New Climate Regimes Ideal for War, Turmoil, Social Upheaval

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“The report does not address global warming’s potential effect on
terrorism. A privately funded study completed by the Center for Naval
Analyses last year concluded that climate change could “foster the
conditions for internal conflicts, extremism and movement toward
increased authoritarianism and radical ideologies.”

The report can be found at
http://www.dni.gov/testimonies/20080625_testimony.pdf
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Los Angeles Times
June 26, 2008

Climate change likely to trigger global destabilization
Illegal immigration, ethnic violence, humanitarian crises and
national security issues will worsen during the next two decades
because of global warming, according to U.S. intelligence agencies.
http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environment/la-na-intel26-2008jun26,0,6926278.story
By Greg Miller, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — Global warming is likely to have a series of
destabilizing effects around the world, causing humanitarian crises
as well as surges in ethnic violence and illegal immigration,
according to an assessment released Wednesday by U.S. intelligence
agencies.

Rising temperatures could weaken already fragile regimes around the
world and create a new set of national security challenges for the
United States over the next two decades, the report warns.

“Climate change alone is unlikely to trigger state failure” during
that period, said Thomas Fingar, chairman of the National
Intelligence Council, in remarks prepared for a joint congressional
hearing.

“But the impacts will worsen existing problems — such as poverty,
social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership
and weak political institutions,” Fingar said.

The report represents the U.S. intelligence community’s most
comprehensive assessment to date of the long-term security
consequences of global warming. It also marks a reluctant foray into
a politically charged topic.

Democrats and environmental activists praised the assessment, calling
it formal acknowledgment by a key part of the government that the
threat of rising temperatures is real.

But the report was also criticized, particularly by skeptics of
global warming and people who oppose using U.S. intelligence
resources to track something as amorphous as the environment.

“I think it was a pathetic use of intelligence resources,” said Rep.
Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House
Intelligence Committee.

Hoekstra said the study did little to expand government officials’
understanding of global warming and its consequences.

The document “didn’t add anything I didn’t already know,” he said.

According to the report, the effects of global warming are likely to
be most severe in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Central and
Southeast Asia. Its authors warn that less rainfall and more volatile
weather could cut agricultural output in some regions of Africa by as
much as 50%.

“We judge that economic refugees will perceive additional reasons to
flee their homes because of harsher climates,” Fingar said. “Many
likely receiving nations will have neither the resources nor interest
to host these climate migrants,” who might be carriers of infectious
diseases.

Overall, as many as 50 million additional people could be at risk of
hunger by 2020, and as many as 1.2 billion people could suffer from
“water stress.”

Developed nations are likely to fare better, Fingar said, with some
estimates predicting that agricultural production in the U.S. could
increase during the next 20 years.

But the U.S. will also face a cascade of challenges and problems. The
nation “will need to anticipate and plan for growing immigration
pressures,” Fingar said, noting that helping dense coastal
populations in the Caribbean “will be an imminent task.”

Fingar also said the U.S. infrastructure is in many ways ill-prepared
for climate change and the prospect of intense storms and flooding.

“Two dozen nuclear facilities and numerous refineries along U.S.
coastlines are at risk and may be severely impacted by storms,” he
said.

The study relied on calculations and projections made by the United
Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The report does not address global warming’s potential effect on
terrorism. A privately funded study completed by the Center for Naval
Analyses last year concluded that climate change could “foster the
conditions for internal conflicts, extremism and movement toward
increased authoritarianism and radical ideologies.”

The report can be found at
http://www.dni.gov/testimonies/20080625_testimony.pdf

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