Here's What You Need to Know: NATO wants to take on climate change.
War, what is good for? Certainly not the environment, and as a result, the tanks rolling across Europe could soon be green, and not just the paint scheme. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has addressed the fact that the militaries of the world emit a considerable amount of greenhouse gases, and has called upon efforts for the tanks to go green by adding solar panels.
Stoltenberg called up efforts to develop low-emitting vehicles at an online seminar titled New Ideas for NATO 2030.
“NATO should do its part to look into how we can reduce emissions from military operations,” Stoltenberg said during the Chatham House. “We know that heavy battle tanks or fighter jets and naval ships, they consume a lot of fossil fuel and emit greenhouse or co2, greenhouse gases, co2, and therefore we do have to look into how we can reduce those emissions by alternative fuels, solar panels, other ways of running our missions.”
In addition to being good for the environment and reducing the carbon footprint, Stoltenberg has suggested that by adding solar panels, tanks could become less reliant on fossil fuels and that will increase the resilience of troops and military operations.
“Along supply lines, vulnerable supply lines, as always, for two decades, been a critical vulnerability for many different military operations so if we can make us less dependent on that, we are both reducing emissions, but at the same time, increasing the military effectiveness, the resilience of our troops,” the NATO chief added. “So, so we are working on that with different projects to look into how we can make our militaries greener and less dependent on fossil fuels.”
According to The National News, “the carbon emissions from a 60-tonne US Abrams main battle tank are calculated to be the equivalent of 10 Mercedes-Benz cars.”
Combating Climate Change
While NATO was originally created to help keep the peace in Europe and to address a potential threat from the Soviet Union, in the twenty-first-century climate change could be among the new threats it will take on.
Stoltenberg stated that climate change can impact security, as global warming puts pressure on people and resources and in turn makes the world a more dangerous place. As a result, it could make it harder for military forces to keep the peace.
“Therefore, we all have a responsibility to do more to combat climate change,” Stoltenberg explained. “Which is why we are looking at how NATO can play our part in reaching Net Zero.”
The NATO head also said that climate change is a serious issue for a multitude of reasons.
“One of them is that climate change affects our security,” he added. “Climate change is a crisis multiplier. And therefore, it matters for NATO, and therefore, NATO has to address the security consequences of climate change. One of the reasons I want to, as part of NATO 2030 to launch a process where NATO is adapting, developing a new Strategic Concept is that actually in the existing Strategic Concept we agreed back in 2010, climate change is hardly mentioned, it is mentioned [in a] one-word tiny reference to climate change.”
Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Amazon.com.
This article first appeared in February 2021.