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NATO Secretary General – Climate and security, the new nexus, 21 JUN 2023 [Video]

Canadian Environment and Climate

NATO Secretary General – Climate and security, the new nexus, 21 JUN 2023

On Wednesday 21 June 2023, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg took part in a transatlantic conversation on climate and security, together with Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission, John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, and Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission.

The event was organised by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and was be held at TownHall Europe, Square de Meeus 5, Brussels.

🗣 | NATO Secretary General:

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:
I will answer that question in a moment but let me just start by thanking Ian Lesser, the German Marshall Fund and also you Heather for convening us and hosting this event because it is actually a special event. We have four men at their best age but representing very heavy and important institutions and addressing the future climate change, which is so important for our future, and I am glad we are here demonstrating that unity and that commitment.
Yes, there is a hot war going on in Europe but NATO has to address climate change because NATO cannot remain a fossil fuel Alliance in the age of renewables. And the war in Ukraine has actually demonstrated how energy and climate change is linked or security, because President Putin used energy, the gas to try to coerce NATO Allies from providing support to Ukraine. So this demonstrates the link between energy and climate change and the security. Climate change matters for our security, therefore it matters for NATO and therefore we have put climate change much higher on the NATO agenda over the last couple of years. Then it is not enough not only to say that this is a problem, we try to do something with it.
Let me just briefly mention three areas where we actually are now addressing climate change as NATO.
First, we need to mitigate, we need to reduce emissions because if you look at battle tanks, warships, the big bombers, there are many things but they are not very climate friendly. They consume a lot of over fossil fuels and they need a lot. So if we are going to reach global net zero, we need also to reduce the quite substantial emissions from military activities, which takes also a place in peacetime. I returned yesterday from the biggest ever air exercise in NATO, in Germany, and of course, we emitted a lot of co2 with all those planes flying in the air. So therefore, we need to develop the technology, we have an innovation fund and we have a center of excellence in Canada on climate change, Now Allies started to step up to find ways to reduce emissions without reducing the effectiveness of our military capabilities. Because if Allies are forced to choose between climate friendly green battle tank or a strong battle tank, they will choose the strong battle tank. So the only way to make this happen is to reconcile the need for climate friendly, but also with military effectiveness in the different capabilities. Things are moving in the right direction. We have some tools for investing more in technology. Secondly, to adapt because global warming changed our security environment. More competition over scarce resources: land, water, millions of people forced to flee but also the military, they operate outside, and more flooding, more extreme weather, more heat waves will affect everything from uniforms to doctrines to equipment. So we need to adjust. Rising sea levels affect a large portion of NATO naval bases. So we need to change the way we actually conduct military operations. And thirdly, we need to ensure that we don’t create new vulnerabilities because we saw how vulnerable we were when we were to depend on Russian gas. Now we welcome the transition that the EU is leading on moving from Russian gas to other and more sustainable energy and resources, to solar to wind, to electricity, to batteries. The only problem is that we by doing that transition that we all support, risk [of] creating new vulnerabilities on rare earth minerals from China.

Transcript continues:

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