India’s contention was that the UN draft resolution sought to dilute the role of developing nations in making decisions on global climate action, instead handing over the reins to the 5 permanent members of the Security Council.
India voted against a United Nations draft resolution that was seeking to give the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) the power to discuss matters of climate change. While the proposal failed due to Russia exercising its veto power against it, India was the only other country in the 15-member group to vote against the move.
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What was the proposal?
The proposal of the draft resolution was tabled during the debate titled ‘Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Security in the Context of Terrorism and Climate Change.’ The debate sought to understand how security risks would evolve over the coming decades as a result of climate change.
Climate change often leads to food and water shortages, loss of land or livelihoods, or migration. All these factors contribute to increasing global instability and insecurity, which the supporters of the draft said were pertinent matters for the UNSC to discuss.
Also read: Major Indian companies committed to go carbon-free; check out here on when they plan to achieve the goal
The draft resolution would have created the framework and space necessary for the UNSC to discuss matters of climate change as well. The resolution was sponsored by Niger and Ireland, the former also holding the presidency of the UNSC for the month of December.
Why did India vote against the proposal?
India’s objections against the proposal stem from the fact that the UN already has a framework for discussing climate change-related discussions, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
"Today's UNSC Resolution attempts to undermine the hard-won consensus which we reached in Glasgow. This resolution would only sow the seeds of discord among the larger UN membership," said India's Permanent Representative to the UN T.S. Tirumurti.
“We, therefore, need to ask ourselves what is it that we can collectively do under this draft resolution which we cannot achieve under the UNFCCC process,” Tirumurti added. “Why is it that one needs a UN Security Council resolution to take action on climate change when we have commitments made under UNFCCC towards concrete climate action? The honest answer is that there is no real requirement for this resolution except for the purpose of bringing climate change under the ambit of Security Council, and the reason for that is now decisions can be taken without involvement of most developing countries and without recognising consensus.”
India asserted that taking away the controls from UNFCC would mean diluting the power of the developing nations over climate action, and concentrating it in the hands of the five powerful permanent members of the UNSC.
"Ironically, many of the UNSC members are the main contributors of climate change due to historical emissions. If the Security Council indeed takes over the responsibility on this issue, a few states will then have a free hand in deciding on all climate-related issues. This is clearly neither desirable nor acceptable," said Tirumurti.
While India has been quick to establish several large projects, including increasing the country’s renewable energy capacity, India along with China were also responsible for watering down the COP26 climate deal on coal consumption.
Also read: The Climate Clock: Understanding India's COP26 stance and plans to address climate change
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)