Last reviewed 23 February 2021

Climate change represents the “gravest risk to global peace and security” the Prime Minister will tell the UN Security Council (UNSC) today.

Today’s event marks the first time a British PM has chaired a Security Council meeting for almost 30 years and the first time a leader has led discussions on climate at the Security Council.

Boris Johnson will tell delegates at the virtual Council session that unless we take urgent action to tackle climate change now, the world risks worsening conflict, displacement and insecurity.

Ahead of chairing the UN Security Council session, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “From the communities uprooted by extreme weather and hunger, to warlords capitalising on the scramble for resources — a warming planet is driving insecurity.

“By helping vulnerable countries adapt to climate change and cutting global emissions to net zero, we will protect not only the bountiful biodiversity of our planet, but its prosperity and security.”

The UN Security Council has five permanent members — China, France, Russia, the UK and the US — and 10 non-permanent members elected for two-year terms.

The government has pledged to spend £11.6 billion on international climate finance over the next five years, including on efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change on vulnerable and fragile countries.

The UK is also committed to legally-binding targets net zero targets by 2050 and pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68% by 2030 — the steepest reduction of any major economy.

But there is growing criticism that the government is failing to meet its commitments and is risking the UK’s reputation by failing to halt a new coal mine in Whitehaven, Cumbria at a time when the government is calling on other nations to cease production. The flagship Green Homes Grant designed to cut domestic emissions is also in disarray because of administrative cockups and the Treasury is set to claw the money back.

The UK is hosting a high-level Climate & Development Ministerial event on 31 March with representatives from countries most vulnerable to climate change. This comes ahead of Glasgow Climate Summit in November, where the UK will host crucial talks with world leaders on new targets to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.