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06 Oct 2020, 13:03
Benjamin Wehrmann

German military needs to adapt to momentous climate change challenges – defence minister

Clean Energy Wire

German defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has said the country's military needs to better adapt to the challenges posed by climate change and improve its equipment as well as its strategic approach. The effects of climate change are "a central challenge for global stability and security" that will keep Germany's military, the Bundeswehr, busy in the next years, Kramp-Karrenbauer said in an e-mailed statement to journalists following a regular government press conference. This is due to both to increasing climate-related conflicts abroad, for example in the drought-stricken Sahel region in northern Africa, and to climate-related disasters at home, for example in the battle against forest fires. "We have to restructure our armed forces so that they become resilient and able to react to the consequences of climate change," she said. Besides a corresponding modernisation of the Bundeswehr's logistics and equipment, this would also involve crisis monitoring and training. At the same time, the German military already sought to make its own activities more climate-friendly, Kramp-Karrenbauer added. She argued that a more extensive use of green technology by the military would amount to a "win-win-situation" for the Bundeswehr and the country's climate action efforts. "If we make the right investments – in efficiency or sustainable and climate-neutral energy systems – this will help us save money and is helping us to persevere in crises thanks to own energy generation." 

According to the defence ministry (BMVg), the Bundeswehr achieved a significant greenhouse gas emissions reduction in the past years. The military's total CO2 emissions dropped 20 percent, from 1.78 tonnes to 1.45 million tonnes between 2015 and 2019, even though the Bundeswehr's activities in the framework of NATO missions expanded during that period. Especially with respect to transport emissions, the military achieved a drastic reduction of more than 46 percent since 2005, making "green mobility" in the Bundeswehr much more successful than in the country as a whole, the ministry said.

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