NATO and climate security

Potential for a leading role for Finland and Sweden?


  • Emma Hakala Finnish Institute of International Affairs


climate security, NATO, Finland, Sweden, comprehensive security


In recent years, NATO has put significant effort into advancing its work on the linkages between security and climate change. In the NATO summit in Madrid in 2022, the alliance declared its climate neutrality target, and it has previously announced it aims to become a leading organisation on climate security. For the potential new NATO members Finland and Sweden, climate security can also prove to be a relevant topic through which to contribute to the agenda of the alliance, as both countries prioritise climate issues in their foreign policies. In order to provide a meaningful input to climate security within NATO, however, the countries need to shape their message beyond presumed climate security know-how. This is not to be taken as a given especially as it may be in the interest of the countries to focus on traditional military security issues rather than climate change in the NATO context. Yet by neglecting climate security altogether, Finland and Sweden risk missing an opportunity to contribute to the strategic planning of the alliance in a field of emerging importance.