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How to decarbonise defence: International Military Council shares guidelines

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    21st Jun, 2022

Context

International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) recently released a report on the need to decarbonise defence agencies across the world.

About

Key highlights of the report:

  • Only a handful of the 30 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) share information on the carbon footprint from their defence activities
  • The world’s defences are dominated by the use of fossil fuels, which serve as a reliable and efficient means to operate the forces across the world.
    • But military fuel consumption does not only pose a problem in terms of operations but also involves high expenses and dependence on external suppliers.
  • The Russian army attack on a fuel storage facility in Odessa in southern Ukraine in April 2022, for instance, crippled the Ukrainian troops fighting the Russians near the Mikolayev front.
  • The recent risks and the commitments of the United States and the European Union to become carbon neutral by 2050 and the recent conflict have compelled the western international organisations and the European Union (EU) to accelerate the process of military decarbonisation.

Key recommendations:

  • High technology innovations such as use of bio-fuel, could help to shift them to low-carbon alternatives thus evolving the modernisation process.
  • To bring hybrid vehicles or alternative fuel technologies to reduce reliance on fossil energy.
  • Concerted move in such a direction to combat climate change by phasing out use of fossil energy can also work as weapon against Russia in its war against the Ukraine.

NATO’s stand

  • In 2010, NATO acknowledged the link between climate change and security for the first time in its report Strategic Concept.
    • The Allied forces have prioritised adaptation to the drawbacks of climate change on various aspects of the military such as its installations, equipment, force readiness and operations.
  • NATO strongly believes that decarbonisation can be achieved by initially introducing innovations and sustainable solutions in sectors of operating buildings, facilities, short and medium distance vehicles, equipment and energy consumption.
  • NATO is not a first responder to climate change. This role is played by other international bodies, in particular those who can set limits on CO2 emissions.
    • NATO instead seeks to become “the leading international organization when it comes to understanding and adapting to the impact of climate change on security.

International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS):

  • IMCCS is a group of senior military leaders, security experts, and security institutions across the globe dedicated to anticipating, analysing, and addressing the security risks of a changing climate.
  • The launch of the IMCCS was announced at The Hague, Netherlands, in 2019 in response to a growing demand from military professionals for sharing information and best practices on addressing the security and military dimensions of climate change.
  • Governance: The IMCCS is administered by the Center for Climate and Security (CCS), an institute of the Council on Strategic Risks, and consists of three main entities.
    • IMCCS Leadership: The IMCCS Leadership is a multi-organizational consortium made up of an Expert Group, Executive Committee and Secretariat who govern the activities of the IMCCS.
    • IMCCS: The IMCCS is a Council of senior military leaders and security experts from the governmental and non-governmental sectors, consisting of the full Council and an IMCCS Expert Group.
    • IMCCS Institutional Partners: IMCCS Institutional Partners are security organizations, networks and donors that formally affiliate with the IMCCS.
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