NATO steps up work on climate change and security

NATO released three major reports contributing to Allies’ increased understanding of the impact of climate change on NATO’s strategic environment, missions and operations, and the adaptation of their armed forces required to maintain operational effectiveness.

"When temperatures reach 50°C, helicopters cannot take off due to hotter and less dense air" - NATO Climate Change & Security Impact Assessment report“When temperatures reach 50°C, helicopters cannot take off due to hotter and less dense air” – NATO Climate Change & Security Impact Assessment report

NATO’s 2023 Climate Change and Security Impact Assessment demonstrates how extreme weather conditions create operational stress and shorten the life cycles of military equipment, generating additional maintenance and replacement costs. The assessment, which builds on findings from the first 2022 edition, focuses on four geographical regions (Europe, North America, the Middle East and North Africa/the Sahel, and the High North), and four of NATO’s operational domains. It uses three specific case studies to underpin its recommendations on adapting to a climate changed future operating environment: the impact of extreme heat on NATO Mission Iraq; the effects of rising sea levels and storms on Norfolk Naval Station in the US; and those of flooding on the Naval Air Station in Sigonella, Italy.

The Compendium of Best Practice provides concrete examples of Allied efforts to adapt to climate change through the introduction of relevant policies and procedures into their armed forces while reducing their environmental footprint. The introduction of energy efficient and environmentally sustainable technological solutions combines capability requirements on innovation with military effectiveness, while ensuring interoperability and enhancing mission endurance. This facilitates NATO’s exploitation of the ongoing transition to low-carbon energy sources and helps inform the development of an implementation plan for NATO’s Energy Transition by Design.

The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Mapping and Analytical Methodology provides guidelines and tools to calculate emissions from the civilian and military facilities (installations and assets) of the NATO Enterprise. The Methodology will help NATO as an organisation to reach its emission reduction targets.