United Nations Headquarters with a view of National flags
United Nations Headquarters by United Nations Photo is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Letter to the UN Security Council

By Dr. Peter Carter

UN Climate Change Security Session:
World Security Emergency Due to Current and Projected Global Climate Change Statement of Dr. Peter Carter, Director and IPCC expert reviewer. February 21, 2021

The Security Council needs to acknowledge the unprecedented global climate change security emergency and produce an emergency global climate change security threat report.

To the UN Security Council Presidency, UK Ambassador to the United Nations,
Your Excellency Ambassador Woodward:

“Climate change, including increases in frequency and intensity of extremes, has adversely impacted food security” (IPCC, 2019).

Today’s accelerating global climate disruption is the national and international security threat of all time, so it has to be front and centre on the UN Security Council’s Climate Change Security Session. This security threat is now well recognized by national defense and security agencies. Indeed, they recognize it is a threat multiplier.

The accelerating global climate change data trends make it clear that climate disruption is the top risk of global mass destruction, to huge human populations as well as the planet’s biosphere. All countries are already experiencing unprecedented disastrous impacts.

There are no plans for reducing global fossil fuel emissions. The only plan is to keep increasing fossil fuel extraction, burning, and emissions (U.S. Energy Information Administration’s International Energy Outlook 2020). Post-Covid emissions are already rebounding to pre-Covid levels (International Energy Agency, January 2021).

The last IPCC assessment (2014) recognized that global climate change will increase conflict, which may already be the case.

The top cause of severely dangerous worldwide insecurity is the multiple global surface heating and climate disruption impacts on food production and security. “Climate change, including increases in frequency and intensity of extremes, has adversely impacted food security and terrestrial ecosystems as well as contributed to desertification and land degradation in many regions (high confidence)” which is projected to increase. “Adaptations to date have not been sufficient to offset the negative impacts of climate change” (IPCC 2019 Special Report on Climate Change and Land).

Our Climate Emergency Institute study of 2020 climate change adverse indicators shows that they are all at record levels, accelerating, tracking the very worst scenario, and — combined — are on a trend of biosphere collapse (P. Carter, December 2020, American Geophysical Union, Townhall Climate Emergency Presentation).

The January 2021 World Economic Forum 16th edition of Global Risks Report puts infectious disease as the top risk (projected to increase under climate disruption, which also increases the biodiversity disruption effect). Climate action failure comes a close second as a global risk and has been the top risk for several years. This is a significantly higher risk than weapons of mass destruction.

The Security Council needs to acknowledge this as the security emergency it is, and produce an emergency global climate change security threat report.


Peter Carter

Dr. Peter Carter

Peter standing at lectern presenting
Peter Carter, M.D., IPCC Expert Reviewer

Peter is a medically-qualified doctor, with a background in environmental health policy. He is the director of the Climate Emergency Institute, as well as an IPCC Expert Reviewer and co-author of Unprecedented Crime: Climate Science Denial and Game Changers for Survival.

He is also published on environmental health, climate change, and biodiversity. Peter presented in panel discussions at COP25 and COP26 with Paul Beckwith and Regina Valdez.

Peter is based in southern British Columbia, Canada, where he lives with his wife, Julie Johnston.