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GLOBAL CLIMATE EMERGENCY LEARN MORE

1. Campaign

On the 1st of January 2020, NOW! launched a petition targeted at the United Nations Security Council to demand that it recognizes climate change as a threat to peace under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, and as a result declares a global climate emergency

Chapter VII of the Charter of the U.N. reads as follows: “The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

A United Nations resolution under Chapter VII is normally considered binding, and would thus oblige all 186 member states to take concrete action following your decision. Following the declaration, we are calling on you to decide on measures in accordance with article 41 to counter the climate crisis. To acknowledge that climate change is a threat to peace and thus declare a Global Climate Emergency, nine members of the U.N. Security Council will need to vote in favor of discussing this topic, and nine members of the UN Security Council (with 0 vetoes from the Permanent Five) will need to vote in favor of that resolution. 

And once this Emergency has been declared, we will fight to ensure that it is not used to abuse our fundamental rights and that the Global South is not penalized for the centuries of pollution that the Global North emitted. Solidarity shall prevail.

2. Reasons

Climate change is an existential threat to the world, peace, and security. Despite having known this for decades, humankind has not managed to deal with it adequately. 

Individual actions by countries cannot change the global trend that is the destruction of our planet. 

  • It is high time for the UN Security Council to declare a global climate emergency to ensure that the world takes seriously the existential threat that is climate change. We need a binding decision with a clear path forward that forces all governments to act now. 
  • After declaring a climate emergency under Chapter VII, the Security Council will have to make concrete recommendations or decisions on how to address this threat to peace to maintain international order. As a result, for the first time, the world will have to move forward as One, giving us the best chance at solving this crisis. 
  • The Global Climate Emergency campaign is anchored in the broader climate change agenda that we will push forward, from passing national laws on carbon taxes to de-subsidizing fossil fuels. It’s only the first step to affect drastic change and save our only planet. 

3. Methodology

To acknowledge that climate change is a threat to peace and thus declare a Global Climate Emergency, nine members of the UN Security Council will need to vote in favor of discussing this topic, and nine members of the UN Security Council (with 0 vetoes from the Permanent Five) will need to vote in favor of that resolution.

  • We have launched a global petition on the 1st of January to the UNSC itself, for humans from all over the world to be able to voice their support.
  • The global petition will stay open to harness support from all the people coming from countries that do not currently sit on the Security Council. When the global petition reaches 1,000,000 signatures, it will be sent to the U.N. Secretary-General urging them to take action.
  • We are targeting specific countries, including Germany and South Africa. Germany, in August 2018, established the UN Group of Friends on Climate and Security together with Nauru. Germany will build on this in the Security Council. South Africa, on the other hand, is part of many projects in collaboration with the EU and it has been greatly affected by climate change with Cape Town’s drought last year being a stark illustration of climate change for many.

4. Key stakeholders and campaign moments

In 2020, the following countries will be members of the U.N. Security Council, and are thus our main targets: Belgium, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Niger, People's Republic of China, Russian Federation, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Tunisia, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam.

Within these countries, our petition-building efforts will focus on the parliaments of Germany and South Africa, liaising with key ministries (of environment and foreign affairs), and their heads of states. We will also target the UN environmental program and U.N. Secretary-General.

Months in 2020

Action

Key events

January

Launch & coalition building

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February

Pressure campaign on Belgium, as rotating Chair of the SC

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March

Step up preparations for the other countries

EU Council (given the presence of 4 EU countries)

June

Preparing campaign on Germany, as rotating Chair of the SC in July

UN Ocean Conference

July

Focus on national petition and campaign in Germany, as rotating Chair of the SC in July

UN High-Level Political Forum

October

Preparing campaign on South Africa, as rotating Chair of the SC in December

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November

Preparing campaign on South Africa, as rotating Chair of the SC in December

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December

Focus on national petition and campaign in South Africa, as rotating Chair of the SC in December

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