Crisis response in a changing climate
May 4, 2021
Climate change is expected to have a significant impact on defence and security, acting as a threat multiplier and straining resources. Effective delivery of defence logistics within crisis response operations will require a coordinated approach among stakeholders with a focus on resilience building. With its strength in climate science, policy and technology, the UK should have a powerful voice in global climate change adaptation efforts.
Implications of Climate Change for UK Defence Logistics in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) and Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) Operations
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Climate change is expected to have a significant impact on defence and security, acting as a threat multiplier and straining resources. The UK government generally, and UK defence specifically, have embarked on a proactive approach to better adapt to the effects of climate change. In 2021, the UK Ministry of Defence is to publish its Climate Change and Sustainability strategy, which is focused on enhancing operational capability in changing climatic conditions and on identifying and embedding sustainable solutions to enable UK defence to meet its net zero carbon emissions target by 2050. This report informed the preparation of the strategy by identifying the implications of climate change for defence logistics in crisis response situations.
The report provides:
Crisis response will likely need to change from a focus on one-off emergencies to planning more proactively for regular, periodic events that demand a different approach: one focused on long-term resilience. Part of such proactive management is capacity and resilience building across the entire crisis response delivery: from the organisations involved to the people and equipment, to the wider societies affected by disasters.
Emerging technologies present significant opportunities for setting up a more environmentally sustainable delivery of logistics. Logistics planners must have a sound understanding of the types of solutions available on the market, as well as appreciation of any barriers to implementation and integration of these technologies, for example to improve energy efficiency, water and waste management, reduce carbon footprint.
The impact of climate change is likely to be felt all around the globe. The UK government's vision of a 'Global Britain' encompasses an outward-focused Britain that is active in its response to global challenges and ready to take up a confident role in pursuit of opportunities. Arguably, one of the greatest opportunities of our time is the ability to lead global adaptation to climate change.
Climate change and defence logistics
Recent relevant UK policy developments on climate change
Challenges for defence logistics
Opportunities and policy actions
Discussion and areas for further research
The research described in this report was commissioned by the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC) within the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) and conducted by RAND Europe in collaboration with the University of Exeter.
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