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RELEASE: Amid European Heat Wave, International Military Network Releases Report Warning of Security Risks of Climate Change in the Balkans

By Elsa Barron

July 25, 2022 —  In the midst of one of Europe’s most punishing heat waves in recent memory, the Expert Group of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS Expert Group) today launched a new Climate Security Snapshot focused on the Balkans. The snapshot builds on findings from the Climate Security Risk Index (CSRI), a tool developed by Expert Group member The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. It is the second in a series of papers comprising the third annual World Climate and Security Report (WCSR).

The report warns that the Balkans face serious climate security risks. Intensifying climate change impacts such as drought, heatwaves (as witnessed this summer), and tropical storms may heighten existing post-conflict tensions, threaten Europe’s broader climate goals, and increase the region’s susceptibility to influence from the Russian and Chinese governments. Additionally, climate-induced migration flows from the Middle East and Africa through the region may be exploited by far right extremists. The ongoing conflict in neighboring Ukraine only further heightens these concerns.

According to the CSRI, when compared to other regions of Europe, the Balkans face some of the most severe climate risks. Globally, climate risks in the Balkans fall slightly below average, and its resilience falls almost exactly in the middle of the global standard (though it is a standard which is dropping due to accelerating climate change). All nations in the region except Albania at least slightly outperform in resilience when compared to risk. However, those relative measures do not minimize the region’s significant vulnerability to increasing climate disasters, especially when compared to other parts of Europe, not least given a recent history of ethnic and sectarian conflict, which studies have shown increases the likelihood of climate-driven conflict. 

Additionally, the report asserts that engaged climate security action—at a scale commensurate to the rapidly-increasing risks—can offer positive opportunities for post-conflict peacebuilding and cooperation in the Balkans, and can build a strong framework of human security for the region. Such efforts will be critical to continuing to mitigate and adapt to climate change and build peace, security, and climate resilience.

This climate security snapshot follows the release of the first report in the WCSR 2022 series, Decarbonized Defense: The Need for Clean Military Power in the Age of Climate Change. Future components of the series will include climate security snapshots in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Sahel as well as a report on climate security adaptation practices and gaps among NATO militaries.

Direct inquiries to: Andrew Facini, afacini@csrisks.org

Renewed Urgency of Climate Security Action: Launch of the 2022 World Climate and Security Report Series

By Elsa Barron

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has set off a tsunami of global effects, including food, fuel, fertilizer, and finance crises, explained Dr. Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center of Adaptation at the International Military Council on Climate and Security’s (IMCCS) 2022 World Climate and Security Report Series Launch

In the midst of these developing problems, NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges Hon. David van Weel explains that, “Climate change is an ongoing challenge, if we fail to slow it down, the results may be similar to those we can see in wars—famine, loss of land and livelihoods, and migration.”

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RELEASE: Decarbonized Defense: Kicking off the World Climate and Security Report 2022

June 7, 2022 —  Today the Expert Group of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS Expert Group) launched a new report, Decarbonized Defense: The Need for Clean Military Power in the Age of Climate Change, the first in a series of papers comprising the third annual World Climate and Security Report. The paper warns that militaries must accelerate efforts toward net zero to achieve a win-win-win: minimize fossil fuel-related operational vulnerabilities, undermine petro-dictators like Vladimir Putin, and combat climate change.  

The report reveals that there are high operational costs of continued fossil fuel use by militaries, and recommends that security leaders across NATO and the EU seize opportunities to ensure that low carbon considerations and energy efficiency standards are key factors in new procurement processes, research and innovation. The authors note that the war in Ukraine is a turning point for sustainable change, and that ministries and departments of defense can lead broader technological change across society by creating enough demand signals to spur innovation and enable the private sector to bring low-carbon solutions to the market. 

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RELEASE: International Military Council Issues “World Climate and Security Report 2021” Warning of Catastrophic Climate Risks and Urging Significant Greenhouse Gas Reductions

June 7, 2021 —  Today the Expert Group of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) released its second annual World Climate and Security Report, which warns of the compound security threats posed by the convergence of climate change with other global risks, such as COVID-19. The report reveals that the increasing pace and intensity of climate hazards will strain military and security services around the world as they are called on to respond to climate-driven crises, while also facing direct climate threats to their own infrastructure and readiness. The authors also call on security institutions around the globe to act as “leading voices urging significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, given recent warnings about the catastrophic security implications of climate change under plausible climate scenarios.”

The report will be released during a virtual seminar at 10 AM ET/4 PM CET today (RSVP here:  http://bit.ly/WCSR2021) featuring senior climate security experts from NATO, the United States, the UK, and Europe, including NATO Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges David van Weel, former Deputy Secretary General of NATO Rose Gotemoeller, Lt. Gen. Richard Nugee, UK Ministry of Defence, and Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Francois Bausch. 

UPDATE (8 June 2021). See a recording of the launch event below.

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