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Terrorism & Security

New report highlights ties between global warming and US security

A warming climate would mean less food and more immigration, which could worsen ethnic strife.

By / June 28, 2008



A new National Intelligence Assessment says that food shortages and migration caused by a warming climate could threaten US national security by aggravating ethnic strife around the globe, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

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The Washington Post writes that Thomas Fingar, chairman of the National Intelligence Council, delivered the report Wednesday to a joint meeting of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Select Committee on Energy Independence. He warned that global warming will reduce food supplies in Africa, which he predicted would in turn spark violence in the region.

"Without food aid, the region will likely face higher levels of instability, particularly violent ethnic clashes over land ownership," probably creating "extensive and novel operational requirements," for the fledgling U.S. Africa Command, according to a National Intelligence Assessment on the security implications of climate change by the National Intelligence Council. ...
Overall, the assessment found that while the United States "is better equipped than most nations to deal with climate change," the impact on other countries has the "potential to seriously affect U.S. national security interests." Humanitarian disasters, economic migration, food and water shortages -- all caused by climate change -- will pressure other countries to respond. Such demands "may significantly tax U.S. military transportation and support force structures, resulting in a strained readiness posture," the assessment found.
Fingar said Africa is most vulnerable "because of multiple environmental, economic, political and social stresses." While no country will avoid climate change, the report said, "most of the struggling and poor states that will suffer adverse impacts to their potential and economic security," are in the Middle East, central and southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.

The report is available at website of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

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