From the Desk of the Editor
Dear Reader of Atlantica,
While the environmental and economic effects of climate change have been widely discussed around the world for decades, especially among younger generations, the security and military effects of the current climate crisis are much less explored, with NATO adding its response to climate change to its agenda only in recent years. For NATO, the security implications of climate change are seen most clearly in the Arctic: a region that should be noted not only for its melting ice caps and sea level rise but also its rising Great Power competition. Therefore, in this issue of Atlantica, our authors explore the effects of climate change on the Arctic and the new geopolitical competition in the region as one of NATO’s primary concerns surrounding climate change.
In his article, “The Northern Flank: NATO’s emerging role in the Arctic”, Filip Walczak discusses potential frameworks for cooperation in the Arctic within NATO, including joint defence investments and a joint Arctic Command. He argues that NATO is the best forum for Western countries to create a common stance on Arctic matters and firmly reply to foreign adversaries as well as an opportunity for NATO to show its modern, ecological approach to security. Next, Alessio Cartosio asks how NATO can balance its commitment to climate change and security in his article, “Walking on thin ice: NATO, climate change and the Arctic.” While developing an official NATO strategy for the region risks several complications—particularly concerning Russia’s response to NATO activities in the region as well as member states’ sovereignty concerns—Alessio argues that NATO ought to increase its situational awareness in the High North through developing member states’ capabilities and increasing bilateral cooperation. Last but certainly not least, Mikhail Zakharov focuses on the future of Russia-NATO competition in the Arctic in his article, “NATO vs. Russia in the Arctic: How to prepare for the coming crisis.” Mikhail examines Russia’s reinforced military stance and view of NATO in the region and proposes several recommendations for how NATO should approach the reinvigorated competition in the region in order to prevent further military escalation.
As NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wrote in his recent op-ed on climate change, plain and simple, “Climate change is making the world more dangerous.” Therefore, it is NATO’s responsibility, both in the Arctic and elsewhere in the Alliance, to work toward mitigating the effects of climate change in order to preserve the Alliance well into the future.