The tiny Pacific small island state of Palau has just announced that it’ll be formally requesting protection from the Security Council on climate change and rising sea levels- and co-sponsoring a binding Security Council Resolution calling for mandatory emissions caps.
It’s not the first time that climate change has appeared on the Security Council’s agenda (the UK tabled it last April, as we reported at the time), but Palau’s bid is different both in calling for mandatory action – and in the fact that for Palau, the security threat posed by climate change is not just more direct than in the case of the UK, but positively existential. Stuart Beck, Palau’s Ambassador to the UN, said last week:
It is the obligation of the Security Council to prevent an aggravation of the situation … Larger countries can build dikes, and move to higher ground. This is not feasible for the small island states who must simply stand by and watch their cultures vanish.
Privately, advisors to Palau admit that the Resolution is almost certain to be shot down – but they add that they’re just going to keep submitting it to the Security Council, every session from now on, until it gets debated and one day adopted, in a steadfast effort that’s almost like civil disobedience. This is really smart politics. Watch this coalition grow.