There are no shortages of statistics and data on the increasing rapidity with which our climate is changing, or on its effects. While rising sea levels, shrinking glaciers, and extremes in temperature are well-chronicled, the cascading impacts that a transformed climate will have on global peace and security are less clearly understood. This is all the more important since the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provide frameworks for addressing climate change for the international community, yet stop short of including peace and security. In light of its mandate, the extent to which the United Nations Security Council can or should take steps on climate-related peace and security issues is an increasingly urgent question.
Since the Security Council first considered climate-related security risks in 2007, more linkages between the effects of climate change and threats to international peace and security have been recognized. As the 2019 open debate on addressing the impact of climate-related disasters on international peace and security demonstrated, all member states and communities are affected by climate change, but experience varying forms and intensity of climate-related security risks, including displacement and potential instability from extreme weather-related disasters.