Australia participated in the debate in New York which was the latest attempt to treat climate change as a security problem deserving of the Security Council's attention.
Presenter: Jane Cowan
Speaker: Marcus Stephen, President of Nauru; Richard Marles, Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs; Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Hardeep Singh Puri, Indian UN representative; Susan Rice, US ambassador to the UN
COWAN: The aim was to put climate change squarely on the global security agenda, the argument being things like rising sea levels could destabilise already fragile countries and produce waves of environmental refugees.
Nauru's president Marcus Stephen implored the Security Council to take action.
STEPHEN: I urge you do not bury your heads in the sand. Seize this opportunity to lead.
COWAN: Australia was given a chance to take part in the debate even though it's not a member of the Security Council.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Richard Marles told the Security Council 20 of Australia's 22 closest neighbours are developing countries, most of them small islands.
MARLES: Never before have we had to grapple with the reality that islands and low lying territories might become uninhabitable as a result of sea level rise.
COWAN: Richard Marles highlighted Australia's moves to combat climate change via a carbon price.
MARLES: This is a difficult political debate in Australia but a fundamentally critical piece of public policy reform.
COWAN: The UN chief Ban Ki-moon who's pledged to make climate change a focus of his second term says climate change and international security represent a "double barrelled challenge".
BAN KI-MOON: Climate change is real. It is accelerating in a dangerous manner. It is a threat to international peace and security.
COWAN: But the Security Council failed to agree on even a non-binding statement recognising climate change as a threat to global peace and security after countries like China, Russia and India objected, saying the issue is more appropriately dealt with at lower levels of the UN.
India's representative is Hardeep Singh Puri.
HARDEEP SINGH PURI: In our view what constitutes a bigger concern is the threat that developing countries face from possible conflicts arising out of inadequate resources for development and poverty eradication.
COWAN: The failure to get agreement disgusted the US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice.
RICE: This is more than disappointing. It's pathetic. It's short sighted. And frankly it's a dereliction of duty.
COWAN: There had been talk of a new environmental peacekeeping force of so-called "green helmets" that could step into conflicts sparked by shrinking resources.
But today marks another setback for the climate change debate after last month's meetings in Bonn produced scant progress.