This Info Flash analyses the environmental concerns that have climbed to the top of the international agenda. The armed forces and the defence sector as a whole are not exempt from this trend. Moreover, the defence sector's environmental footprint is massive, making it necessary for the armed services to devise new policies and activities targeted at minimizing this footprint. These changes represent both a threat to military institutions and an opportunity to implement new technologies that can improve operational and military capabilities (Duncan, 2023). Understanding the effects of climate change, thus, is critical for gaining a knowledge advantage. The military has to understand how climate change and shifting climatic conditions affect strategy and operational conduct. Extreme weather events, for example, may have an impact not only on the operability of military capabilities but also on their efficiency and military installations as a whole. In the future, we are also expected to witness more conflicts caused by climate change, for which security agencies will need to prepare (Wigell & Hakala, 2022).
Anthropocene is the name of the current geological era, in which humanity acts on the planet as a geophysical force (Stromberg, 2013). Human adaptability to the new era consists of the ability to generate new tools that can navigate technological challenges, ingrained habits of thought and the fabric of everyday life, and to describe the disproportionate influence humans exert on their environment and global ecology (Caprioglio, 2019). From this narrative, the defence sector is not exempt. This is reflected in the process of adapting to new challenges has caused NATO's focus to be broadened to include risks arising from climate change. Although the 2010 NATO Strategic Concept mentions climate change, the Atlantic Alliance has only recently begun to address the issue in a more concrete way.
The issue of climate change is renowned for its global implications, not only on the environment but also on humans. Nevertheless, one of the shifts least touched upon is how the melting of the Arctic ice is changing the geopolitical theatre. All the major international actors are aware of this and have already developed policies to exploit or adapt to this shift. In this context, we witness bids from countries’ representatives and military exercises in the region.