Sunday, December 9, 2012


The CIA has closed down its Center on Climate Change and National Security. This office was created in 2009 and served as the conduit for the CIA to investigate how climate change is a national security threat. CIA spokesman Todd Ebitz said the agency’s work on climate change has been transferred to a new office.

Note: Please take the Poll in the upper right-hand corner of the right margin: "Do You Think Climate Change Is A National Secuirty Threat?"

Ebitz said during an interview with The Hill, “The CIA for several years has studied the national security implications of climate change. As part of a broader realignment of analytic resources, this work continues to be performed by a dedicated team in a new office that looks at economic and energy matters affecting America’s national security. The mission and the resources devoted to it remain essentially unchanged.”

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The CIA is one of multiple federal agencies to explore the nexus between climate change and security and the GOP has criticized this activity by the CIA. I recall during the Republican National Convention, when Mitt Romney actually mocked the notion of rising oceans and climate change. I wrote an article shortly afterwards, claiming that the Joint Chiefs of Staff disagree with Romney's opinion about climate change. In fact, the Joint Chiefs believe climate change is, indeed, a national security threat of global proportions. The CIA, in announcing the center in September 2009, said it would explore the “national security impact of phenomena such as desertification, rising sea levels, population shifts and heightened competition for natural resources.”

Greenwire, which first reported the story, reported that the center “received little internal support” after Leon Panetta stepped down as CIA director to become Defense Secretary in 2011.

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I, along with another OSINT News employee, poured through a study by Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall, entitled, "An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security". It was completed in October 2003. The Schwartz and Randall study is eye-opening and, hopefully, has been read by those in the Intelligence Community (IC) and in the GOP, who believe climate change is a hoax and not a national security threat. They interviewed top climate scientists and found that within a decade the evidence of an imminent abrupt climate shift may become clear and reliable. In that event the United States will need to take urgent action to prevent and mitigate some of the most significant impacts.

They predict that diplomatic action will be needed to minimize the likelihood of conflict in the most impacted areas, especially in the Caribbean and Asia. However, large population movements in the likely scenario are inevitable. Learning how to manage those populations, border tensions that arise and the massive refugee problem will be critical.

The study recommends that the U.S. establishes new forms of security agreements dealing specifically with energy, food and water that will also be needed. In short, while the US itself will be relatively better off and with more adaptive capacity, it will find itself in a world where Europe will be struggling internally, with large numbers of refugees washing up on its shores. Asia will have a serious crisis over food and water and political, social, economical and environmental disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life.

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OSINT News hopes the energy crisis and climate change have generated global demands for alternative non-fossil fuel sources. This has led to a rapid increase of investments in production of liquid biofuels based on agricultural feed stocks such as sugar cane. Most African governments see biofuels as a potential for increasing agricultural productivity and export incomes and thus strengthening their national economies, improving energy balances and rural employment. At the same time climate change may be addressed through reduction of green house gas emissions. There are, however, a number of uncertainties mounting that challenge this scenario. Using in-depth African case studies — with Brazil as a comparative reference — this book addresses this knowledge gap by examining the impacts of large-scale biofuel production on African agriculture, particularly with regard to vital land outsourcing and food security issues. The surge for African biofuels has also opened space for private investors — both domestic and external — to multiply and network "independently" of the state. The biofuel expansion thus generates new economic alliances and production relations, resulting in new forms of inclusions and exclusions within the rural population. This is an essential book for anyone wishing to understand the startling impact of biofuels on Africa.
OSINT News also hopes that U.S. policy makers who don’t believe climate change is a growing national security threat will change their archaic views. The energy crises and climate change demands that the U.S. become a world leader in research and development for alternative non-fossil fuel sources. I don’t mind my tax money paying for R&D in and rapid increases of investments in production of liquid biofuels based on agricultural feed stocks such as sugar cane. This move would simultaneously help African governments from becoming unstable, because they could increase agricultural productivity and export incomes, buttress their national economies, and enhance energy balances and rural employment.

Hopefully, the CIA’s discarded Center on Climate Change and National Security is alive and operationally-well in another area of the Intelligence Community. In each region of the world impacted by climate change, the U.S. must take drastic action with coordinated government- Intelligence Community (IC)- private investor networking. At the same time climate change may be addressed through reduction of green house gas emissions. The development of African biofuels is but one example where the IC, government, and private investors could work to keep those governments, exposed to the devastating effects of climate change, stable.  When the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon determined that climate change was, indeed, a growing threat to America's national security, their report mentioned about the availability of water. Water is the one underlying factor for all humanity. Civilizations will take drastic measures to have  reliable sources of water for drinking, sanitation, food production and manufacturing.

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As we speak, a world population bomb coupled with increasing droughts is threatening available water supplies. Global warming, climate change and rising sea level are expected to intensify the resource sustainability issue in many water-stressed regions of the world by reducing the annual supply of renewable fresh water and promoting the intrusion of saline water into aquifers along sea coasts, where 50% of the global population reside.  Experts are very concerned about the impact climate change will have on global water resources. 

New biofuel, wind, geothermal, solar, and hydro energy development would not only generate new power sources, reduce carbon emissions and rid us of Middle East oil dependency, but it would create new economic alliances and production relations as well. For the sake of America's national security, our policy-makers must take climate change as a genuine threat.

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association For Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and writes about the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). A portion of Ad revenues generated on this site is donated to the AFIO. His ideas are his own and do not represent those of any organization he's a member of. We will publish your ideascomments at no charge...for the good of the order! Contact us on the Secure Contact Form

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