A NATO centre for climate security? Canada and Holland say yes

The Netherlands threw its support behind a new NATO centre of excellence to study the security threats posed by climate change during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s official visit to Holland.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said during a joint media conference with Trudeau Friday that like many around the world, “NATO is also focusing more attention on the climate issue.”

“And that’s the reason why we are working on the NATO centre of excellence on climate and security, ” he said, standing next to Trudeau.

“Canada has offered to host the centre. In the Netherlands’ view, Canada would be the perfect home for this platform, given a strong profile and commitment to this important issue.”

Trudeau first announced the intention to ask allies to support the development of such a centre during the NATO leaders’ summit in Brussels in June.

The hope is to have the design and negotiation process take place this year and next, and start establishing the centre itself in 2023. Canada said the centre would help NATO members better understand, adapt to and mitigate against the security implications of climate change.

Earlier this month, the United States released climate security strategies from several departments, including Defence, Homeland Security and Commerce, to look at ways to deal with how climate disasters could force mass migrations of people, exacerbating conflict and starting new wars.

The Pentagon and British defence departments have been developing climate security plans for more than a decade.

The new Canadian centre would become a strategic addition to the more than two dozen such NATO think-tanks. The centres offer the military alliance expertise and research capability to develop doctrines and approaches to a vast array of global security challenges.

They are headquartered mainly in European countries, and are devoted to the study of civil-military operations, cyber defence, military medicine, energy security, naval mine warfare, anti-terrorism, cold weather operations, among others.

In recent years, NATO’s cyber…