Three US Intelligence Agencies Warn Of Climate Change Impacts

Increased Water Insecurity Will Lead To Greater Migration, Increased Cross-Border Tension

2 Nov 2021 by The Water Diplomat
WASHINGTON DC, United States

Three new reports commissioned by President Joe Biden in February 2021 were released on October 19, in advance of COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland.

We read detailed US analysis of how effects of climate change will increase competition for water resources, causing food scarcity and heightening social tensions around the world within 20 to 30 years.

The reports {LINKS BELOW) published by the White House, Department of Defence and the National Intelligence Estimate concur that poorer countries will be most affected and will be less likely to deal with the catastrophic effects of climate change. The reports also assert that water and food insecurity will prompt migration that could acerbate existing cross-border tensions.

The White House said: “Climate change can undermine food, water, and economic security. Secondary effects of climate change can include displacement, loss of livelihoods, weakened governments, and in some cases political instability and conflict.”

The Department of Defense has confirmed that view: “Primary impacts of drought include reduced water availability. Secondary impacts include reduced agricultural yields, which, in certain situations, could contribute to migration.”

The National Intelligence Estimate looked at the hydro-political landscape with a key judgement being: “The increasing physical effects of climate change are likely to exacerbate cross-border geopolitical flashpoints as states take steps to secure their interests. The reduction in sea ice already is amplifying strategic competition in the Arctic over access to its natural resources. Elsewhere, as temperatures rise and more extreme effects manifest, there is a growing risk of conflict over water and migration, particularly after 2030.”

The reports have been published at the same time as UN officials warn G20 countries about the dangers of failing to act meaningfully ahead of COP 26 next week. This particular climate conference has been slated as the last chance to tackle key issues that the global community face with regards to slowing down global warming.

Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, addressed the Saudi Green Initiative Forum on October 24 saying that if countries do not work together to reduce greenhouse gases the results could be disastrous: “It would mean less food, so probably a crisis in food security. It would leave a lot more people vulnerable to terrible situations, terrorist groups and violent groups. It would mean a lot of sources of instability.”