Impacts on defence and global security

A changing climate could affect defence operations

What is the risk?

Climate change has the potential to affect the scale and frequency of a range of humanitarian problems, such as flooding, drought and famine. This raises important issues in terms of international aid and world politics. Changes could also affect troops on the ground anywhere in the world. The Ministry of Defence wanted to know how the changing climate could affect their operations.

What have we done?

We used our models of future climate changes to assess the humanitarian risks posed all over the world. This included looking at factors such as crop growth, access to fresh water, intense heat, and extreme weather. We also looked at issues of heat stress amongst troops and how they may need to adapt equipment to meet these challenges.

What's the conclusion?

Our advice was used to assess what issues could arise around the world from climate change, such as political tension from competition for resources or mass migration. We also gave advice on how climate change could affect troops on the ground. This helps the military plan how to develop its capabilities and capacities in the future.

Last updated: 7 April 2011