New intelligence report warns of 'destabilizing effects' from climate change and its national security risks

New intelligence report warns of 'destabilizing effects' from climate change and its national security risks
08/23/2020,California:Hundreds of wildfires burn across California leading thousands to evacuate, photo via Shutterstock.

A seminal assessment released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence details the destabilizing risks of climate change and how it could heighten national security risks in the coming years.

The assessment, released on Thursday, October 21, warned of exacerbated national security risks for the United States and other countries due to increases in intensifying physical impact and the looming possibility of instability. The latest report is one of four that were released on Thursday.

While the United States and other considerably wealthy companies will likely have a better chance of handling climate-related costs, the assessment says, "impacts will be massive even if the worst human costs can be avoided."

It also warns that developing countries "are most at risk and the least adaptable to the physical effects of climate change." The problems these countries are plagued with which could lead to "instability and possibly internal conflict." Per the assessment, 5 out of 11 developing countries were deemed most at risk of climate change impacts are located in South and East Asia. The 11 most vulnerable developing countries are as follows: Afghanistan, Burma, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, and Iraq.

"We assess that climate change will increasingly exacerbate risks to US national security interests as the physical impacts increase and geopolitical tensions mount about how to respond to the challenge," the document states. "Intensifying physical effects will exacerbate geopolitical flashpoints, particularly after 2030, and key countries and regions will face increasing risks of instability and need for humanitarian assistance."

The assessment also touched on the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and the diminishing expectation that the participating countries will meet the projected goals. "The current pace of transition to low- or zero-emission clean energy sources is not fast enough to avoid temperatures rising above the Paris goal of 1.5 degrees C," it reads.

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