The rising role of the military due to climate change and pandemics- Ecological cooperation and joint fight against pandemics between the EU and Russia in the framework of the International Military Council on Climate and Security?
In view of the terrorism and the refugee crises, the use of the military inside has recently been discussed again. Gladly, reference is made to the lack of personnel from THW, aid organizations, police, some police unionists also demand an increase in personnel resources, but they also give the military a new role in the event of an emergency and overload. On the occasion of the death of Helmut Schmidt, reference is made time and again to the fact that it was he who enforced the deployment of the Bundeswehr and allied military forces during the Hamburg storm crisis despite constitutional concerns, which earned him the reputation of a crisis manager and pragmatist, making Helmut Schmidt the unwanted thought leaders of a military deployment that is now understood in the U.S. and especially the United Kingdom under the label of Sea Level Rise (SLR) – the military as the central crisis organization when rising ocean levels will flood the largest and most populated port cities and population centers along the inland rivers due to climate change.
What is not discussed at all the climate summits is that if climate change can no longer be avoided, which institutions can manage it, the military in question is taking a forward-looking approach to this issue, and the Bundeswehr and other militaries, particularly the US and British military, see themselves as future crisis managers. For this purpose, two major studies were commissioned by the Bundeswehr, which justify intervention by the Bundeswehr in domestic and foreign policy. Firstly, the peak oil study, which describes what would happen if our oil-based society would erode due to a lack of resources: the Bundeswehr would have to safeguard internal order and new energy sources abroad. Secondly, a study that sees an increased role of the Bundeswehr as a result of environmental crises, especially when coastal cities are flooded due to the rising ocean level and other environmental crises trigger refugee flows – so the Bundeswehr website writes
“The environmental dimensions of security
From January 2010 to December 2011, the department worked on the study „Armed Forces, Skills and Technologies in the 21st Century (SFT 21): Environmental Dimensions of Security“. This consists of two sub-studies, firstly „Peak Oil – Security Policy Implications of Scarce Resources“ and „Climate Impacts in Context: Implications for Security and Stability in the Middle East and North Africa“.
Sub-study 1: Peak Oil – scarce resources
The first sub-study “Peak Oil – Security Policy Implications of Scarce Resources” was approved and released by the Federal Ministry of Defense on January 21, 2011.
Sub-study 1: Peak Oil – scarce resources (PDF, 2.9 MB, 116 pages)
Sub-study 2: climate impacts in context
The second sub-study „Climate Impacts in Context: Implications for Security and Stability in the Middle East and North Africa“ examines to what extent the effects of climate change will endanger the stability of the countries in the MENA region in the future and what implications these destabilization potentials have for the security of Germany and its allies could result.
Sub-study 2: Climate impacts in context (PDF, 4.1 MB, 239 pages)
Here is the peak oil study to read:
It is by no means the case that only the Bundeswehr has such plans; meanwhile, the US and British military are also preparing for mass evacuations and relocations, logistical and infrastructural construction missions for the construction of new cities and maintaining internal order as a result of the increase in Sea level rise (SLR). China is also reproached for not conceptually preparing its military for the evacuation of its coastal cities and for granting it this future task, since, unlike in western countries, environmental policy is not yet so much a security policy or under the term “networked security” is seen:
„Why Has Sea Level Rise Not Been Securitized by the PLA?Publication: China Brief Volume: 15 Issue: 15July 31, 2015 By: Wilson VornDick
Securitization of Climate Change and SLR
At present, other governments are enlisting their militaries to reassess, create and insert mitigation and adaptation plans for climate change into their operational and strategic plans that include SLR. The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense published its first strategy in 2010 and the United States’ Department of Defense released its Climate Change Roadmap last year (MOD; DOD). In effect, climate change has slowly become securitized. So why has China not officially securitized climate change as its peers have?
China has more than 11,185 miles of coastline and over 6,700 islands; its economic and population centers are on, near, along, or near rivers and larger bodies of water. It has invested in expansive reclamation projects and territories along its littoral areas, including major portions of Hong Kong and Macao. The PLA and PLA-Navy maintain huge military facilities at Hainan Island, Ningbo and Lushun, and are actively involved in terriclaiming the South China Sea as part of China’s territorial ambitions there. Even if the waters do not rise as high as the extreme forecasts mentioned earlier, small levels of SLR and accompanying storm surges will threaten each of these areas. Disaster response alone by the PLA will not be sufficient to deal with SLR. With so many dire predictions and official government recognition of SLR, why have SLR mitigation and adaptation strategies not been officially recognized by the PLA, PLA-Navy and the Ministry of National Defense in their operational and strategic plans?
