Climate change will lead to growing international tensions, the US intelligence community warned in a bleak assessment.
National intelligence’s first estimate on climate change examines the impact of climate on national security through 2040.
Countries will discuss how to respond and the effects will be felt more in poorer countries, which are less able to adapt.
The report also warns of risks if futuristic geoengineering technologies are employed by some countries acting alone.
The 27-page assessment is the collective point of view of all 18 US intelligence agencies. It is their first glimpse into the future of what climate means for national security.
The report paints a picture of a world that fails to cooperate, leading to dangerous competition and instability. He was released shortly before President Joe Biden attends next month’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, which is seeking an international deal.
It warns that countries will seek to defend their economies and seek advantages in developing new technologies. Some nations may even resist the urge to act, with more than 20 countries relying on fossil fuels for more than 50% of their total export earnings.
“A decline in fossil fuel revenues would further strain Middle Eastern countries that are expected to face more intense climate effects,” the report said.
Soon, he warns, the impact of climate change will be felt around the world.
The US intelligence community identifies 11 countries and two regions where energy, food, water and health security are particularly at risk. They tend to be poorer and less able to adapt, increasing the risks of internal instability and conflict. Heat waves and droughts could put pressure on services such as electricity supply.
Five of the 11 countries are located in South and East Asia – Afghanistan, Burma, India, Pakistan and North Korea – four countries are in Central America and the Caribbean – Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua. Colombia and Iraq are the others. Central Africa and the small Pacific states are also at risk.
Instability could spread, particularly in the form of refugee flows, with a warning that it could put pressure on the southern US border and create new humanitarian demands.
The Arctic is likely to be, as it becomes more accessible due to less ice. This could open up new sea routes and access to fish stocks, but also create risks of miscalculations as the military approaches.
Access to water will also become a source of problems. In the Middle East and North Africa, about 60% of surface water resources cross borders. Pakistan and India have long-standing water problems. Meanwhile, the report warns that the Mekong River basin could cause problems between China, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Another source of risk is that a country may decide to use geoengineering to combat climate change.
This involves using futuristic technology, such as sending reflective particles into the upper stratosphere that mimic the cooling effects of a volcanic eruption or using aerosols to cool the oceans in a particular area.
But if one country acts alone, it could simply shift the problem to another region and create anger from other nations negatively affected or unable to act alone.
Researchers in several countries, including Australia, China, India, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as several EU members, are looking into these techniques, but there are few rules or regulations.
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Encourage to collaborate
The report says there are a few ways to avoid this bleak future. Some innovative technologies, including the accepted use of geoengineering, are a few. Another is a climate disaster that serves as a stimulus for greater cooperation.
The report is a sign that climate is now a central part of security thinking and that it will increase existing problems and create new ones.
“Governments increasingly recognize that climate change is shaping the national security landscape like never before,” Erin Sikorsky, director of the Center for Climate and Security who previously worked at the National Intelligence Council, told the BBC.
“Climate considerations cannot be separated from other security concerns, such as competition with China. That country faces aggravated climate risks, from rising sea levels affecting millions of people in coastal cities, to flooding to that threaten energy infrastructures, desertification and fish migration. stocks that undermine its food security. The national security strategy that ignores these factors will get wrong answers to key questions about China’s behavior. “
The new intelligence estimate exposes the serious problems that lie ahead. But the real question will be what the politicians will do about this warning from their spies.
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- Paris climate agreement
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