

UN Environmental Program head Achim Steiner warned that recent crises, such as the famine in Somalia, show that “our capacity to handle these kinds of events is proving a challenge, particularly if they occur simultaneously and start affecting, for instance, global food markets, regional food security issues, displacing people, creating refugees across borders”. He noted that in 2010, 42 million people were displaced by natural disasters, 90 percent of which were related to weather.

Russia, India and Brazil were among the countries questioning whether the Security Council should become involved with climate change issues, characterizing it as “mission creep” or beyond the purview of the Council.

Marcus Stephen, president of the tiny island nation of Nauru, which is threatened with destruction from rising sea levels, pleaded with the Council to act, saying of climate change, “It is a threat as great as nuclear proliferation or terrorism, and it carries the potential to destabilize governments and ignite conflict. I urge you: Do not bury your heads in the sand. Seize this opportunity to lead.”

In contrast, the U.S. military, not known for its liberal views, has recognized and is actively preparing for the effects of climate change on national security. Back in 2009, former head of Central Command General Anthony Zinni wrote,  “We will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today, and we’ll have to take an economic hit of some kind. Or we will pay the price later in military terms, and that will involve human lives.”

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Photo: Oxfam East Africa via Flickr

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7:27PM PDT on Jul 31, 2011

How can they be so blind?

3:56AM PDT on Jul 31, 2011

"It ain't our job, man!" The UN, if you notice absorbs money like a sponge and gets England and America to do its fighting for it. It is useless!

12:23AM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

. . . If the US had behaved more responsibly as the world's greatest economic power and leading per capita consumer of natural resources during the past 2-3 decades of international climate and resource constraint discussions and negotiations, maybe the Security Council could better do its proper job today.

And what in hell do the Rockefellers and Monsanto and, who the hell knows, the Rothschilds maybe (?) need with the UN when the globalist corporatists so obviously (and I am not being facetious here) already run the US.

Of course, I realize that what Hannah Arendt called "Men in Dark Times" engage in all kinds of scapegoating, psychic numbing, conspiracy and witchcraft fantasies, and other reality-denying ploys to maintain what's loosely called their "sanity." Maybe we could all just sacrifice a virgin or two to all feel better?

12:20AM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

So, where's the "Green Helmets" crowd of yesterday that was absolutely sure that the Security Council was about to use climate change to invade the world, starting with the US, tomorrow. This is more like Security Council with which I'm familiar. Not that there's not enough craziness in some of these responses to make even those recent paranoid ravings seem level-headed.

Precisely which Rockefeller is pulling EU strings with his crazies?

If global warming "always has been and always will be," in what sense can it be called "warming." I mean, compared to what?

Where's the evidence for the claim "the planet itself" accounts for 90% of global pollution? (Not if humans don't burn it for fuel it doesn't.)

Isn't "sovereignty" just a Westerner's name for an African's so-called "tribalism?"

By the way, that part of Africa underwent significant, human-caused desertification during the 1960's - not just 4,000 years ago.

The UN does not "own" any US national parks, and if the GOP has its way, the US won't own them much longer, either.

I can't entirely fault the Security Council for being concerned about mission creep. Would that the US had shared such concerns in recent years.

If the US had behaved more responsibly as the world's greatest economic power and leading per capita consumer of natural resources during the past 2-3 decades of international climate and resource constraint discussions and negotiations, maybe the Security Council could better do it

7:54PM PDT on Jul 24, 2011

That region of Africa has been arid for at least the last 4,000 years; what Somalia's refugees suffer is nothing new for the Horn of Africa. It doesn't make it any more acceptable, but it's the pattern of experience there for most of recorded history. An exacerbating factor is the tribalistic mindset ingrained in the people there. They haven't grown beyond it, and haven't acquired the character required for the citizenship of a visionary country. Tribalism continues to put up walls against other people, restricting the conditions under which neighbors would be willing to help each other. So the al-Shabaabs of Somalia see nothing immoral about extorting valuables from refugees in exchange for passage on the road out of that country.

The upshot is, it's not much of a country. Contrast it with Israel, another naturally arid country, and see the difference that limited water resources can still wring from the desert when they're intelligently applied.

The member states of the Security Council raise a valid point about "mission creep," and it's presumptuous to call it "pathetic" for that reason. Climate change is a nebulous opponent, and its effects are best adapted to. Thus, they're survivable -- more so than the hostility of an al-Shabaab crazy with an AK-47.

8:11AM PDT on Jul 24, 2011

In the future it is predicted that wars will be fought over water rights.

But...I forgot...there is no climate change...AND we are not overpopulated....sorry ....I forgot!

6:58AM PDT on Jul 24, 2011

With the severe drought in Africa and millions of people mostly children dying as a result. Crops dead in the fields due to no rain people are on the move to survive. This is what they mean in the article. People in many countries do not have enough water and will walk to other countries that do. In the future it is predicted that wars will be fought over water rights.

6:45AM PDT on Jul 24, 2011

They should at least try.

10:55PM PDT on Jul 22, 2011

I agree with Marcus Stephen.

6:41PM PDT on Jul 22, 2011

Thanks for the article.

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