In the days before COP26, Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has warned in an interview with the Observer that, if countries fail to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, global security and stability could break down, with migration crises and food shortages bringing conflict and chaos. She told the newspaper:
“We’re really talking about preserving the stability of countries, preserving the institutions that we have built over so many years, preserving the best goals that our countries have put together. The catastrophic scenario would indicate that we would have massive flows of displaced people…It would mean less food, so probably a crisis in food security. It would leave a lot more people vulnerable to terrible situations, terrorist groups and violent groups. It would mean a lot of sources of instability….[Climate change] is the biggest challenge humanity is facing.”
This is not the first time she has spoken out on this issue. She said similar things at the Munich Security Conference in 2017, although perhaps not in such direct and urgent terms.