Secretary of State Antony Blinken said climate change is contributing to a “less peaceful, less secure” world in remarks Thursday during a United Nations Security Council meeting on climate and security.
“That’s not only because of the devastating — and in some instances, irreversible — implications of climate change for our majestic planet. It’s also because of the cascading effects on virtually every aspect of our lives, from agriculture to infrastructure, from public health to food security,” Blinken said in his speech to the Security Council.
“Look at almost every place where you see threats to international peace and security today — and you’ll find that climate change is making things less peaceful, less secure, and rendering our response even more challenging,” he added.
Blinken said ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa were becoming more dangerous due to the effects of climate change.
“That’s the story of Syria, Mali, Yemen, South Sudan, Ethiopia, many other places beset by strife,” he said.
Blinken called on the U.N. to “consistently incorporate the effects of climate change” into their humanitarian and peacekeeping operations. He also called on the Security Council to help “tackle the negative impacts of climate on peace and security.” (RELATED: ‘Code Red’: Biden Amps Up Messaging On Climate Change)
The secretary’s remarks echo a previous warning from U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Miroslav Jenča, who said in July 2020 that climate change would “undermine our efforts at conflict prevention” by increasing competition for resources, threatening communities and displacing millions of people.
Blinken said the frequent occurrence of “record-breaking extreme weather events” such as Hurricane Ida in New York City — where the U.N. headquarters is located — is proof that a “climate crisis … [is] already here.”
The secretary also pointed out that President Joe Biden has made climate change “a top priority” of his administration and the State Department considers the issue to be “a core element of U.S. foreign policy.”