L-R: General Tom Middendorp; François Bausch, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence; Roland Reiland, Deputy Director of the Directorate of Defence; Credit: MAEE / Directorate of Defence

On Friday 14 February 2020, General Tom Middendorp presented the "World Climate and Security Report" for the first time in Luxembourg.

Tom Middendorp, the former Chief of Defence of the Armed forces of the Netherlands, presented the report in the Grand Duchy ahead of its official introduction (also by General Middendorp) at the 2020 Munich Security Conference this weekend.

Indeed, the International Military Council on Climate and Security has examined in the report the impact of climate change on human security in the world and hence on the defence sector and offers a summary of the current situation along with several recommendations.

While climate change is not considered to be the direct and sole cause of conflict, it is nevertheless described as a multiplier of risks and threats in an environment often marked by other weaknesses and worrying developments, such as poverty, high population growth, generally weak governance and, as a result, increased competition around access to natural resources, including arable land and drinking water, which are essential for human life and survival.

During today's presentation, Tom Middendorp advocated military efforts playing a key role in helping to identify and resolve problems related to climate change: "It is no longer exclusively up to lobbies to raise awareness, but also to generals and officers".

Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, François Bausch, confirmed that Luxembourg is engaging in this discussion at the national level in order to reduce the carbon footprint of its army and at the international level by introducing the subject to the agenda of the EU Council of Ministers of Defence and to the UN and NATO respectively.

Deputy Prime Minister Bausch explained: “The Härebierg barracks is completely renovated in accordance with the standards for reducing the energy consumption of existing buildings, in order to improve their energy performance. In addition, as much energy as possible will come from renewable sources". He added: “When it comes to acquiring new vehicles, we are focusing on hybrid and even electric models. In any case, the new calls for tenders will bear the signature of environmental sustainability criteria. In general, these criteria will be applied to all acquisitions and renovations, such as the shooting range at Bleesdall or the ammunition depot at Waldhof. Two thirds of the land now belonging to the Waldhof military zone will be returned in full to the Natura 2000 zone, free of any ammunition residue”.

The World Climate and Security Report 2020 can be downloaded from: https://imccs.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/World-Climate-Security-Report-2020_2_13.pdf.