NATO: Climate Change Is Significant Security Threat and 'Its Bite Is Already Being Felt'
Faced with the mounting security threat of climate change, senior representatives from NATO states are adding their voice to the growing call for action ahead of the UN climate talks in Paris this December.
The latest call from NATO reflects a growing understanding of the risks posed by our changing climate. Photo Credit: Creative Commons / U.S. Army
In a resolution set to be approved by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly today, 250 senior members of parliament from member states warn that climate change is a significant security threat and “its bite is already being felt.”
French Parliamentarian Philippe Vitel and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s special rapporteur of the Science and Technology Committee said:
"If the world wants to stop irreversible damage to the planet, all governments must agree in Paris to clear, fair and ambitious targets to reduce emissions … The security of alliance members is at stake, climate change is increasing the risk of violent conflict by exacerbating known sources of conflict, like poverty and economic shocks. The time to act is now."
Climate risks represent “threat multipliers,” as rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns increase competition for food and water supplies, change migration patterns and refugee flows and threaten public health.
They also exacerbate existing social tensions, in turn “increasing the risk of violent conflict.” For example, mounting evidence shows the role drought and food insecurity played in the 2011 Arab Spring and the continued conflict in Syria.
Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti said:
"Addressing the pressing security challenges NATO is facing today, especially around the southern and eastern flanks of the alliance, must be the immediate priority. But, at the same time, to be an effective security organization there needs to be an eye to future threats. Amongst these threats is the impact of a changing climate, including the risks posed to geopolitical stability and global wellbeing."
Today’s resolution calls on NATO to increase its own consultations on climate change and examine how security strategies can take such risks into account.
It urges NATO governments to enhance planning for climate risks; make a greater commitment to green defense policies and intensify co-operation with partners in the Arctic, Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and other regions particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
Lieutenant General Tariq Waseem Ghazi, a member of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change and former defense secretary of Pakistan said:
"Growing competition for natural resources, heightened migration pressures, erratic water and food availability and increasingly frequent natural disasters are just a few of the ways that humanitarian impact from climate change is transforming the security agenda. Exacerbating conflict, changing livelihoods and forcing people into poverty, its bite is already being felt. It is imperative that we see a strong, coordinated response across borders."
The latest call from NATO reflects a growing understanding of the risks posed by our changing climate.
UK and U.S. military officials have long integrated climate threats into security planning and earlier this year, G7 foreign ministers also recognized that climate change "poses a threat to the environment, to global security and economic prosperity."
Today’s NATO resolution carries a clear message for governments: “Clear, fair and ambitious” emissions targets are vital to tackling climate risks.
It represents a strong call for governments to back an “ambitious” global climate agreement, that keeps “the rise in global average temperature to below 1.5C or 2C above preindustrial levels” and includes “regular reviews to encourage states to raise their ambitions.”
Lord Jopling, vice president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and former UK minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said:
"We need legally binding rules with regular reviews to encourage states to raise their ambitions. Far too often, governments promise grand commitments, but when you examine them later, very little is done about it."
The call from the security world adds growing weight to the global chorus of voices from all walks of life demanding strong climate action ahead of the UN climate talks to be held in Paris this December.
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theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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