Militaries go green, rethink operations in face of climate change

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Highly efficient air conditioners, LED lights and power meters will be used alongside weapons of war at an upcoming NATO exercise.

Military officials from 29 countries — including the United States — will test whether energy efficient equipment and hybrid diesel-solar power systems can be easily integrated into their operations in Poland this June.

The increased focus on energy efficiency and reduced fuel consumption is indicative of a wider shift in how militaries are trying to adapt to environments reshaped by climate change andintensifying natural disasters.

The alliance recognizes climate change could affect its security, planning and operations, NATO’s Environment and Smart Energy Officer Susanne Michaelis told NBC News in a statement.

“NATO’s focus is not predominantly on the environmental impact of military activities, but rather on a more efficient use of energy. Put differently, it is about military effectiveness,” she said, adding that the result of “a smaller environmental footprint, is a ‘win-win’ outcome.”

Lightweight equipment that can be powered by renewables rather than fuels that need to be imported are better for responding to natural disasters such as floods and wildfires, Michaelis said. NATO provided support when Sweden faced historic wildfires last summer.

This article originally appeared on NBC