Climate Change Threatens National Security

A new national security estimate — the first of its kind devoted to climate change — has been issued by the U.S. intelligence community.  Simultaneously, the Biden White House has issued a fact sheet on prioritizing climate in foreign policy and national security matters.  The key finding is that climate change will increasingly worsen risks to US national security interests as the physical impacts from change  increase and geopolitical tensions mount about how to respond.

Scientific forecasts indicate that the intensifying physical effects of climate change will be most acutely felt in developing countries — those least able to adapt to such changes. These physical effects will increase the potential for instability and possibly internal conflict in these countries, in some cases creating additional demands on US diplomatic, economic, humanitarian, and military resources.

Geopolitical tensions are likely to grow as countries increasingly argue about how to accelerate the reductions in net greenhouse gas emissions needed to meet Paris Agreement goals. Debate will center on who bears more responsibility to act and to pay—and how quickly—and countries will compete to control resources and dominate new technologies required for the clean energy transition

Defense policy has also changed. Since January 2021 The Pentagon has been incorporating climate analysis into its war-gaming and analysis efforts as well as featuring the issue as part of its future national defense strategy.

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