Britain’s armed forces need to ensure that it continues with its "green" programme to safeguard the environment and also ensure that young people continue to see the military as a viable career, the head of the Army has declared.
The Chief of General Staff, Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, stated that the current weapons programme will be the last generation to be dependent on fossil fuel and the drive is going on to replace it with alternative energy.
Gen Carleton-Smith was speaking at the DSEI (Defence and Security Equipment International) arms fair in London following a recent EU Defence and Foreign Ministers meeting in Helsinki which pledged that the Union and Nato will strive to tackle the problems caused by climate change.
He said: "I think we may be at that inflection point in how we power our next generation of vehicles.”
“Our current equipment programme is possibly the last to be dependent on fossil fuel engines ... the next generation must exploit British industry's leadership in the clean environmental tech sector. The next generation must exploit British industry's leadership in the clean environmental tech sector".
During his keynote speech, Gen Carleton-Smith set out how climate change will, in the years to come, "have a profound impact" on how the Army is going to have to operate.
"We already today face physical risks with restrictions on our training areas due to the much more frequent fires," he stated.
"We face legal risks such as legislation targeting zero emissions by 2050 and we are confronting transitional risks such as carbon-fuelled platforms becoming stranded assets.
"And we are developing contingencies to manage all those issues in the near term, but also to ensure our operational effectiveness is sustainable into the long term.”
"The challenge and genuine commercial opportunity for you is to aim high and lead the world in the development of military equipment which is not only battle-winning, but also environmentally sustainable,” he added, speaking to arms producers and engineers.
“Not only will that give us considerable operational benefits, reducing logistic drag, but it will also get the Army on the right side of the environmental argument, especially in the eyes of our next generation of recruits who increasingly make career decisions based on a prospective employer’s environmental credentials."
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