Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Low-carbon warfare

Climate change has been identified as a driver of instability and conflict around the world. However, how climate change and the transition to a net-zero world might alter the character of military operations is often overlooked.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Mach, K. et al. Nature 571, 193–197 (2019).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Sikorsky, E. The world’s militaries aren’t ready for climate change. Foreign Policy (22 September 2022);

  3. Dalby, S. Geopolitics 23, 718–742 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Rajaeifar, M. A. et al. Nature 611, 29–32 (2022).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Depledge, D. Int. Aff. 99, 667–685 (2023).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Dalby, S. Geopolitics 23, 718–742 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Samaras, C. et al. Energy Strategy Rev. 26, 100409 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Barry, B. Green Defence: The Defence and Military Implications of Climate Change for Europe (International Institute for Strategic Studies, 2022);

  9. van Schaik, L. et al. Ready for take-off? Military Responses to Climate Change (Planetary Security Initiative, 2020);

  10. Patrahau, I., Birkman, L., Rademaker, M., Middendorp, T. & MacLaughlin, E. Resilient and Robust: Climate-Proofing the Military for Increased Military Effectiveness (The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, 2023);

  11. Climate Change Mitigation in the Armed Forces (NATO, 2023),

  12. Army announces battlefield vehicle electrification plans. British Army (17 September 2021);

  13. DoD to build Project Pele mobile microreactor and perform demonstration at Idaho National Laboratory. US Department of Defence (13 April 2022);

  14. Crawford, N. The Pentagon, Climate Change, and War (MIT Press, 2022).

  15. The Military Emissions Gap (Military Emissions, 2023);

  16. Decarbonized Defense: The Need for Clean Military Power in the Age of Climate Change (International Military Council on Climate and Security, 2022);

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



D.D. conceived and designed the analysis, contributed to the analysis and led the writing of the paper. T.S., N.M. and R.N. contributed to the analysis and the writing of the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Duncan Depledge.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Depledge, D., Santos, T., Morisetti, N. et al. Low-carbon warfare. Nat. Clim. Chang. 13, 881–882 (2023).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing