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On June 5, U.S. Congressman Danny Heck (WA-10) introduced the “Climate Security Intelligence Act,” a bill that would establish a “Climate Security Intelligence Center” within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence so that, in the Congressman’s words, the “intelligence community has a focal point for climate-related information, which will be crucial to our nation’s ability to meet evolving challenges now and in the years ahead.” If enacted, this center would be, in some ways, an intelligence community-wide successor to the CIA’s former Center on Climate Change and National Security, which closed its doors in 2012, allegedly due to climate analysis being integrated into broader CIA intelligence assessments of economic and energy security. Click here to read the full bill.
For the third time during the current U.S. Administration, climate change was included in the annual 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community released by the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats. Consistent with threat assessments and memoranda from the National Intelligence Council and CIA during both the GW Bush and Obama Administrations, the assessment raises concerns about the national security implications of a changing climate. This demonstrates a strong bipartisan consensus regarding the security risks of climate change.
Reiterating a point we make each year when the Worldwide Threat Assessment is released, given that climate change acts as a “threat multiplier” – multiplying existing threats in the security environment – one cannot contain the threat to the specific sections described below. For example, climate change is likely to have a significant impact on health security, as included in this year’s assessment, as well as nuclear proliferation, which is covered separately in the threat assessment. It may contribute to the conditions that allow for terrorism, or international organized crime, to thrive. It may also make mass displacements of people, instability, conflict, and atrocities, more likely. Climate change influences the entire geostrategic landscape. In that sense, one could walk through the entire threat assessment report and identify ways in which climate change will intersect with nearly every risk identified, and in most cases, make them worse. (more…)
As we look toward a new Administration in the United States, and the path forward on addressing the myriad threats in a rapidly-changing geostrategic landscape, it’s worth having a clearer understanding of how the U.S. national security community has come to its current level of concern about climate change. This concern didn’t happen overnight, or under a single administration. Rather, it’s the culmination of decades of assessments stretching back to the end of the Cold War. (more…)
The 6th Edition of the U.S. National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends report is in the works. The Global Trends 2035 report will examine the trends that are likely to shape the near- and long-term futures through 2035. Climate change is and will continue to be one of the key drivers shaping the future, and the National Intelligence Council wants to hear from you about what you think the future will look like. (more…)