Climate Change
Planetary Security Initiative
France, climate change key defence feature
© Public Domain 2017 Joe deSousa/wikimedia [CC0 1.0]

Initiated in 2015, the French Ministry for the Armed Forces organized the first international conference “Defence and climate: what are the stakes?”. Since then, the Ministry has been constantly adapting and developing its capacity of anticipation.

In October 2017, France identifies climate change as a key feature of the strategic environment. In its Strategic Review of Defence and National Security climate change is taken to increase the unpredictability and pose new forms of risks and threats. Now, the French Ministry of Defence published an official document of how climate change impacts on its work and what this means for France.

According to the French Ministry of Defence, climate change, combined with other political, economic, demographic and social factors, is degrading human security and global stability. It undermines the resilience of the most fragile states, whose populations are the first victims and are thus likely to favour the emergence of conflicts or crises. Environmental degradation poses a challenge to armed forces with regard to their operational adaptation and capacity.

Video: What is France’s view on climate security? – Interview with François Gemenne (adelphi)

France is directly exposed, on both its mainland and overseas territories: new health risks such as infectious diseases spread by tiger mosquitoes, security of critical infrastructures, particularly coastal ones, and increased need for surveillance of maritime areas, especially marine protected areas. The intensification of extreme weather events also amplifies the number and severity of humanitarian crises, requiring a greater mobilization of military forces, in support of the civil security forces.

At the international level, the action of the French armed forces is part of a logic of solidarity and prevention. Indeed, responsible for the world’s second economic exclusive zone, France contributes to disaster management operations on all oceans  and dedicates a significant military effort to protect marine ecosystems. These issues could lead to a change in the distribution of the missions and intervention capabilities of the armed forces.

Finally, the scale of territorial location and the level of resources consumption (energy in particular) of the French Ministry for the Armed Forces impose a specific responsibility on it to reduce its ecological footprint.

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