A 6000-strong army and cuts to emissions: Defence Force maps out its response to climate change

A new defence report has mapped out how New Zealand's soldiers will navigate rising seas, and a year after the Defence Force announced its need to prepare for climate change.

In the “Responding to the Climate Crisis” report, the Force restates its operational plan and sets goals to tackle climate change, which has been described as exacerbating "community violence, biosecurity and health implications, and resource scarcity" around the world.

Defence intends to measure all its emissions, bring in engine technology that will reduce emissions, and make wider use of solar energy.

Defence Minister Ron Mark said the Defence Force could easily cut its emissions by upgrading its old infrastructure.

"We're probably running a size-16 footprint right now. Getting that down to a size 14, a size 10, shouldn't be that hard, so long as we invest in modern technology, and we do that at pace."

He said New Zealand was already positioning itself as a global leader in a military-response to climate change, but to do this they had to increase capacity.

"We've got skill sets, we just don't have enough people ... We don't have enough people to sustain long term operations,” Minister Mark said.

The need for the military to stretch out across multiple operations simultaneously has the Defence Force already planning to boost troop numbers to 6000-strong by 2030.

"When people are dying, when forest fires are raging, and you don't have sufficient assets yourself to deal with it ... that is where, we believe, it doesn't matter whether it's United States, Australia, China, the France, Canada, Britain, New Zealand, we all have to work together, collaborate together and be capable of operating together," the Minister said.




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