The National Research Council’s recently released report “Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis,” commissioned by the CIA, has been released, and contains a lot of interesting information and recommendations. Leaving most of the analysis for you to read, we wanted to highlight some of the report’s conclusions and recommendations. The report brief indicates that the conclusions fall under three broad categories: “…climate-security connections; improving understanding, monitoring, and analysis; and anticipating climate-related threats.” Below are excerpts of the conclusions, from the report brief, under each heading:
Security analysts should anticipate that over the next decade, droughts, heat waves, storms, or other climate events of surprising intensity or duration will stress communities, societies, governments, and the globally integrated systems that support human well-being.
The overall risk of disruption to a society from a climate event is determined by the interplay of several factors: the severity of the event; the degree of exposure of people, valued things, or global support systems to the event; the susceptibility of those people, things, or systems to harm from the event; and the effectiveness of their coping, response, and recovery afterward…
Improving understanding, monitoring, and analysis
A whole-of government approach to understanding adaptation and vulnerability to climate change can advance the objectives of multiple agencies, avoid duplication of effort, and make better use of scarce resources.
Along with the USGCRP and relevant science and mission agencies, the intelligence community should participate in a process to develop priorities for research on climate vulnerability and adaptation and support research in the priority areas.
…the U.S. government should begin immediately to develop a systematic and enduring whole-of-government strategy for monitoring threats related to climate change.
Anticipating climate-related threats
The study advises that periodic “stress testing” of the ability of countries, regions, and critical global systems to manage potentially disruptive climate events should be built into intelligence analysis. Results of such analyses would inform national security decision makers about places at risk of becoming security concerns as a result of climate events.