30 July 2021

Mission Probable: the EU’s efforts to green security and defence

The European Union has recently started in earnest to climate-mainstream its defence and security sectors. It published a Climate Change & Defence Roadmap and the external dimension of the EU Green Deal recognises climate action as a contributor to peace and stability, for instance in the rather unstable European neighbourhood. The EU aims to climate-proof its military and civilian defence missions, as calls for disaster and humanitarian assistance are rising globally, and it is seeking to include green innovation more prominently in defence investments and R&D. However, many of the plans are yet to be turned into tangible action and climate change objectives remain subordinate to the objective of “operational effectiveness”. Perhaps most striking is that an emission reduction target for the military is still out of sight, whereas the EU as such has committed to be climate neutral in 2050. Moreover, traditional advocates for climate change action tend to focus on other sectors, possibly because they fear that for the military climate-security is a topic to justify higher spending or even military intervention. Despite this neglect further strides can be made to use European militaries as green innovators, emission reducers and enablers of environmental peacebuilding and disaster assistance.

Read full policy brief here

Photo credit: European External Action Service Photostream/Flickr