U.N. Security Council must act preemptively – on climate change
This global threat requires a war-room mentality.
The United Nations tackled the task of troubleshooting climate change last month. Between holding special General Assembly meetings at headquarters in New York, bringing 100 environmental ministers to Monaco in the largest meeting of ministers since Bali, and launching a Climate Neutral Network to highlight best practices in tackling global warming, the UN appears to be doing what it can to ensure that climate change does not fall off the political radar. Yet, it still isn't enough. A concerted international strategy, on a par with the seriousness and scope of an UN Security Council resolution, is what's needed to counter this climate crisis.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon was right in comparing the effects of climate change to the effects of war, given the potential level of human and environmental devastation potentially wrought by rising sea levels and increasingly catastrophic weather conditions. Philanthropist Sir Richard Branson, who keynoted UN General Assembly deliberations on climate change, was correct to call for a "war room" to adequately respond to a rapidly warming planet.
Both leaders recognize the need for serious strategy and the comparisons to war were not casually made. The threat to international peace and security calls upon nothing less than the purview of the UN Security Council.
Under Article 39 of the UN Charter, the Security Council maintains the right to identify threats to international peace and security and to devise means to counter these threats. The potential impact of that on climate change is substantial: the Security Council's toolbox includes the capacity to cap greenhouse-gas emissions on every country and sanction those who fail to comply. Both a carbon tax, as well as a carbon-trading scheme, could incentivize countries to reduce emissions below even capped levels.