Climate change poses national security risks, US agencies warn

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Climate change poses national security risks, US agencies warn
© Provided by dw.com The US government wants to respond more efficiently to climate-related crises, such as devastating wildfires in California

US President Joe Biden’s administration sounded the alarm about the worsening climate and its impact on national security this week.

Reports from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the White House on Thursday highlighted the ties between climate change, geopolitical conflict, and migration.

What did the reports say?

In a summary of the intelligence assessments, the White House said future extreme weather events “will increasingly exacerbate a number of risks to US national security interests, from physical impacts that could cascade into security challenges, to how countries respond to the climate challenge.”

The ODNI report said 11 countries, including Haiti and Afghanistan, are “especially are likely to face warming temperatures, more extreme weather and disruption to ocean patterns that will threaten their energy, food, water, and health security.”

The Department of Defense (DoD), in its climate risk analysis, said it will now “consider the effects of climate change at every level of the DoD enterprise.”

The DHS report aimed to put together a strategy to “safeguard the homeland from current and projected climate change-driven disasters.” This year alone, the US witnessed extreme heatwaves, multiple hurricanes and blazing wildfires, which experts say are a result of climate change.

The reports were also the first time the US government officially recognized that climate change is driving migration.

The assessment from the White House suggested that the executive and legislative branches could work together to make climate-related reasons a consideration when granting refugee status. It also highlighted how existing US foreign aid programs could be best used to “reduce the risk of forced migration.”

Dire forecasts come ahead of UN climate summit

The reports were released ahead of the UN climate change conference in Glasgow, Scotland, which will take place from October 31 to November 12. Biden will attend the talks, with the US delegation expected to urge other nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Biden’s advocacy of climate change mitigation is a stark contrast from his predecessor, Donald Trump. During his tenure as president, Trump downplayed climate change and pulled the US out of the 2015 Paris Accords.

The US later moved to rejoin the Paris Agreement on January 20, hours after Biden was sworn in as president.

Author: Wesley Dockery

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