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Defense & Security

Climate change may challenge national security, classified report warns

The National Intelligence Council (NIC) has completed a new classified assessment that explores how climate change could threaten U.S. security in the next 20 years by causing political instability, mass movements of refugees, terrorism, or conflicts over water and other resources in specific countries. The House Intelligence Committee is scheduled to be briefed Wednesday, June 25, on the main findings.

While the assessment itself is confidential, some analyses used as raw material will be open, including a series of studies done by Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). On commission from NIC, CIESIN ranked countries by looking at three climate risks: sea-level rise, increased water scarcity, and an aggregate measure of vulnerability based on projected temperature change, compared with nations' ability to adapt.

"We can pinpoint areas of high projected climate change that are also in historically unstable regions. This suggests that climate change is likely to heighten political risks,' said CIESIN deputy director Marc Levy, a coauthor of the CIESIN studies.

Full press release from The Earth Institute at Columbia University.