Business & Investment

NATO fights climate threats after Trump leaves

If the US military were a nation-state, a 2019 study found that it would be the 47th largest emitter of global warming greenhouse gases in the world.

Lancaster University and Durham University in the United Kingdom considered only emissions from fuel use in their research, but noted the significant impact of military forces around the world on the Earth’s climate.

Faced with the fight against global warming, NATO For the first time, it was the central focus of planning and strategy.

Leaders of the Western military alliance agreed on Monday to a climate action plan to make the military carbon-neutral by 2050, set to adapt to the threat posed by global warming.

NATO diplomats say focus efforts Climate change I was in trouble during Donald Playing cardsPresident of the United States. He called climate change a “hoax” and removed the United States from the International Paris Agreement to combat climate change.

Trump also expressed a lack of confidence in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and threatened to withdraw the United States from an alliance formed in 1949 to contain the Soviet military threat in 2018.

With US President Joe Biden now prioritizing climate change, diplomats said NATO was able to address concerns that climate change poses a threat to both transatlantic security and allies. It was.

“This is a decisive challenge in our time and we must be the leading organization,” a senior European NATO diplomat told Reuters.


The armed forces of NATO member states have long recognized that climate change has a significant impact on security, with increased migration, floods at coastal NATO bases, and Russia’s presence in the Arctic as sea ice melts. It is expected that the feeling will expand.

However, in order to reduce their own climate warming emissions from the use of fossil fuels, NATO has set fuel standards throughout the organization, and member states need reform at the heart of the alliance.

By promising to reduce net CO2 emissions by 2050, NATO’s Action Plan aims to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (34.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Will align the organization with the route.

According to a 2019 study by Boston University’s Neta Crawford, achieving that goal means reducing military emissions that are often exempt from the country’s carbon emission goals.

According to experts, EU countries underreport emissions from their troops, but a study commissioned by the European Parliament found that EU military spending carbon dioxide emissions in 2019 were about 24.8 million tons of carbon dioxide. It was calculated in February that it is in carbon equivalent and is about the same as CO2 emissions. Released from about 14 million cars.

An unnamed German defense expert said main battle tanks such as the German Leopard 2 would eject 400 liters (106 gallons) of diesel in the field to cover just 100 km (62 miles). .. According to a report by the International Energy Agency in 2020, the average fuel consumption of small private vehicles in the United States in 2018 was 9.4 liters per 100 km.

Tank battles are also at risk of becoming more severe under global warming. According to military sources, during the NATO exercise in Poland in 2019, the temperature of German Ocelot tanks exceeded 40 degrees Celsius, allowing soldiers to spend only a few hours at a time.

Some NATO allies are working to reduce electricity usage or are integrating climate forecasting models into their military missions. Germany has the first carbon-neutral barracks, producing almost entirely energy from geothermal power and solar panels. The Dutch army can use solar panels instead of diesel generators during operation.

“Crisis multiplier”

NATO Secretary-General Jason Stoltenberg and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres describe climate change as a “crisis multiplier.”

The military also expects more operations in climate-sensitive areas as the military is sought to support efforts to combat climate-induced natural disasters. Such crisis management is one of NATO’s basic missions due to its ability to provide food supply and logistical and medical assistance quickly.

In 2018, eight of the ten countries with the highest number of people involved in multilateral peace operations were in areas of high climate change, according to a study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. ..

Allies are also testing more equipment to work in the cold. European defense sources told Reuters that the durability of assets on the battlefield has always been a priority.

According to diplomats, after Biden replaced Trump, Stoltenberg, a former UN climate change envoy, began promoting NATO’s climate agreement. The allies have not yet determined the amount of climate-related investment that NATO will jointly fund.

“The security policy community is more clearly aware that climate change is the driving force of conflict,” said Jamie Shea, a former NATO official at the Friends of Europe think tank in Brussels.

Experts say that one of NATO’s biggest contributions in the medium term will be to increase the use of synthetic fuels instead of fossil fuels, as military assets take decades to develop and have a longer lifespan than civilian vehicles. Says.

Synthetic fuels produced from water, CO2 and renewable energy do not cause pollution by sulfur or nitrogen and still have high energy densities. NATO’s standard fuel, which powers airplanes and ships, is kerosene, one of the more polluted fuels.

The Bundeswehr of the German Army may begin adding synthetic fuels to conventional fuels within a few years.

However, the electric tank is not an option.

“It will be difficult to set up a charging station on the battlefield before the battle begins,” said an unnamed German defense source.

NATO fights climate threats after Trump leaves NATO fights climate threats after Trump leaves

Back to top button