In his speech, the Secretary General said that climate change may have “potentially huge security implications”, and called for a change in our approach.
“We know that there will be more extreme weather events – catastrophic storms and flooding. If anyone doubts the security implications of that – and the political difficulties, for that matter – look at what happened in New Orleans in 2006.”
Mr Rasmussen stressed that these security concerns are not only a military issue, but that traditional security structures will have an important role to play. “I believe that NATO should begin a discussion on how we – NATO as an organisation, and individual Allies as well – can do better to address the security aspects of climate change.”
Lord Peter Levene, Chairman of Lloyd’s, a leading specialist insurance market, opened the conference. “Our sophisticated, industrialised and complex world is under attack from a myriad of determined and deadly threats,” he said. “If we do not take action soon, we will find ourselves, like Gulliver, pinned to the ground and helpless, because we failed to stop a series of incremental changes while we still could.”
Other speakers included Mr Jaak Aaviksoo, Estonian Minister of Defence, and Mr Efthimios Mitropoulos, Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization.
The event brought together some 200 high-level representatives from the security and business community.
The Secretary General’s speech and photos from the event are available on NATO’s website.