As Europe’s biggest land war in decades ravages Ukraine, NATO is trying to ensure the effectiveness of its combat forces without neglecting the fight against climate change, the head of NATO said Wednesday.
The world’s major militaries are among the largest consumers of hydrocarbons—fuels and oils—that contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases. Recently, they are in high demand, because global warming has created conflicts and crises due to the scarcity of resources and food.
The main problem facing NATO in solving the problem, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview with The Associated Press, is the difficult choice “between a green army or a strong one.”
What NATO needs, he added, is to “reconcile the need for strong and effective armed forces with the need for climate-friendly armed forces.”
Last year, in its new “Strategic Concept” – which is the mission statement of the world’s largest security organization – NATO recognized, for the first time, climate change as “a specific challenge in our time, which will have a major impact on allied security.”
The document acknowledges that the “infrastructure, assets and bases of the 31-nation alliance are vulnerable to its effects.” He warned that NATO armies are forced to operate in more severe weather conditions and are increasingly being asked to participate in disaster relief operations.
“Climate change has the effect of increasing the crisis. It increases the competition for scarce resources such as water and land, and drives millions of people to leave their countries. That’s why all this affects our security,” Stoltenberg told the AP at NATO headquarters in Brussels.