US intelligence Agencies Issue Dire Warning Over Climate Change
© AP Photo / Maura AjakA father and his sons transport cows from a flooded area to drier ground using a dugout canoe, in Old Fangak county, Jonglei state, South Sudan Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020.
© AP Photo / Maura Ajak
In a 27-page report, all 18 US intelligence agencies issued their first-ever collaborative warning over the threat posed by climate change, to the US and to global security.
The report’s key takeaways are that climate change will “exacerbate risks to US national security interests as the physical impacts increase and geopolitical tensions mount about how to respond to the challenge.” US intelligence agencies also believe that developing countries will face the most severe ramifications of climate change due to their inability to finance necessary safeguards, which could create “additional demands on US diplomatic, economic, humanitarian, and military resources.”
The report incorporates climate forecasting to determine when and where security, economic, and military risks could occur. As the Arctic ice cap recedes, shipping routes in the Arctic sea and resources in the region are thought to now be at risk of becoming a hotbed of international contention.
Countries in the Middle East, South Asia, Central Africa, Central America, as well as island nations in the Pacific Ocean are viewed as regions that are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. For example, the report cites how Pakistan’s water supply is highly dependent on glacial melt from regions within India, which could increase tensions between the two nations.
Population migration is another major concern. Large swaths of highly-populated areas across the globe could become uninhabitable, forcing migrations. The effects of climate change have already affected crop yields in central America and are thought to now be playing a significant role in the mass migration of populations to the southern border of the US.
While the report indicates climate change will cause global instability, it also indicates that it could shift the planet’s balance of power. The US and the European Union are geographically and financially capable of mitigating the impacts, but China and Russia are in a better position to reap certain benefits from climate change.
Russia will see its arable land and growing season increase and China’s large store of important rare-earth metals and production ability of necessary green technologies are thought to potentially aid its economic growth.
While the result of climate inaction is dire on a global scale, the report details how governments, militaries and large multinational corporations could avert the worst of the coming climate-related disasters. The report references the need to accelerate the development of clean energy technology and increase the capture of CO2.
Climate change poses the greatest security risk to humanity, acknowledges the report. Left unchecked, populations will be displaced or die out, economies will be ruined, and tensions escalated. Some developed nations with vast resources at their disposal are in a better position to weather the oncoming disasters, but all will be affected in some way.