Climate Change and the UN Security Council
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Climate Change and the UN Security Council

Edited by Shirley V. Scott and Charlotte Ku

In this forward-looking book, the authors consider how the United Nations Security Council could assist in addressing the global security challenges brought about by climate change. Contributing authors contemplate how the UNSC could prepare for this role; progressing the debate from whether and why the council should act on climate insecurity, to how? Scholars, activists, and policy makers will find this book a fertile source of innovative thinking and an invaluable basis on which to develop policy.
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Chapter 11: The attitude of the P5 towards a climate change role for the Council

Shirley V. Scott


The legal authority of the United Nations Security Council to act on climate insecurity is not in any real doubt, but key to whether the Council could, in practice, act overtly in response to the direct and/or indirect security threats triggered by climate change is the attitude of the so-called P5. This chapter begins by reviewing the nature and degree of influence of the permanent members of the Council. It then considers what the attitude of each P5 member has been during debates so far as well as the attitude of each as revealed through their domestic policies and statements. The success of the Paris conference seemed at first to reduce the likelihood of the P5 choosing to act on climate insecurity via the Security Council but for several reasons it would be short-sighted to conclude that the attitude of the P5 on this issue could not change.

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