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Harvard University’s Center for the Environment recently released a new report titled “Climate Extremes: Recent Trends with Implications for National Security.” The report was funded by the Central Intelligence Agency, and drew from a series of workshops held at the National Academy of Sciences, Columbia University and Harvard University’s Center for the Environment. The resulting report explores what type of climatic events we can expect over the next decade, and how these events may impact U.S. national security interests. It includes a very extensive scientific assessment of current climate data observations and near-term climatic expectations, detailed examples of climate change intersecting with U.S. national security interests, and recommendations for bolstering U.S. scientific and technical capacity, and creating a national strategy for observations and monitoring. (more…)
Ohio’s Toledo Blade published an editorial this past Monday on “Climate and security” which highlights the National Research Council’s recently released report “Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis,” which was commissioned by the CIA. The editorial stresses the need for policy-makers to act on climate change, emphasizing the implications of inaction for the U.S. military, and stability in vulnerable regions of the world. From the editorial:
The report warns military leaders to expect turmoil if abnormal climate patterns allow extremist groups to gain a stronger foothold in the parched Middle East, starved regions of Africa, and other historically unstable parts of the world.
Some military leaders, including a former head of Central Command, warn that the United States will “pay the price later in military terms” if it postpones action now.
The former head of Central Command that the editorial refers to is four-star General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), who made the comments in an influential report prepared by CNA’s Military Advisory Board titled “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change.”
In short, the U.S. military is taking climate change very seriously, and civilian policy-makers in the United States should follow suit.
E&E reporter Annie Snider wrote this week on recent changes in the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s climate change analysis infrastructure (the story was also picked up by the New York Times). The headline of the story emphasizes the closure of the CIA’s Center on Climate Change and National Security, but sources for the story seemed to suggest that this most likely represents a reorientation in where the CIA houses its climate analysis, and in what context, rather than a scaling back. As reported by Snider: (more…)