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By Shiloh Fetzek, Senior Fellow for International Affairs
In advance of the NATO Summit Warsaw in July, the Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg sat down for an interview with POLITICO Europe. When asked what NATO is doing to address the risks of climate change, he responded by asserting that climate change is in fact a security risk, and an issue to consider in the context of conflict prevention, peace and stability. He also noted that NATO does not have the luxury of choosing the challenges it faces, and has to work to adapt to the changing security environment. Indeed, the challenges that NATO faces are serious and climate change, particularly if not adequately addressed by NATO member states, could very well multiply those challenges and ultimately challenge the NATO mission. However, though the Secretary General appreciated the risks of climate change to NATO’s security landscape, he unfortunately stopped short of describing it as a priority of his. (more…)
Defense News has just published an article (broken link, see PDF of article here) co-written by CNA’s Sherri Goodman and The Center for Climate and Security’s Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell. The commentary seeks to answer the question: What does the appointment of Jens Stoltenberg as the next NATO Secretary General mean for NATO’s climate change mission?
While NATO certainly has its hands full with recent developments in and around Ukraine, it will have to be able to address multiple security risks on multiple fronts. Given that NATO has long recognized that climate change is a threat to security, addressing climate-related risks should not fall too far to the wayside. Stoltenberg has experience in taking firm stances on both traditional matters of national security during his tenure as Prime Minister of Norway, and on climate change as a UN Special Envoy.
With the strong support of key member states like the United States, Germany and the UK, who have also supported addressing the security risks of climate change, the next Secretary General of NATO could make substantial gains in preparing the alliance for these risks. But it won’t be easy.
For more on the opportunities and challenges that await NATO’s next Secretary General, read the article here.
Updated 10/5/2017: The original link to the Defense News article is now broken. A PDF of the article produced by the Center for Climate and Security can be found here.