US urges greater ambition as UN Security Council tackles climate

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses a Security Council session on climate (AFP/John Minchillo)
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday urged all countries to raise their climate ambitions as the UN Security Council took up the environmental crisis, warning that it is aggravating conflicts.

Blinken pointed to recent record rains in New York that contributed to dozens of deaths and said climate has aggravated conflicts in countries including Syria, Mali, Yemen, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

"The climate crisis isn't coming. It's already here and clear patterns are emerging and its impact, the consequences, are falling disproportionately on vulnerable and low-income populations," Blinken said.

"All our nations must take immediate, bold actions," Blinken said, weeks ahead of high-stakes UN climate talks in Glasgow.

In a veiled reference to China, the only emitter larger than the United States, Blinken highlighted President Joe Biden's pledge before the United Nations on Tuesday to double financial support for the hardest-hit countries.

"We urge other governments to step up in making these investments, particularly those like the United States that are the biggest emitters," Blinken said.

The Security Council meeting called by current president Ireland follows a first top-level session on climate led by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in February.

"It's time to act. We have to act to show we are ready," said Ireland's prime minister, Micheal Martin.

But Russia has been skeptical, saying climate does not fit the agenda of the Security Council.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is participating in the annual UN General Assembly but did not attend the session, instead sending Russia's deputy ambassador, Dmitriy Polyanskiy.

"There are more suitable fora," Polyanskiy said, voicing concern about duplicating efforts.

"Too many cooks spoil the broth."

But Blinken said that taking up climate sends a "clear message to the international community of the serious implications that climate change has for our collective security."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the session that a recent report by UN scientists that showed dangerously intensifying levels of climate change was "a code red for humanity."

He said at least 30 million people were displaced by climate-related disasters last year and that "no region is immune."

"Our window of opportunity to prevent the worst climate impacts is rapidly closing," he warned.


Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting