In the coming decades, Sweden will face increasing security risks due to climate change. These risks stem primarily from climate hazards outside Sweden’s borders, though warming temperatures and increasingly erratic and intense precipitation may strain the country’s domestic military, energy, and economic infrastructure. External climate security game changers for Sweden include the potential for aggressive Russian and Chinese behaviour in a more navigable Arctic, strains on the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) due to increasing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) demands, and the potential for reactionary European political responses to climate-related migration from the Middle East and North Africa. These threats are unlikely to develop on straightforward linear pathways, as climate change intersects with other developments to cause cascading or complex risks. Tipping points—whether from climate change or from societal developments—could amplify these risks on a shorter timeline than expected.
Navigating these risks requires a whole-of-society approach across Sweden that breaks down planning and programmatic siloes among government ministries, civil society and the private sector. To that end, in October 2022, the Swedish Defence University and the Center for Climate and Security convened a cross-section of leaders from the military, academia, civil society and the private sector to explore potential future climate security scenarios for Sweden over the next five years. This paper provides an overview of the key findings of the scenarios discussion, including a discussion of drivers of climate security risk, and entry points for action and further research going forward. (See Annex A for more details on the exercise).
A new event report from the Climate and Security (CCS), sponsored by Försvarshögskolan (Swedish Defence University) explores Sweden’s security risks in the midst of external climate hazards exacerbated by warming temperatures and intense precipitation. To assess these risks, the Center for Climate and Security and the Swedish Defence University convened leaders from across sectors of military, academia, civil society and the private sector to explore whole-of-society approaches that can be implemented throughout Sweden over the next five years.
The report can be found here.
By Erin Sikorsky and Brigitte Hugh