UN / CLIMATE AND SECURITY

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23-Feb-2021 00:05:09
World-renowned natural historian Sir David Attenborough told the Security Council the world is “perilously close to tipping points that once past will send global temperatures spiralling catastrophically higher,” and said, “If we continue on our current path, we will face the collapse of everything that gives us our security." UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / CLIMATE AND SECURITY
TRT: 5:09
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / FRENCH / NATS

DATELINE: 23 FEBRUARY 2021, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UN headquarters exterior

23 FEBRUARY 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2. Multiple screens, participants in virtual meeting
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Sir David Attenborough, broadcaster and natural historian:
“We are today perilously close to tipping points that once past will send global temperatures spiralling catastrophically higher. If we continue on our current path, we will face the collapse of everything that gives us our security."
4. Multiple screens, participants in virtual meeting
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Sir David Attenborough, broadcaster and natural historian:
“Climate change is a threat to global security that can only be dealt with by unparalleled levels of global cooperation. It will compel us to question our economic models and where we place value, invent entirely new industries, recognize the moral responsibility that wealthy nations have to the rest of the world, and put a value on nature that goes far beyond money."
6. Multiple screens, participants in virtual meeting
7. SOUNDBITE (English) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“Unless we protect those most exposed and susceptible to climate-related impacts, we can expect them to become even more marginalized, and their grievances to be reinforced. High levels of inequality can weaken social cohesion and lead to discrimination, scapegoating, rising tensions and unrest, increasing the risk of conflict. Those who are already being left behind will be left even farther behind.”
8. Multiple screens, participants in virtual meeting
9. SOUNDBITE (French) António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations:
“The climate crisis is the multilateral challenge of our time. It is already having an impact on all areas of human activity. Overcoming this crisis requires coordination and cooperation on an unprecedented scale. The commitment of all multilateral bodies, including this Council, can play a decisive role in this endeavour. I urge Council members to use their influence during this pivotal year to ensure the success of COP26, and to mobilize other actors, including the international financial institutions and the private sector, to do their part.”
10. Multiple screens, participants in virtual meeting
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Boris Johnson, Prime Minister, United Kingdom:
"Whether you like it or not, it is a matter of when not if your country and your people will have to deal with the security impacts of climate change. So, let's do what this Council was created to do, and let's show the kind of global leadership that is need to protect the peace, the security, and the stability of our nations, of our regions, and of our world."
12. Multiple screens, participants in virtual meeting
13. SOUNDBITE (French) Emmanuel Macron, President, France:
"And clearly any failure on the climate front will undermine conflict prevention efforts and peacebuilding efforts, and that is why I fully endorse the initiative of addressing these challenges in the Security Council under its mandate of ensuring international peace and security. The Council's action must be guided by the need to mitigate the effects of climate change on populations and its fallout on the development of conflicts. This action can be carried out within the framework of effective multilateral climate diplomacy, and we have a vast number of tools available to us."
14. Multiple screens, participants in virtual meeting
15. SOUNDBITE (English) John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, United States:
"Unlike most security threats, addressing the climate crisis actually presents the greatest economic opportunity in modern history. Not since the industrial revolution has there been such potential to build back better in every corner of the world. And sadly, not doing so would leave us in a position where we are, just by inadvertence, by lack of will, a lack of coming together, marching forward in what is almost tantamount to a mutual suicide act."
16. Multiple screens, participants in virtual meeting
17. SOUNDBITE (English) John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, United States:
"Some argue that climate change isn't the business of the UN Security Council. Well, we could only wish that that were true, but the fact is that the climate threat is so massive, so multi-faceted that it is impossible to disentangle it from other challenges that the security council faces. We burry our heads in the sand at our own peril. It is time to start treating the climate crisis like the urgent security threat that it is. This is literally the challenge of all of our generations."
18. Multiple screens, participants in virtual meeting

STORYLINE:

World-renowned natural historian Sir David Attenborough told the Security Council the world is “perilously close to tipping points that once past will send global temperatures spiralling catastrophically higher,” and said, “If we continue on our current path, we will face the collapse of everything that gives us our security."

Speaking at a virtual meeting of the Security Council today (23 Feb) addressing climate and security, Attenborough said the dangers of weather patterns worldwide do not know borders adding that the unprecedented treats created by the climate crisis should unite not divide humanity.

The natural historian said the heating of the planet already reached the point that the impacts on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable are profound and this is only the beginning of the crisis. He said if the natural world could no longer support humanity’s most basic needs, then much of the rest of civilization will quickly breakdown.

Attenborough noted that it was too late to avoid climate change and the poorest most vulnerable are now certain to suffer. He said it was the international community’s duty now to help those who face the most immediate danger and to act fast enough to reach new stable state. He stressed that the COP26 conference set to take place in Glasgow in November is perhaps last chance to make a step change.

