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Intelligence Community Assessment on Global Water Security: Diane Rehm Show Discussion

Major General Richard Engel, U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Geoff Dabelko, Director of the Environmental Change and Security Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center, and three other guests sat down 2680 miles apart for the Diane Rehm show to discuss the recent unclassified version of “Global Water Security,” an Intelligence Community Assessment released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) at the request of the U.S. State Department. If you missed the radio show, the transcript is up on their site.  As a bit of prep before reading the interview, the intelligence assessment looks out to the year 2040 in order to “consider longer-term impacts from growing populations, climate change, and continued economic development.” It also makes five “key judgments,” that we’re posting below for ease of reference. (more…)

The Global Resiliency Market

There’s a new gold rush on, but it’s not about gold. It’s about land. More specifically, it’s about buying and selling land, food, water, and ultimately, resilience. A number of countries, short on arable land and water, are investing in a sort of global insurance policy. Countries like China, Saudi Arabia and South Korea, with significant portions of their countries operating beyond their own water budgets, are busy making up the difference by buying up lands in water and soil-rich areas of Africa, South America and South Asia, growing crops on the acquired land and then shipping the crops (and the embedded or “virtual” water that went into growing them) back to their respective countries. The sellers, on the other hand, are giving up land, water and future resilience for, in some instances, pocket change (see Lester Brown). One might call this the “global resiliency market,” and as with any market, there are serious risks for all who participate.
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