The Climate General

Stepping up the fight

Tom Middendorp, with Antonie van Campen

Foreword by Ban Ki-moon and Feike Sijbesma


Also available in French

Understanding the links between climate and national security by Tom Middendorp, former Chief of Defence. More than a book: an action plan.



A 360° vision that engages us all

"Coup de cœur"

Direct, easy to read and based on field experiences


Optimistic and action-oriented


The Climate General takes us on a journey from the frontlines, showing how our changing climate disrupts fragile regions around the world. It reveals how extreme droughts, water scarcity, and natural disasters accelerate conflicts and instability.

The golden age of security, predictability and resource abundance is over. We have entered a new era of uncertainty, complexity and vulnerable dependencies which affect our activities, our infrastructures, our strategies, our businesses.

Increasing gaps between demand and supply lead to more global competition in a fragmenting world.

This alarming picture calls for a redesign of our resilience, as protecting supply lines leads to more competition and regional tensions. We have no choice but to adapt and innovate to reduce our resource dependency, and minimize our footprint to avoid the worst from happening.

Middendorp focuses on concrete, actionable solutions, and shows the power of cooperation and innovation. By joining forces, IGOs, NGOs, scientists, researchers, defense, and businesses can put pieces of the solution together in new future-proof concepts.

The Climate General is more than a book: it is a roadmap for action.

Here is Tom’s interview with ASIS Europe 2024 Conference Co-Chair Inge Huijbrechts after his Keynote session at the event.


The author

Following a speech in December 2016, the Dutch Chief of Defence, Tom Middendorp, hit the headlines in his country. “Climate change is a cause of conflicts…” he declared, adding that the security sector was not paying enough attention tp the climate and its impact on our existence. “The Climate general” was born.

The author draws on his practical military experience and deep understanding of geopolitical dynamics to demonstrate the extent to which climate change and global security are intrinsically linked on every continent. But he does not stop there; he goes beyond this alarming observation to offer a wide range of solutions.

“We should not wait until it is too late. We need to look ahead, rise above the issues of the day and, above all, be willing to bridge divides and reach out to each other in the fight against this common enemy.

Tom Middendorp has led more than 20 international missions during his military career. Since 2019, he has been Charman of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS). Antonie van Campen is now a freelance speechwriter. She has known Tom for many years, was an important sounding board for him and a voice for the younger generation. She is the one who wrote the speech which earned him the nickname “Climate General”.

Table of contents



Part One – How climate change is making the world a more dangerous place

Chapter One – Afghanistan, the start of my mission

Chapter Two – Symptom control off the coast of Somalia

Chapter Three – Free rein for jihadists

Chapter Four – Water as an instrument of power

Chapter Five – Sahel, the canary in the coal mine

Chapter Six – Hurricane after hurricane after hurricane

Chapter Seven – Stratego in the Arctic Circle

Chapter Eight – Water bomb in Asia

Chapter Nine – Devastating floods

Chapter Ten – Ruthless wildfires

Chapter Eleven – On the run from climate change

Chapter Twelve – War in the granary

Part Two – From words to actions

Chapter Thirteen – War on climate disruption

Chapter Fourteen – Action-based and climate-conscious collaboration

Chapter Fifteen – Defence should and could be more sustainable

Chapter Sixteen – Towards clean energy

Chapter Seventeen – Forecasting and warning

Chapter Eighteen – Think big, act small, start somewhere

Chapter Nineteen – People make the difference

Chapter Twenty – Adaptability reduces vulnerability

Chapter Twenty-One – Towards a sustainable peace mission

Chapter Twenty-Two – From partnerships to ecosystems



About the authors


“The real value in this book lies not only in highlighting how climate change and unsustainable human activity can influence instability and conflict but, in a typically military fashion, proposing how we can adapt and engineer change, to mitigate or lessen these negative effects.” Ian Saunders, Senior Consultant, Frontier ESG Advisory Ltd and Vice President at The African Environmental Fim Foundation.

“We recommend The Climate General to anyone keen on understanding the multifaceted challenges posed by climate change and more importantly, the solutions and strategies that can lead us to a better tomorrow. Ban Ki-moon and Feike Sijbesma, Co-Chairs Global Center on Adaptation.

Additional information

Weight 430 g
Dimensions 15,6 × 2 × 23,4 cm
ISBN French print



Décembre 2023

Number of pages French


ISBN English print


Number of pages English



English, French


Digital, Paper

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