Thursday, October 1, 2009

NATO: The alliance must focus on climate challenge

This morning, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Secretary-General of NATO said that the alliance must focus on the climate challenge: "NATO should do more to prepare for the challenges of climate change."

Rasmussen said that "rising sea levels, drought and competition for land and resources all have implications for security." This statement is broadly in line with what the IISS and others in the security community have been saying about climate change.

However, Rasmussen went further than many in the security community have gone, by offering a prescription for how to aleviate the security threats posed by climate change. First, he promoted fuel efficiency for military vehicles. This is not revolutionary, and was promoted by the CNA's most recent report. Frankly, the military can only have a limited role in mitigating climate change. More important, was his statement that NATO should help to build global military capacity for reacting to climate-induced disasters. He said:

"Right now, NATO engages in military training and capacity building with
countries around the world. We focus on things like peacekeeping, language
training and countering terrorism. What about also including cooperation
that helps build capacity in the armed forces of our partners to better manage
big storms, or floods, or sudden movements of populations?"

This is an important statement. As an organization, NATO is very good at projecting long-term strategy. A move to including training for how militaries, both within NATO, and developing country partners should deal with natural disasters caused by climate change would be an important way for the alliance to build a long-term capacity to deal with natural disasters.
(credit for photo: AFP)

1 comment:

  1. There is also a nato movie on youtube regarding the copenhagen summit climate change