GLASGOW (VG) The defense sector has so far been exempted from climate-related obligations. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wants to change that now. He warns that the first concrete plan for military climate cuts will come in June.
At NATO, we are now working on a system of joint mapping and military emissions measurement. Together with member countries, we determine how to reduce these emissions. Stoltenberg told VG that there will be concrete proposals for the NATO summit in June 2022.
On Tuesday, the NATO chief will attend the United Nations climate summit for the first time. Stoltenberg was invited by the summit chair, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
– All member states have committed to reducing emissions, countries spend about 2% of their resources on defense, and there are emissions-heavy activities such as sailing and flights. Stoltenberg says it will not be possible to achieve the climate goals without making deep cuts in military emissions.
Stoltenberg in a speech to the climate summit: – Making the world more dangerous
He had his own exception
Acknowledges that it is time to start this work:
– I was personally at the Kyoto Climate Summit in 1997. In the Kyoto Agreement, the defense sector was expressly exempted from climate obligations, and since then this sector has not been mentioned in international climate agreements. The reason why no progress has been made is that this sector is not included in these agreements. Stoltenberg explains that when NATO takes this seriously, it is new to us.
The climate threat was first mentioned in the context of NATO at the previous summit in London in 2019.
The defense sector is a major consumer of fossil fuels. It costs a lot of money to deliver. He describes the transportation of fuel as expensive and dangerous:
“Carrying diesel to camps in Afghanistan, and driving tankers through mountain passes, was one of our most vulnerable operations,” Stoltenberg says.
He should take care of the defensive ability
At the same time, organizations should realize that climate reductions must not lead to a weakening of defense capacity:
– We can’t compromise on security. There is little demand for fighter jets that fly slower and have shorter range. But I think it’s entirely possible to find energy-efficient solutions, and I don’t think it will be long before we see both fighter planes and military ships that are more energy efficient, says the NATO chief.
Stoltenberg was interested in another climatic dimension of security policy;
Climate change exacerbates the risk of war and conflict. People are forced to flee due to climate change, and there is a struggle for resources such as clean water. He says it makes the world more dangerous.
The third challenge to military forces is that climate change presents a challenge to military operations:
We must adapt our operations to the changes. In Iraq, NATO personnel endured days of temperatures in excess of 50°C. It affects how we work. Stoltenberg explains that melting ice and rising sea levels are challenging our naval bases, and storms are affecting our ability to fly and sail.
Was there a strong opposition to climate action among the military?
This is unfamiliar and new to many. But he says I still feel the message of adapting to climate change is being appreciated.
Marine: Climate must be taken into account
Admiral Ron Andersen is the commander of the Norwegian Navy. He agrees with Stoltenberg that the Armed Forces and Navy cannot expect any climate exception:
We must also reduce the climate footprint of our activity,” Andersen wrote in an email to VG.
The Norwegian Navy is now working on planning for the next generation of surface ships:
– Opportunity space opens when old ships expire and new ships will be purchased, at the end of this decade and until the end of the next. He also writes that new technologies such as autonomous systems also provide opportunities to reduce the climate footprint.
We want to benefit from the development of green shipping and to have climate-friendly ships of the future. There are some challenges with the military use of alternative energy sources, but the development is fast and we must follow it. Andersen adds.
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