Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Do you believe Climate Change is a national security threat? (Feel free to comment) free polls 

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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.

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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After President Obama's June 25th speech at Georgetown University announcing a historic policy-shift toward climate change, I felt slightly relieved. And, apparently, so did the Pentagon's 
Joint Chiefs of Staff- they declared it a national security threat years ago.

In fact, the CIA explored the nexus between climate change and America's national security. Surprisingly, the GOP criticized this activity by the CIA. Mitt Romney, during the Republican National Convention, 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. The Joint Chiefs believe climate change is, indeed, a national security threat of global proportions and the CIA opened a Center on Climate Change and National Security in 2009. The CIA began exploring 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, said that the CIA's center “received little internal support” after Leon Panetta stepped down as CIA director to become Defense Secretary in 2011. Has internal support for such a center been reinvigorated by President Obama's speech at Georgetown University? I hope so.

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One of the best resources I came across that links climate change as a verifiable threat to America's national security is 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 study is eye-opening and should be read by those in the CIA who do not give "internal support" to this novel national security threat.

The study should be read by those in the GOP who believe climate change is a hoax. Schwartz and Randall interviewed top climate scientists and found that within a decade the evidence of an imminent abrupt climate shift may become clear and reliable. It has, thus making President Obama's June 25th Georgetown University speech credible, significant and historical. Why? Simply because the United States must take urgent action to prevent and mitigate the most significant impacts of climate change, which are occurring we speak.

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Diplomatic action is needed to minimize the likelihood of conflict in the most impacted areas, especially in the Caribbean (America's southern flank) and Asia. Massive population movements are expected and learning how to manage refugee populations and the border tensions they create is critical.

They recommend that the U.S. establish new forms of security agreements dealing specifically with energy, food and water resources. In short, while America will be relatively better off and with more adaptive capacity, it will find itself in a world where even its reliable European allies are struggling with large numbers of refugees washing up on its shores. 

Climate change has created a serious crisis over food and water availability throughout Asia, resulting in political, social, economic and environmental disruption. These resultant Asian conflicts will be endemic features of life and provide al Qaeda with recruitment opportunities.

I hope the Intelligence Community (IC) and GOP leadership  listens to President Obama's warning and joins him in his initiative to reduce coal emissions and to create a robust clean energy future. He's enabling the U.S. to jump on the bandwagon! Already, 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.

Take Africa as an example. 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. This surge for African biofuels has opened space for private investors — both domestic and external — to multiply and network "independently" of the state. The biofuel expansion is generating new economic alliances and production relations, resulting in new forms of inclusions and exclusions within the rural population.  
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I hope those U.S. policy makers who don’t believe climate change is a growing national security threat will change their archaic views. They are prohibiting the U.S. from becoming a world leader in research and development for alternative non-fossil fuel sources. That's why I bring up Africa. We could be the paramount figure in preventing 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. Oh, by the way, a sidebar is needed: the move would greatly diminish al Qaeda's influence.

Hopefully, the CIA’s discarded Center on Climate Change and National Security is alive and operationally-well in whatever area of the government it emigrated to. I say, reinstate it back into the CIA, for in each region of the world impacted by climate change, coordinated action is needed; I'm talking about government- Intelligence Community (IC)- private investor networking. Besides being a great, deep cover opportunity for the CIA, the agency could also battle  climate change, keep faltering governments more stable, stifle terrorist recruitment, and help in reducing green house gas emissions.

The development of African biofuels is but one example where the CIA (and entire IC), government, and private investors could work to stabilize faltering governments exposed to the devastating effects of climate change. This coordinated approach could also be applied to take drastic measures to have reliable sources of water for drinking, sanitation, food production and manufacturing. 

I hope the "flat-earthers" who deny the science of climate change fail in their attempts to portray President Obama's Georgetown University speech as a they will, no doubt. In reality, I consider them a national security threat, for new biofuel, wind, geothermal, solar, and hydro energy development would generate not only new power sources, but new economic alliances and production relations as well in countries with weakening governments.

For the sake of America's national security...I hope we do so.

Robert Morton, Ed., Ed.S. is a member of the Association Of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO) and writes the online spy novel series "Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster in the Caribbean".  The views expressed on this site do not represent those of any organization he is a member of. Contact him on the Secure Contact Form

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