De-Securitization of Climate Change and SLR by the Chinese Military
In line with the government’s approach, Chinese security analysts have produced a growing body of studies and analysis on climate change. Even burgeoning analysts from China’s various graduate school programs have opined on climate change securitization. Yet, most Chinese academics and analysts compartmentalize the securitization aspect of climate change into the sub-category of non-traditional security challenges.This categorization includes desertification, extreme weather projections, resource security (especially food), population migrations, disaster response/relief, green energy initiatives and internal/external security.
One of the few to highlight SLR as a traditional security threat is Professor Zhang Haibin at Peking University. He has become one of China’s most widely recognized analysts on the subject and has written extensively on the broader link between Chinese national security and climate change for almost a decadeWhile he does focus on non-traditional security challenges, his research is unique because he includes more robust and broader sections devoted exclusively to SLR. In addition to Zhang Haibin’s research, one noteworthy study by four analysts from the Institute of Meteorology, PLA University of Science and Technology and the PLA (Army) concluded that SLR will “change the marine borderline and energy corridor pattern [in the Arctic], which will pose a threat to Chinese sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.” This study also recognized the hidden “benefits” from SLR, such as the opening of the Arctic to exploration and trade. Despite their efforts, there remains an overall dearth of SLR-security related material, research and studies by the Chinese security establishment. “
Rising sea levels will make the Pacific Islands disappear in the next two
decades, forcing some coastal regions to build fortifications. But if climate
protection does not curb global warming, it can also be expected that most
major cities, which are often coastal cities or are located in areas connected
to the oceans such as Shanghai, Canton, Shenzhen, Chongqing, London, New York ,
San Francisco, Boston, etc. can also be flooded. In this case, the US and
British military are already starting with plans that assign them a central
role in civil protection, evacuation, relocation, logistics and even in the
construction of new cities, as well as in maintaining the internal order and
supply of the population should. What we would then see would be a Hamburg
flood scenario in a much larger, continental dimension.
Magareth Atwood wrote what was probably the darkest black utopia of the military’s growing importance in the face of environmental crises: „The servant“ (The Handsmaid’s Tale), which was filmed by Volker Schlöndorff. Since women are becoming infertile due to the environmental crisis, the US military is establishing a religious-evangelical-fascist dictatorship in which all opposition will be suppressed and the women will be divided into three classes become. A clerical-fascist USA similar to Iran, the Republic of Gilead.
The danger always lies in the fact that, in the face of crises, the state of emergency can be declared quickly and the military could also play its own role, which is no longer subordinate, and maybe even with right-wing groups a new authoritarian dictatorship can be set up under the pretext of „constraints“ and an emergency . Therefore one should always keep in mind when reckless commentators want to question the constitution and give the military a central role. In the future, an eco-military coup might even be conceivable, in which the military, as a regulatory force, claims the political role for solving environmental disasters.
Interesting: There is now also an International Military Council on Climate and Security. On behalf of General Middendorp, Chair of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS), and the Honorable Sherri Goodman, Secretary General of the IMCCS the new organization published a World Climate and Security Report 2020.The IMCCS is a network of military, defense and security experts and professionals across the globe – both serving inside and outside governments – focused on analyzing and addressing the security implications of climate change. This includes through the publication of the IMCCS Expert Group’s World Climate and Security Report, as well as a number of other analytical, policy development and communications activities. See herefor the IMCCS website, which includes key information about the network, including the leadership team, participants and institutional partners.
„Who’s involved: The IMCCS is led by the Center for Climate and Security (CCS), an institute of the Council on Strategic Risks, in partnership with the Netherlands Institute of International Relations (Clingendael)/ the Planetary Security Initiative, the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (IRIS), and the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS), and also includes Institutional Partners from around the globe (please let us know if your institution would be interested in joining in that capacity as well). The IMCCS currently includes Participants hailing from 32 countries on every continent, and we look forward to expanding that number considerably this year .“
But maybe this could also be a field of ecological cooperation between the EU and Russia, maybe as a dialogue of Western and Russian militaries and security experts and politicians and environmental organizations. Maybe this is wishful thinking and daydreaming as military personnel as political personnel in the West and in the East are not very likely to abandon their conflict-biased worldview and Cold War thinking overnight, because enemy thinking is very pronounced, and a number of military personnel are also likely to regard this as fashionable civilian mainstream sissy pussy stuff.
However, it remains to be seen if the IMCCS will just be a green PR-window-dressing organization for NATO, old veterans and self-referential thinktank members or if the IMCCS will become an element of a so-called deeper state and an eco-NATO that hopes to be established if Trump should not be in power anymore.
Beyond the rising role of the military in climate protection, catastrophe relief (the US military and navy helped during the tsunami), another option could be a joint fight against pandemics. The German Bundeswehr is already involved in the fight against Covid 19 and Spain is calling for NATO for medical logistic support as its health system has reached its limits. Why not try to make some sort of cooperation including militaries of the world by the United Nation and the WHO?