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Can Enemies Become Allies in the Fight Against Climate Change?


Two of the main themes discussed during the G-7 meeting in June were collective security and climate change action. But an opportunity was missed by separating the issues.

Recently, the U.S. and U.K. governments started to consider climate change as a security threat and a driver of instability, even referencing it in their defense strategies. One of the main concerns for both U.S. and British defense officials is that climate change can create conditions that will increase hostilities between or within nations.

These conditions include droughts, floods, wildfires, storms, and other natural disasters that may lead to food and water shortages, mass migration, and outbreaks of disease—potentially leading to violent conflicts over land or resources or civil outrage that could destabilize governments. Climate change also brings an emerging need for military forces to assist in relief efforts or fight under increasingly extreme weather conditions. The latter requires new ways of training as well as new equipment adaptable to extreme environmental conditions, such as prolonged heat waves and storms.

However, climate change should not only be considered a threat. It can also be an opportunity for cross-border collaboration. Indeed, transnational regional military and civilian collaborations may be able to do what trade once […]

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