Earth Day UK statement at OSCE Permanent Council

Mister Chair,

The UK thanks the US delegation for placing Earth Day on the Permanent Council’s agenda. This international day marking environmental action draws in an estimated one billion people worldwide.

We welcome the United States’ hosting of the Leaders Summit on Climate today and tomorrow. As our Prime Minister has said, climate change is a threat to our collective security and the security of our nations. There is a need for us, collectively and individually, to step up and increase our ambition.

There is an urgent need for stronger climate action on mitigation, finance and adaptation. These will be central themes as we look ahead to COP26 this November in Glasgow.

In 2019, the UK passed a law committing us to achieving net zero carbon-emissions by 2050. This week we announced we would reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels. The sixth Carbon Budget, once enshrined in law, will commit us to the fastest fall in greenhouse gas emissions of any major economy. It will also help keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees alive.

The OSCE can play a role. It is well-placed to act on the security implications of climate change because of its experience in crisis management, conflict prevention and confidence building; and can provide a platform for political dialogue. Climate change is as much a geopolitical issue as it is an environmental one.

It is a matter of when, not if, our respective countries and populations will have to deal with the security impacts of climate change. So let us show what is needed to protect the peace, the security and the stability of our nations, of the OSCE region, and of our world.

We, all of us, need to act now to protect our planet for future generations.

Thank you.

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