The UN Security Council will be organising a world leaders’ summit to discuss climate change’s implications for world peace. This session has been called by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and will be conducted online due to the coronavirus pandemic. The UN Security Council will hold a summit of world leaders Tuesday to debate climate change’s implications for world peace, an issue on which its 15 members have divergent opinions.

Britain now holds the Security Council’s rotating presidency and Johnson will be addressing the forum, along with the US climate czar John Kerry, French President Emmanuel Macron, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the prime ministers of Ireland, Vietnam, Norway and other countries.

The meeting will serve as a test for US-China relations, one UN ambassador said on condition of anonymity, alluding to one of the few issues where the two big powers might agree. But this is not a given. “We should watch how the Chinese position themselves with the Americans,” the ambassador said. Traditionally, the ambassador said, “you know that the Russians and the Chinese will immediately say (climate change has) ‘nothing to do’ with the council’s issues.” Today, however, “the Chinese are more liable to be slightly open to that discussion,” which “leaves the Russians pretty much on their own.”

According to diplomats, the arrival of the Biden administration, which promised to put global warming first, in contrast to Donald Trump, who regularly questioned the science behind climate change, was the Security Council on this issue. Last year, Germany, which had a seat in the council at the time, drafted a resolution calling for the creation of a special UN special envoy post on climate-related security risks. One of the goals of this work is to improve UN efforts, including risk assessment and prevention.

The arrival of the Biden administration with its pledge to make global warming a top priority — in contrast with Donald Trump, who regularly questioned the science behind climate change — should change the Security Council’s dynamics on this issue, diplomats said.