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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.

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The Los Angeles Times writes that the report says the US and other Western nations are not apt to be threatened by climate change via diminishing stocks of food, but a warmer climate would still have indirect negative impacts.

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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.

CNN and the Associated Press both highlight Mr. Fingar's comment during the joint session that "conditions exacerbated by the effects of climate change could increase the pool of potential recruits into terrorist activity." However, the Los Angeles Times notes that the report itself does not address any connection between global warming and terrorism. Rather, its focus is solely on the humanitarian crises that global warming might cause.

The idea that global warming could aggravate immigration and ethnic tensions is not new. Last December, The Christian Science Monitor reported that experts studying the relationship between security and climate are watching several hot spots around the globe. Bangladesh, with its high population and low sea level, is a particularly noteworthy flashpoint according to experts, as global warming could force its people to migrate into culturally proud neighboring regions.

"It is the No. 1 conflict zone for climate change," says Peter Schwartz, chairman of the Monitor Group, a research firm in San Francisco that recently released a study on the security risks presented by climate change.
That field of study is relatively new, but analysts are beginning to lay the map of forecasted climate change over the map of political weakness to see where changes in weather could lead to volatility. No one argues that climate change alone will lead to war. But analysts suggest that it could be a pivotal factor that tips vulnerable regions toward conflicts.
"Climate change is a threat multiplier," says Geoff Dabelko, director of the Environmental Change and Security Program at the Woodrow Wilson Institute in Washington. "It's not that it creates a whole new set of problems, it's that it will make things that are already a problem worse."
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