12 February 2020
  • climate security
  • Climate Risk
  • climate change

First World Climate and Security Report out now

The World Climate Security Report 2020 has been published by the International Military Council on Climate & Security (IMCCS), chaired by General (Ret) Tom Middendorp and Senior Research Associate at the Clingendael Institute. Louise van Schaik (the Planetary Security Initiative, Clingendael's Head of EU & Global Affairs Unit) is a co-author.

The report has been be published at the Munich Security Conference, where the IMCCS expert group aims to mobilize the security community to address this global threat. Watch Tom Middendorp's Opening Statement here:


The report finds that security and military experts are increasingly concerned about the security implications of climate change, with many perceiving the risks to global security to be significant or higher in the next two decades, and recommends "climate-proofing" international security - including infrastructure, institutions and policies, as well as major emissions reductions to avoid significant-to-catastrophic security threats. 

Moreover, the authors argue how the climate-security threat is global, interconnected and not limited to a few regions. They state it is the job of the military to address all credible threats to their respective nation’s security and solely military solutions are insufficient to address these issues. Therefore, civil, global and government-wide solutions are required. 

Besides highlighting the threat, the report also includes a survey on the risk perception among 56 international security and military professionals. A specific chapter of the report written by a team of Clingendael researchers reviews the efforts of 12 national militaries addressing climate security drivers.

"It is striking that climate change does not only have implications for military missions abroad and threat analysis, but also directly undermines military capabilities at home, because of the need to act more often as first responders in the case of wildfires, floods and ice storms. Militaries therefore must also climate-proof themselves."

- Louise van Schaik, Planetary Security Initiative & the Clingendael Institut

Most of the militaries included in the case-study, have at least some sort of a sustainable energy target. These targets are mostly focused on a reduction of greenhouse emissions and the use of fossil fuel. Overall, the report praises the proactive approach of France and New Zealand in addressing first and second-order drivers of climate-security.

The IMCCS calls the security and military and civil leaders to step up their contribution to reducing emissions and prepare for climate change.

Read the key findings & full report

Follow the Munich Security Conference on their website and @MiddendorpTom and @LouisevanSchaik on Twitter.

Photo credit: U.S. Army Service Members return to the U.S. Virgin Islands to assist with disaster relief operations in response to Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Sept. 23, 2017. U.S U.S. Army / Pvt. Alleea Oliver/Released