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Climate change may challenge national security, classified report warns
Date:6/25/2008

s, Egypt and Indonesia. China and the Philippines alone have 64 million people in the lowest elevation zones (1 meter above sea level). In Egypt, a longtime major recipient of U.S. military aid, and scene of recurring internal strife, 37% of people live in within 10 meters of sea level in the fertile Nile delta. In other nations, disruptions in rainfall or other temperature-driven phenomena could contribute to dangerous instability due to crop failures or other phenomena. These include Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Congo, Ethiopia and Jordan, suggests the CIESIN research.

Climate-related security impacts could be significant when they cause "a noticeableeven if temporarydegradation in one of the elements of national power (geopoliltical, military, economic, or social cohesion) because it indirectly influences the U.S. homeland, indirectly influences the United States through a major military ally or a major economic partner, or because the global impact is so large, that [it] indirectly consumes U.S. resources," according an NIC briefing document quoted by the newsletter InsideDefense.com, which first reported on the assessment. "The additional stress on resources and infrastructure will exacerbate internal state pressures, and generate interstate friction through competition for resources or disagreement over responses and responsibility for migration."

The assessment, commissioned by NIC last year at the request of the House and Senate intelligence panels, seems to be part of a growing recognition among military officials that climate change must be reckoned with. A 2007 report by the Center for Naval Analysis called for a comprehensive look at the issue. The 2008 National Defense Authorization Act mandates the Pentagon to "examine the capabilities of the U.S. military to respond to consequences of climate change," particularly preparedness for national disasters due to extreme weather. According to InsideDefense.com, U.S. Defense
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Contact: Kevin Krajick
kkrajick@ei.columbia.edu
212-854-9729
The Earth Institute at Columbia University
Source:Eurekalert

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