Aiding or undermining? The military as an emergent actor in global climate governance

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Earth System Governance


The military is emerging as an important actor in climate change mitigation and adaptation, particularly when it comes to responding to climate extremes. While not generally considered a “governance actor” in scholarship on climate governance, militaries increasingly participate in climate-related knowledge production, resource provision, and decision-making. However, the nature and degree of involvement of militaries in these issues vary from context to context, based on political, socio-cultural, institutional, and economic conditions. This Perspective examines this expanding role through the five Earth System Governance research lenses. We argue that it is necessary to more fully account for the emergence of this powerful actor within accepted democratic frameworks of climate governance. Key research questions relate to the implications of military involvement, the appropriateness of military involvement in different contexts, and the consequences of the involvement of an authoritarian actor for climate governance norms.



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