At the NATO 2030 Youth Summit, 14 young professionals from across the Alliance were named as NATO 2030 Young Leaders. These emerging leaders have provided NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with input to inform his recommendations for NATO 2030.
Amongst these recommendations, these leaders of tomorrow strongly pushed NATO leadership and members to take more serious measures to tackle the growing confluence of issues surrounding the climate-security nexus. Recognition, in their opinion, of the interconnectedness of issues such as global warming and the acceleration of a technology race, is the first step in acknowledging how the overall threat matrix NATO faces has changed irrevocably since the organisation's inception.
Climate change is identified as a significant threat multiplier and an existential threat to Allied populations in the long term. It not only impacts Allied militaries’ operational capabilities but also alters the security environment in areas of concern to the Alliance. Given the fact that human's created a substantial portion of today's climate risks, we have to recognise that we are our own adversaries and significant change in behaviour, amongst all levels of NATO and the population it protects, is needed. This needs to happen across all areas where NATO has interests, namely that of Russia and China.
Accordingly, NATO needs to understand the conflict and instability implications of climate change, better prepare for future shocks, adapt its forces to extreme circumstances, and reduce its own ecological footprint in theatres of operation. Including climate change in NATO’s work would not only improve the resilience of Allies and partners but it would also help NATO capture the attention of a growing number of citizens looking for leaders in the fight against climate change.
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