Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
April 8, 2021
Thank you, so much. And, again, delighted to be here with you. As you know, this past year, the United States experienced extreme wildfires, devastating hurricanes, dangerous and unprecedented storms, and as well as a blackout. And we were far from alone in that experience. Monsoons, and droughts, and rising sea levels, toxic air pollution. It doesn’t matter where you live, climate change is a challenge for every person, in every nation, and on every single continent.
This is a critical issue for the United Nations, especially because the threat isn’t just to all of our climates, it’s also a collective security issue for all of us. The Pentagon has declared climate change both a national security threat and a threat multiplier. That’s because unpredictable and extreme weather will make vital resources, like food and water, even more scarce in impoverished countries. Scarcity spurs desperation, and desperation, of course, leads to violence.
What more, at its current pace, the climate crisis is set to drive millions – and I did say millions – from their homes, propelling en masse migration that will undermine peace and security around the world. Worst of all, so many of the world’s most fragile states and regions are the very same nations that are most vulnerable to climate calamities. The good news is, we can build resilience, we can stave off security threats, and we can even generate economic opportunity, if we work together.
And that’s why we were proud to rejoin the Paris Agreement hours after President Biden was sworn into office. It’s why we are encouraging everyone to join us in raising ambitions in advance of the Leaders Summit on Climate that President Biden is hosting on Earth Day. And it’s why today, I’m thrilled to be standing with my colleagues from Nauru and Germany to announce the United States has officially joined the UN Group of Friends on Climate and Security.
The Group of Friends is multilateralism at its best. For several years now, they have been on the forefront of all of our efforts to address these dual and intertwined threats. But now, together, we can coordinate our work, we can do everything in our power to curb conflict caused by climate crisis.
So, we stand ready and we stand together to support the co-chairs of the Group of Friends. And we look forward to making the climate crisis a key part of our agenda in every single body that we work in, including in the Security Council and across the United Nations.
So, thank you very much, and I look forward to your questions.