This week (14 June 2021) saw NATO leaders approve the alliance's 2030 agenda, which, among other things, sets NATO on a path to adapt to climate change and bolster climate security. To coincide with this, Luxembourg Minister of Defence, Francois Bausch, has called for an enhancement of the NATO and EU's risk analysis, to incorporate the non-traditional threats caused by climate change, COVID-19 and Russia.
In an article for the German journal, Ethik und Militär, Minister Bausch discussed how climate change phenomena like desertification, rising sea levels, droughts and subsequent agricultural collapses are all drivers of insecurity. Fundamentally, it will be the military in most cases that will have to engage with the first-order effects and this will divert away resources and manpower from other security risks, heavily impacting overall military readiness. Furthermore, an unmanaged and unjust energy transition away from non-renewable sources could worsen social tensions and conflict zones in certain regions, whilst also sparking new resource competitions.
In light of this, Minister Bausch offers thoughts on several potential policy responses, especially for the European Union:
- Systemic mapping for the defence sector over energy usage and emissions
- Green best practices and knowledge transfers
- Scaling investments in green R&D technologies
- Voluntary targets for military CO2 emissions
- Cooperation and joint implementation of policies with other security partners like NATO
Whether these policies will come to fruition is still to be seen. However, 2021 is a year that has seen Europe and the international community further engage with the nexus between climate and security. Debates on the topic in the UN Security Council were followed by the UK and European Union publishing roadmaps for integrating climate considerations and action into military activity and operations. Whilst dissent still exists within the EU ranks, Minister Bausch's recommendations echo the growing surge of calls for the defence sector to step up and match their efforts in preparing the region for the worst to come.
Read the full article is available here.
Photo credits: Thomas Park/Unsplash.com