Attenborough stressed that the past 12 months showed that humanity is no longer separate nations, rather a single global species whose security must come from acting together in the interest of all. He said, “Climate change is a threat to global security that can only be dealt with by unparalleled levels of global cooperation. It will compel us to question our economic models and where we place value, invent entirely new industries, recognize the moral responsibility that wealthy nations have to the rest of the world, and put a value on nature that goes far beyond money."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the climate emergency is the defining issue of our time. He said the shocks created by climate change weaken the world’s political, economic and social systems. He noted that the impacts of the crisis are greatest where fragility and conflicts have weakened coping mechanisms, adding that vulnerability to climate risks is also correlated with income inequality.

Guterres said, “Unless we protect those most exposed and susceptible to climate-related impacts, we can expect them to become even more marginalized, and their grievances to be reinforced. High levels of inequality can weaken social cohesion and lead to discrimination, scapegoating, rising tensions and unrest, increasing the risk of conflict. Those who are already being left behind will be left even farther behind.”

The Secretary-General said much more needs to be done to address the specific risks the climate crisis poses to peace and security. He said the international community must get the world on track to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and avoid climate catastrophe and create a truly global coalition to commit to net-zero emissions by the middle of the century.

He added that immediate actions were needed to protect countries, communities and people from increasingly frequent and severe climate impacts and investments must be made in renewable energy and green infrastructure.

Guterres stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the devastation that so-called non-traditional security threats can cause, on a global scale. He said preventing and addressing the poverty, food insecurity and displacement caused by climate disruption contributes to sustaining peace and reducing the risk of conflict.

Guterres added, “The climate crisis is the multilateral challenge of our time. It is already having an impact on all areas of human activity. Overcoming this crisis requires coordination and cooperation on an unprecedented scale. The commitment of all multilateral bodies, including this Council, can play a decisive role in this endeavour. I urge Council members to use their influence during this pivotal year to ensure the success of COP26, and to mobilize other actors, including the international financial institutions and the private sector, to do their part.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said climate change is a threat to the world's collective security. EH said some might doubt the need for such discussions on climate and security but stressed that people affected by climate related disasters are vulnerable to extremism, trafficking, and the drug trade which could be felt around the world.

Johnson stressed that if the results of political, economic, and humanitarian impacts of climate change were being caused by a civil war or a warlord no one would question the duty of the Security Council to act. He said the climate crisis isn't a complex diplomatic issue, rather everyone knows how to tackle the crisis, namely supporting vulnerable nations and reaching net zero emissions.

The British Prime Minister called on the Security Council to act because climate change is just as much a geopolitical issue as it is an environmental one. He added, "Whether you like it or not, it is a matter of when not if your country and your people will have to deal with the security impacts of climate change. So, let's do what this Council created to do, and let's show the kind of global leadership that is need to protect the peace, the security, and the stability of our nations, of our regions, and of our world."

French President Emanuel Macron said, in recent years, the world has recognized that in order to protect the environment, climate change is fully a peace and security issue. He said the link between climate change and security is complex and undeniable, adding that out of the 20 countries most affected by conflict, 12 are also among the most vulnerable to climate change.

Macron said, “Clearly any failure on the climate front will undermine conflict prevention efforts and peacebuilding efforts, and that is why I fully endorse the initiative of addressing these challenges in the Security Council under its mandate of ensuring international peace and security. The Council's action must be guided by the need to mitigate the effects of climate change on populations and its fallout on the development of conflicts. This action can be carried out within the framework of effective multilateral climate diplomacy, and we have a vast number of tools available to us."

Macron noted that after an extreme climate event, humanitarian measures need to be put in place and urgent measures need to be put in place to ensure a lasting rebuilding. He called for appointing a UN special envoy for climate security to coordinate efforts.

United States Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry said the climate crisis is among the most complex and compelling security issues the world has have ever faced. He said the international community is told repeated that it is an existential threat, but the world has yet to respond with urgency required.

Kerry said the climate crisis affects every nation and citizen's security, economic, food, energy, and even physical security.

The US official said the Biden administration moved swiftly to re-join the Paris agreement and directed a coordinated whole-of-government approach to the climate crisis to elevate the issue as a national security priority and to put America on an irreversible path to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier. However, Kerry stressed that no one country can solve the climate crisis on its own, rather every country will have to step up and raise ambition.

Kerry underscored that the world’s 17 major emitters bare the responsibility to reduce their emissions and that begins with reducing the use of coal on a global basis. He said study after study shows that inaction comes with a far higher price tag than action. He added, "Unlike most security threats, addressing the climate crisis actually presents the greatest economic opportunity in modern history. Not since the industrial revolution has there been such potential to build back better in every corner of the world. And sadly, not doing so would leave us in a position where we are, just by inadvertence, by lack of will, a lack of coming together, marching forward in what is almost tantamount to a mutual suicide act."

Kerry said Glasgow is the last best hope to get the world on track, in meantime, the United States would work closely with likeminded colleagues to focus the Security Council on the climate crisis and its consequences on international peace and security.

He added, "Some argue that climate change isn't the business of the UN Security Council. Well, we could only wish that that were true, but the fact is that the climate threat is so massive, so multi-faceted that it is impossible to disentangle it from other challenges that the security council faces. We burry our heads in the sand at our own peril. It is time to start treating the climate crisis like the urgent security threat that it is. This is literally the challenge of all of our generations."
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