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Sustainable Development and Adaptation to Climate Change: A Role for Defence? The French perspectives

  • A. Brassel-Day
  • B. Reysset
  • R. Nyer
Conference paper
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security book series (NAPSC)

Abstract

Since the mid-2000s, there have been debates on the issue of whether Defence should be involved in the fight against climate change. Many reports were issued by various actors among the American defence and security community (See CNA (2007) National Security and the threat of climate change. CNA Corporation, Alexandria). The CNA Military Advisory Board has issued three other reports on the link between energy and national security), eventually leading the US and the UK to identify climate change as a security issue in their respective security doctrines (US Department of Defence (2010) Quadriennal defence review (QDR) 2010. DOD, Washington, DC); UK Cabinet Office (2008) The national security strategy of the United Kingdom: security in an interdependent world; UK Government (2010) Securing Britain in an age of uncertainty: the strategic defence and security review). There was and still remains much defiance and mistrust from traditional actors in the climate change debate towards the defence and security community. Even after the subject was discussed within the UN (UN Secretary-General’s report on “Climate change and its possible security implications” (A/64/350), prepared in response to the request of member States, in UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 63/281 (2009)) and the European Union (2008 Paper from the High Representative and the European Commission to the European Council on climate change and international security (S133/08)), under the broad topic of the links between climate change and international security, the path for action and the possible role of Defence is not yet agreed upon. Climate negotiations are progressing slower than ever while the negative effects of climate change are already being felt around the world.

In the meantime, the Defence community has been learning to integrate environmental constraints into its activities for some time; many initiatives are now taken at various levels (national and international) to lessen the defence-related activities’ impact on the environment, including its GHG (greenhouse gases) emissions. The Defense community should identify the risks posed by climate change to global and national security and how they impact Defence planning and missions; and ensure that Defence activities contribute as little as possible to the causes of climate change. In order to be sustainable, there needs to be an integration of mitigation and adaptation.

The goal of this chapter is to illustrate that climate change is already a fundamental determinant of our future and that, as such, it cannot be ignored by defence planners. By learning from the experience of the French Defence regarding sustainable development, we are able to better define potential adaptations to climate change.

After a brief definition of the French context regarding adaptation, we will first describe the French Defence approach regarding Sustainable Development and its current evolution. We will then discuss the need for a strategic approach to climate change adaptation for Defence and how it can build on the Sustainable Development policy. Finally, we will try to draw lessons and define next steps to tackle this complex issue.

Keywords

Climate Change Adaptation Plan International Security Sustainable Development Strategy Climate Change Impact Assessment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MOD/DASParisFrance
  2. 2.ONERCParisFrance
  3. 3.RNC ConseilParisFrance

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