NATO releases its Climate Change and Security Impact Assessment

In a ‘sobering’ assessment report released today (28 June 2022), NATO recognises climate change as an ‘overarching challenge of our time’ that will ‘measurably’ increase the risks to security and ‘worsen as the world warms further’. It calls for a fundamental transformation of NATO’s approach to defence and security and sets NATO as a leading international organisation in understanding and adapting to climate change.

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This assessment is part of an ambitious Action Plan on Climate Change and Security that NATO Leaders adopted at the Brussels Summit in 2021. Enhanced awareness will help inform NATO’s work to adapt to the altered strategic and operating environment.

At the first High-Level Dialogue on Climate Change and Security held today in Madrid on the margins of NATO’s Summit, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced Allies’ decision to reduce gas emissions by at least 45% by 2030, down to net zero by 2050. A new methodology for measuring NATO’s greenhouse gas emissions, both civilian and military, will help guide gas reduction efforts. ‘This is vital’, the Secretary General said at the Dialogue, ‘because only what gets measured, can get cut’.  The aim is to ensure that NATO maintains its operational effectiveness and readiness in a more environment-friendly way.

The event, which brought together NATO Allies, partners and other stakeholders from around the world, will, under NATO’s leadership, become an annual platform for international consultations on climate change, address security impacts in a collaborative way and exchange best practices.

NATO’s new Strategic Concept, to be adopted by Allied Heads of State and Government later this week, will also, for the first time, recognise climate change as a major security challenge for NATO in the decade to come.

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