18 Mar 2024, 12:57
Sören Amelang

Germany’s military gears up for new geopolitical tensions with climate strategy

Clean Energy Wire / Table.Media / The Guardian

Germany’s defence ministry expects climate change to have a profound impact on security issues and has presented a plan to prepare its military for the new challenges. "We must be prepared for climate change and strategically anticipate its effects," defence minister Boris Pistorius wrote in the preface of the "Strategy on Defence and Climate Change". During the presentation of the paper, Pistorius warned of a "drastic change in our geopolitical foundations", with a particular focus on the Arctic. "Ever larger parts of the Arctic are becoming navigable waters. We have to assume that this will also lead to an increasing military presence, especially by Russia," Pistorius said, according to a Table.Media report.

The strategy warned that higher temperatures and extreme weather events will "threaten or even destroy" the livelihoods of many people, which could result in social unrest, instability, and migration. "The geopolitical consequences could also be immense in the foreseeable future: new shipping routes will open up in the Arctic as the ice melts, and competition for resources may also increase," the strategy explains. "All of this harbours the potential for conflicts, geopolitical tensions and shifts in power, which is why climate change is relevant to security policy and must and will be extensively incorporated into the analysis, assessment and management of conflicts in the future."

The strategy lists eight areas of action to prepare the defence ministry and the German Federal Forces (Bundeswehr) for the impacts of climate change, with the aim of ensuring "full and continued operational readiness for future mission accomplishment". These include an early warning system to recognise impacts early and draw relevant conclusions, research and development to adapt Bundeswehr capabilities, integrating climate change impacts in military planning and training, and ensuring the functioning of defence-related infrastructure.

The EU opened an office in Greenland on 15 March to reinforce Europe's presence in the wider Arctic region. The move comes as demand for green-technology raw materials and competition from China increase the territory’s strategic importance, The Guardian reported.

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