Russia is against recognition of global security threat from climate change, but for the nuclear energy development

20 of July 2011, the UN Security Council (SC) held an Open Debate which focused on the impact of climate change on the maintenance of international peace and security. At this meeting Russia together with China opposed a Statement of the UN Security Council on the security threat of climate change. Russian representative V.Churkin also said that Russia will move to low-carbon economy with attention to nuclear energy.

Despite the fact that Russia within the UNFCCC process highlighted that climate is serious global problem to be addressed, this confusing statement in the concurrent SC debate shed a light on the lack of a clear line on the climate issue in the Russian Government. Find background information on the SC debate, including Vytaly Churkin's statement. http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10332.doc.htm

This debated resulted, for the first time in the history of the SC, in a Presidential Statement concerning climate change and its impact on international peace and security.

Each month, the presidency of the SC is held by a different member state and that member has the opportunity to set the agenda for the month's program of work. In July, the presidency is held by the German government. In their agenda for the month, Germany included a day of open debate on the international security implications of climate change. An open debate means that any UN member state can participate.

The SC has, on one previous occasion, organized a debate on the impacts of climate change on security. In the end, there was not enough support among Council members to issue a "Presidential Statement" on the issue, but the simple fact that the SC discussed climate change, for the first time ever, led to a significant amount of worldwide media coverage on the international security implications of climate change.

RSEU climate secretariat comments:

Why Russian officials are so afraid that the recognition of security treat from global climate change will increase the intensity of political opposition? - is not clear. Evidence shows that negative climate change consequences in Russia are really serious. Recognition of this danger for both Russia and other countries will only increase the validity of actions for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Experts have repeatedly pointed out that Russia at least shortsighted not using climate mechanisms for long-needed modernization, because it provides only an additional bonus for national development. But nuclear energy in opposite threatens both national and global security and can’t be considered as a tool for climate change mitigation.

VITALY CHURKIN (Russian Federation) said his Government had always viewed combating climate change as a priority area for global cooperation, having advocated for a global instrument covering all countries and for more attention to be paid to the idea of Russian forests acting as carbon sinks.

The Russian Federation's policy had been seen in its decision to cut by 2020 greenhouse gas emissions by 10 to 25 per cent over 1990 levels, within the framework of a new global climate agreement. In the transition to a low-carbon economy, the Russian Federation would give attention to nuclear energy.

The priority role in combating climate change lay with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, he explained, as it contained measures to respond to new threats. The Russian Federation shared the concerns of small island developing States at rising sea levels. To address climate change, States must effectively use the potential of the climate convention, the most fundamental area of which was adaptation, which included the Adaptation Fund. He called for urgent and targeted aid in that regard.

His Government was skeptical about the repeated attempts to place climate change on the Council's agenda, he said, noting that as a compromise, his Government had agreed to join consensus in the adoption of General Assembly resolution 63/281 (2009). The Council's consideration of the climate change issue was not right, as many countries were not prepared to see climate change placed on its agenda. Additionally, the Secretary-General's report did not contain "serious arguments" to support those advocating its placement on the Council's agenda. Rather, it merely discussed the hypothetical nature of climate change. While there also was a lack of empirical data to establish correlations, the report did contain "balanced" conclusions and observations on further work in that area. The Security Council was not referred to once in the report, and involving the Council in a regular review of climate change would not be of any added value; it would merely lead to more politicization of the issue and disagreement among countries.