US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, speaking in a Security Council session on climate change that took place yesterday:
In this Council we have discussed many emerging security issues and addressed them, from the links between development and security to HIV-AIDS. Yet this week, we have been unable to reach consensus on even a simple Presidential Statement that climate change has the potential to impact peace and security in the face of the manifest evidence that it does.
We have dozens of countries in this body and in this very room whose very existence is threatened. They’ve asked this Council to demonstrate our understanding that their security is profoundly threatened. Instead, because of the refusal of a few to accept our responsibility, this Council is saying, by its silence, in effect, “Tough luck.” This is more than disappointing. It’s pathetic. It’s shortsighted, and frankly it’s a dereliction of duty.
The Security Council session was an agenda of the German government, which holds the Council presidency this month. The Germans’ hope was that they would manage to get a faily robust ‘Presidential Statement’ (a bit like a Resolution, but not binding) out of the session, but thanks to Chinese and Russian opposition, only a very watered down version proved possible. See David Bosco’s take on the debate on ForeignPolicy.com here; the text of the Presidential Statement is here.