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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…)
James R. Clapper, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI), delivered remarks yesterday to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence regarding the recently-released “Worldwide Threat Assessment” of the U.S. Intelligence Community. In it, Clapper identifies climate change as a threat to national security under the assessment’s “natural resources” basket. He begins with a description of why the threat assessment includes natural resource issues: (more…)