Ecocentricity Blog: No Lack of Intelligence
I’m not sharing this report out of a desire to scare anyone. Rather, I share it because it shows just how strong the consensus is that we need climate action.
The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties is here, and that basically means it’s “Climate Week” all over again. All eyes are on this gathering of world leaders, and for good reason. So much is happening, and how COP26 goes will tell us a lot about how prepared the countries of the world are to solve the climate crisis.
I like to zag while others are zigging though, so I’m not going to talk about this meeting in Glasgow. Instead, I want to channel my inner secret agent and talk about the National Intelligence Council. Never heard of it before? That’s the point….
Just kidding. Rather than some government secret, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) is a high-level gathering of the best intelligence professionals in the United States. It provides consensus reports on a wide range of intelligence and national security matters, so it essentially speaks for the American intelligence community. As you might imagine, most of what it creates is classified intelligence for policymakers and military leaders. Sometimes though, the NIC produces a fully declassified document that is available to the public. One of those dropped a couple of weeks ago.
Allow me to present to you the NIC’s “National Intelligence Estimate: Climate Change and International Responses Increasing Challenges to National Security Through 2040.”
Pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee if you plan to dive in, because this is both a weighty and sobering document. Here are some quotes I’ve pulled:
From page 1: “Geopolitical tensions are likely to grow as countries increasingly argue about how to accelerate the reductions in net greenhouse gas emissions needed to meet Paris Agreement goals.”
From page 3: “Given current government policies and trends in technology development, we judge that collectively countries are unlikely to meet the Paris goals….”
From page 5: “The cooperative breakthrough of the Paris Agreement may be short lived as countries struggle to reduce their emissions and blame others for not doing enough.” From page 7: “The increasing physical effects of climate change are likely to exacerbate cross-border geopolitical flashpoints as states take steps to secure their interests.” From page 8: “Military activity is likely to increase as Arctic and non-Arctic states seek to protect their investments, exploit new maritime routes, and gain strategic advantages over rivals.” And from page 11: “Scientific forecasts indicate that intensifying physical effects of climate change out to 2040 and beyond will be most acutely felt in developing countries, which we assess are also the least able to adapt to such changes.” You get the idea. The report is chock-full of warnings and concerning projections. If you’re feeling more depressed now than you were a minute ago, I apologize. But I’m not sharing this report out of a desire to scare anyone. Rather, I share it because it shows just how strong the consensus is that we need climate action. For years now, environmentalists in America have been beating the drum on the consensus that climate change is real and that humans are the primary cause. We’ve implored people to “listen to the scientists,” and though we have an incredible community of climate scientists in this country, unfortunately that hasn’t been enough for some people, especially for some elected officials. Maybe, just maybe, those foot draggers will listen to the consensus of the best intelligence professionals in our country instead. This blog is available weekly via email subscription. Click here to subscribe.