WASHINGTON – The Biden administration’s top spies and scientists released the first-ever National Intelligence Estimate on the global security threats posed by climate change on Thursday, concluding that it will pose ever-greater challenges internationally in the decades to come – and at a rate faster than previously expected due to political squabbling and inaction.

“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 report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) concluded.

The report represent the consensus view of all 18 U.S. intelligence agencies, and federal scientists provided the baseline observational data and climate modeling for it.

One former senior CIA official welcomed the report but said all of the U.S. intelligence agencies need to take much more concrete steps to actually address the threats posed by climate change – including looming food and water wars.

“Estimates are nice and it’s good to see that they’re paying attention,” said Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, who has been sounding the alarm about the national security threats posed by climate change for more than a decade.

“But the real question is how does the (intelligence community) adapt its capabilities to provide better intelligence for policy makers so that they can take actual action in areas that affect our national and global security?” said Mowatt-Larssen, who focuses on climate change as a Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

A National Intelligence Estimate is the formal term for a significant undertaking by the entire intelligence community to come up with findings and recommendations about a topic of major interest – and concern – for the U.S. government. Officials said this one was headed up by the National Intelligence Council, ODNI’s center for long-term strategic analysis, and launched in response to a President Joe Biden’s executive order on tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad.

The report contains no bombshells, but rather a sobering look at how 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.” Its release comes just days before Biden is scheduled to attend the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland that begins on October 31st.

Source: USAToday.com

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