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Report by Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Center for a New American Security

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  • mtneuman@juno.com
    Think Tank: Climate Affects Security By ARTHUR MAX AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — Climate change could be one of the greatest national security challenges
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 7, 2007
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      Think Tank: Climate Affects Security
      By ARTHUR MAX

      AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) � Climate change could be one of the greatest
      national security challenges ever faced by U.S. policy makers, according
      to a new joint study by two U.S. think tanks.

      The report, to be released Monday, raises the threat of dramatic
      population migrations, wars over water and resources, and a realignment
      of power among nations.

      During the last two decades, climate scientists have underestimated how
      quickly the Earth is changing � perhaps to avoid being branded as
      "alarmists," the study said. But policy planners should count on
      climate-induced instability in critical parts of the world within 30
      years.

      The report was compiled by a panel of security and climate specialists,
      sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the
      Center for a New American Security. The Associated Press received an
      advance copy.

      Climate change is likely to breed new conflicts, but it already is
      magnifying existing problems, from the desertification of Darfur and
      competition for water in the Middle East to the disruptive monsoons in
      Asia which increase the pressure for land, the report said.

      It examined three scenarios, ranging from the consequences of an expected
      temperature increase of 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit by 2040, to the
      catastrophic implications of a 10-degree rise by the end of the century.

      At the very least, the report said, the U.S. can expect more population
      migrations, both internally and from across its borders; a proliferation
      of diseases; greater conflict in weak states, especially in Africa where
      climates will change most drastically; and a restructuring in global
      power in line with the accessibility of natural resources.

      Left unchecked, "the collapse and chaos associated with extreme climate
      change futures would destabilize virtually every aspect of modern life,"
      said the report, comparing the potential outcome with the Cold War
      doomsday scenarios of a nuclear holocaust.

      "Climate change has the potential to be one of the greatest national
      security challenges that this or any other generation of policy makers is
      likely to confront," said the report.

      Among its contributors were former CIA director James Woolsey, Nobel
      laureate Thomas Schelling, National Academy of Sciences President Ralph
      Cicerone, President Bill Clinton's former chief of staff John Podesta and
      former Vice President Al Gore's security adviser Leon Fuerth.

      The report listed 10 implications of climate change that policy makers
      should consider, including rising tensions between rich and poor nations,
      the backlash resulting from massive migrations, health problems partly
      caused by water shortages and crop failures, and concerns over nuclear
      proliferation as nations increasingly rely on nuclear energy.

      The global balance of power will shift unpredictably as trade patterns
      change, it said. China's importance in the climate equation will grow as
      it increases emissions of greenhouse gases, and Russia's influence will
      increase alongside its exports of natural gas, the report said.

      Attention began to focus earlier this year on the strategic consequences
      of climate change. But the latest report, more than 100 pages long, is
      among the most detailed analyses published so far on security aspects.

      Last April, a a panel of retired top-ranking military officers issued the
      alarm that global warming was a "serious security threat" likely to
      aggravate terrorism and world instability.

      The Office of the National Intelligence Director said the following month
      it has begun working on an assessment of the national security
      implications of climate change.
      http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5josNxJPCLGIsWo_wREwGvEJU2skwD8SM1UH00
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