The United Nations Security Council held its first-ever open debate on energy, security and climate in mid April. When climate change has resulted in an increasingly stark reality today, attention shown by the UN Security Council has indicated the importance attached to this issue by the international community. The UN Security Council, however, does necessarily act as the appropriate platform to discuss and resolve the issue about climate change.
Since the 1990s, the environmental issue, including climate change, has shown a trend for economization, systematization and politicalization. The so-called economization is meant to comprise both economic losses derived possibly from climate change and economic costs required to alleviate climate change and the fast growth of the global carbon market with the application of such market mechanisms as discharge trade and sanitary development.
The so-called systematization is meant to form in succession of an international climate mechanism based on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which was aimed to reduce the pollution by 5.2 percent by 2010, compared with the 1990 levels. At present, the "Post-Kyoto negotiation," which has a bearing on the international cooperation to respond to climate change at a very critical "cross road"; all nations now work hard to give scope to their impact on facilitating the formation of an international climate mechanism in the "post-Kyoto era".
The so-called politicalization is meant to cite the international climate change negotiation as a major topic of global politics on how to re-portray to some extent international relations to comply with climate change, and the relationships between big nations in particular.
Climate change poses a global issue, which may give rise to the scarcity of resources, immigration inflicted from deteriorating ecology and incremented pressure from society. The issue needs the efforts of all nations and the international community to tackle it seriously and conscientiously. Hence, a trend toward economization, systematization and politicalization is of positive significance, and it is very vital to deal with climate change via international cooperation.
The primary duty or obligation of the UN Security Council, according to the "UN Charter", is to safeguard global peace and security, whereas the issues relevant to economy and social development have to be taken by the UN Economic and Social Commission (UNESC) and the UN General Assembly. The demarcation line between the traditional security and non-traditional security has turned increasingly obscure along with the warming up of non-traditional issues. So against this background, the UN Security Council unfolded discussions on climate change and increased the understanding of the international community on a range of major security threats, which it would face in the years ahead. However, this issue will be made over-politicalized provided it is orbited into a major topic of concern to the UN Security Council members, nevertheless.
First, climate change is a global issue, and all nations around the world are entitled to partake in the discussions as they, affected by the impact of climate change and, therefore, are entitled to involved in negotiations. At present, the UN Security Council is operating under a mechanism with the five Permanent UN Security Council and the 10 non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, but their representation inclines to call in question.
Second, the climate change issue is, in the final analysis, an issue of development and, the climate change under the framework of sustained development has been the common understanding of the international community and the direction of the long-term efforts. If the nations have differences of interest in the spheres of their concrete actions temporarily, the adoption of compulsory measures would become counter productive.
Third, to respond to the international corporation from climate change, not only professional knowledge but a mechanism involving the comprehensive-use of technologies, capital, the market, and laws, etc. is required, whereas the UN Security Council apparently does not need these essential conditions.
Despite arduousness and protractedness of the "post- Kyoto negations, the climate convention as the "main battlefield" of the global climate negotiation remain unswerving. And a multilateral mechanism outside the United Nations, such as Global Economic Forum and G8 meeting, can only play a supplementary role.
By People's Daily Online, and its author Chen Ying, deputy research fellow of the Center of Sustained Development under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
By People's Daily Online