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Responding to a Congressional request, the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC) recently released an unclassified memo from July (here) examining global water security over the next 30 years. The NIC examined multiple variables including economic, agricultural, and environmental. Countries that are unable to provide sufficient water for their populations will experience lowered public health, reduced gross domestic production, decreases in economic well-being, and break-downs in political relationships. Transboundary water issues may become more common potentially leading to increased tensions between countries. All these consequences will be further amplified by the effects of climate change pressing against water security. As the memo notes: “multiple climate change models indicate increasing variability, intensity, and occurrence of droughts and floods.” These models forecast reductions in rainfall and increased temperatures leading to greater evaporation rates. Extreme weather will become more common leading greater chances of damage and destruction.(more…)
For the past ten years, beginning with the last year of the George W. Bush Administration, the U.S. intelligence community (IC) has annually warned policy-makers of the security implications of climate change. This year is the eleventh. Yesterday, during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) Director Dan Coats released the annual “Worldwide Threat Assessment,” which reflects the perspective of the entire U.S. intelligence community regarding the most significant risks to national security. Notably, the assessment includes a robust section titled “Environment and Climate Change” which not only details a range of security threats related to climate change, but also asserts that these risks, combined with other natural resources stresses, “are likely to fuel economic and social discontent–and possibly upheaval–through 2018.” In other words, the U.S. intelligence community believes these threats are not on the distant horizon, but rather, already occurring and likely to increase political instability this very year. (more…)
The 2014 National Intelligence Strategy (NIS) was released this week. This is the third NIS, a strategy document developed approximately every four years. Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, notes in the forward that “we are facing the most diverse set of threats I’ve seen in my 50 years in the intelligence business…We face significant changes in the domestic and global environment and must be ready to meet 21st century challenges and to recognize emerging opportunities.” Indeed, climate change is a unique “threat multiplier” that is likely to disrupt the security environment in complex ways, both predictably and otherwise. (more…)
Though we’re a little late on this, the National Intelligence Council’s blog “Global Trends 2030” posted an interesting piece by CNAS senior fellow Dr. Nancy Brune titled “Urbanization, Security and Resiliency.” Among other topics, Dr. Brune discussed the role of climate change and other environmental stresses in driving rural-urban migration, and what that means for security: (more…)