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.
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.
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.
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.
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