The U.S. intelligence community is at odds with the White House about threats America faces from climate change.
The nation’s intelligence agencies are warning, in the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment, of global instability if climate change continues unabated, according to a report submitted for a hearing Tuesday before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
“The impacts of the long-term trends toward a warming climate, more air pollution, biodiversity loss, and water scarcity are likely to fuel economic and social discontent -- and possibly upheaval -- through 2018,” the report states.
The intelligence report describes how warming temperatures will exacerbate disasters, war, shortages, economic volatility and migration. Citing research showing that human activities have accelerated extinctions worldwide 100 to 1000 times normal rates, the analysts write that losses “will jeopardize vital ecosystems that support critical human systems.”
Two recent policy papers from the Department of Defense carried no such alarms about the warming world, placing the military nominally in line with the president’s actions and reversing a position adopted by President George W. Bush’s Pentagon in 2008.
The world has warmed nearly a degree Celsius (1.8 degree Fahrenheit) in the last century, driven by industrial greenhouse gas emissions, according to the 2017 U.S. National Climate Assessment.
President Donald Trump has called global warming a “Chinese hoax” and rejected the otherwise unanimous Paris Agreement to cut carbon pollution. In his 2019 budget released Monday, he proposed to eliminate scientific, energy-related and diplomatic efforts meant to study or address the causes or consequences of global change.