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Intelligence community: ‘No country will be spared’ from climate-related challenges

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The intelligence community is warning of threats to national security posed by climate change in new reports announced by the White House on Thursday. 

The White House said in a fact sheet that the first-ever National Intelligence Estimate on Climate Change warned of threats to security from climate change and represents the consensus of all 18 intelligence community elements, which includes military intelligence, the CIA and other government departments. 

The report says that risks come from climate-effects straining countries’ stability in certain regions, as well as geopolitical tension as countries argue who should be taking action on climate and how quickly to act and cross-border issues as countries try to secure their interests from climate threats. 

“No country will be spared from challenges directly related to climate change,” the fact sheet said. 

The report itself warns that physical impacts of climate change will hit developing countries worst — and that these countries will be least likely to adapt to the changes, increasing the possibility for political instability and internal conflict. 

It specifically highlighted 11 countries that it says will face the greatest threats: Afghanistan, Myanmar, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia and Iraq. 

The administration also released a report recognizing the link between climate and migration, the first time the federal government is officially recognizing the link. 

It notes that while climate is not usually the sole reason for migration, moving can be an important way for people to respond to climate threats and to address their well-being.  

It calls for humanitarian assistance programs to help address underlying causes and says that in “limited instances” people fleeing climate impacts may have valid claims for refugee status. 

The administration also released reports on climate from the Defense and Homeland Security departments. 

The Homeland Security report says that the administration will seek to help individuals and communities become more resilient to climate change and prepare for an increase in climate-driven emergencies. 

Updated 4:27 p.m.

Tags Climate change Defense Department Homeland security intelligence community National security

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