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NATO Parliamentary Assembly on Climate Change and International Security

ZERKO VALLEY, Afghanistan, villagers affected by the flood in the Herat and Shindand district area (U.S. Air Force photo) via NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan

ZERKO VALLEY, Afghanistan, villagers affected by the flood in the Herat and Shindand district area (U.S. Air Force photo) via NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan

NATO Parliamentary Assembly Special Rapporteur, Philippe Vitel wrote a special draft report, Climate Change, International Security and the Way to Paris 2015, for NATO PA’s Science and Technology Committee. In the draft report, Vitel outlines some of the key links between climate change and international security, as well as the national perceptions of key NATO members on these links. This report is focused mostly on the Paris COP21 meeting, but as we argued in a piece co-authored with Sherri Goodman in Defense News, NATO can and should do considerably more to prepare for climate risks. 

In a subsequent article with Goodman for RTCC, “NATO ignores climate change at its peril,” we highlighted some immediate steps NATO could take to prepare for climate change, without taking its eye off other pressing concerns in Europe and elsewhere:

  • Raise the profile of climate change at NATO summits, on the NATO agenda, and at international security forums;
  • Encourage member states to integrate climate risks into intelligence assessments, and national security and defense strategies (modeled on the US Quadrennial Defense Review);
  • Call on member states to integrate climate risks into exercises and training for forces, in preparation for increased humanitarian crises that could result;
  • Support developing  the capacity of partner nation forces to manage increases in the frequency, severity and variability of natural and humanitarian disasters;
  • Enhance the operational resilience of NATO forces by promoting strategic investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy;
  • Build on Bulgarian suggestions to develop a common NATO strategy for addressing the impact of climate change on military operations.

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