Secretary General at COP28: climate change matters for our security, and therefore it matters to NATO
Attending the COP28 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai on Friday (1 December 2023), NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg underlined that “climate change matters for our security, and therefore it matters to NATO”. Speaking at a high-level leaders’ event on climate security organised by the COP28 Presidency and the Munich Security Conference, Mr Stoltenberg underlined NATO’s commitment to fight climate change and be a part of the global solution to a global challenge.
In a panel discussion, the Secretary General emphasised the need to manage the security impact of climate change, saying that “climate change creates crisis and crisis undermines the possibility for combating climate change.” Given the inextricable link between the two, he explained that climate change is therefore at the core of NATO’s mission for pursuing peace and security for the Alliance.
He also emphasised the need to ensure the energy transition away from fossil fuels and towards secure and renewable energy supplies. He said: “we need to ensure that when we implement the energy transition away from fossil fuels to more reliable and less polluting sources of energy, we have to make sure that we don't do that in a way which undermines energy security.” “Russia used gas as a tool to try to coerce us after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. We should not make the same mistakes as we develop a new renewable energy sources,” he said. NATO is “therefore investing in programmes to develop new more environmentally [friendly] technologies” that will “reduce the [reliance on] fossil fuels,” he added.
NATO is adapting its militaries, both to the changing climate and to reduce emissions. The Secretary General said NATO has prioritised addressing climate change at the top of its agenda and agreed specific targets to reduce emissions from NATO bodies and commands by 2030 “and by 2050, we should be as a net zero in the armed forces.” He added that NATO is harnessing technological innovation in green defence and integrating climate considerations into its military plans, exercises and capabilities.
The panel discussion included Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas , Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme Inger Andersen, Founding Director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy Jason Bordoff, and Chairman of the Munich Security Conference Christoph Heusgen.
The Secretary General also met other international leaders, including President of Iraq Abdul Latif Rashid, and President of Mauritania Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, Polish President Andrzej Duda, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit to Dubai.