Paris Was a Success, But Response to Climate-Security Threats is Lagging, Says Nick Mabey
In the months leading up to the United Nations conference on climate change in Paris last fall, expectations were high. And the result actually exceeded those expectations, in many respects, says Nick Mabey, director and chief executive at E3G, in this week’s podcast.
“We have stronger goals,” Mabey explains, and the agreement “puts adaptation and resilience on an equal footing to mitigation, so we like to say we now have a climate-risk management regime.”
After more than a decade monitoring the geopolitics and security implications of climate change and resource scarcity, Mabey and his colleagues at E3G believe this new regime to be more robust due to the “strong legal force and political backing of the agreement.”
However, the implications of climate-security issues remain under-examined in the foreign policy community. “Paris made us safer, but not safe,” Mabey says. “We've got a whole set of mixed drivers for complexity driving instability and social unrest.”
“There's not sustainable security without addressing climate and resource issues in forward planning,” he explains. “But I can tell you from talking to people in governments, none of that is in the current plans.”
One opportunity for improving the way climate-related security issues are accounted for may be the election of a new UN Secretary General. A successor to Ban Ki-moon will be chosen at the General Assembly later this year. Asking the candidates to address climate-security threats would continue the conversation and momentum.
The momentum created by Paris is fragile. Mabey says the core challenge is identifying and maintaining a coalition of countries who will continue to work toward a strengthened climate-security framework. “Unless we can point to a coalition of countries who want to see this happen, we will always be on the margins.”
Nick Mabey spoke at the Wilson Center on May 6, 2016.