Saturday, February 28, 2009

U.S. Director of Intelligence Says Climate Change a Top Threat

President Obama's new Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, says climate change is one of the top threats to U.S. national security interests.

Melting sea ice and increased risks of extreme weather patters could affect some of the most unstable parts of the world. For example, several studies at Columbia University found that the largest number of people exposed to rising sea levels live in China, the Philippines, Egypt and Indonesia.

Ken Butts of the U.S. Army War College told UPI that the potential problems from climate change include mass migrations, civil war, decreased agricultural productivity and the spread of terrorist groups. From UPI:
"These resulting disasters would follow a long chain of events, Butts explained. First, climate-induced disasters, like droughts, could create resource shortages or force people from their homes. Lack of food, water and/or shelter would likely create social unrest, leading to potential political upheaval, making room for extremist movements to take over the government...This can happen anytime a government can't satisfy the basic needs of its citizens..."
Climate change can add fuel to the fire of terrorist groups, Butts went on to say, because it allows them to preach that climate change is caused by the greedy consumption of energy by the West.

Last year, Congress passed legislation requiring the next National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy to consider risks posed by climate change to Department of Defense facilities, capabilities and missions.

via UPI

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