Historical Social Research

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Thorsten Schulz, Transatlantic Environmental Security in the 1970s? NATO’s “Third Dimension” as an Early Environmental and Human Security Approach [Abstract]

This paper deals with the early stages of NATO’s “Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society” (CCMS), established as environmental “Third Dimension” of the Alliance in 1969. It discusses “environmental security” as a prime CCMS motive, assuming that the early CCMS-pioneers already projected global environmental uncertainty factors as security threats to the Atlantic Alliance. NATO’s environmental concept already showed elements of environmental and human security being considered in the face of the environmental crisis. The interrelation between both is examined by means of a knowledge-based history approach on the example of the CCMS “Road Safety” project (1970-1974). In the course of the project, NATO’s environmental security assumptions turned into a technological leitmotif dealing with technically controllable environmental risks as well as basic human and individual needs for security in a technological society. Therefore, the CCMS provided technical solutions to environmental and security policy problems and, finally, did not develop any political patterns of acting as a risk orientated environmental alliance.