US intel agencies sound the alarm — climate change will 'exacerbate risks' to national security
Kinkade Fire California Fires (Justin Sullivan AFP)

On Friday, CBS reported that U.S. intelligence agencies are outlining the threat that failure to meet global CO2 target limits will have on national security.

"We assess that climate change will increasingly exacerbate risks to US national security interests as the physical impacts increase and geopolitical tensions mount about how to respond to the challenge," said a document released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the umbrella office that oversees all U.S. intelligence agencies. "Intensifying physical effects will exacerbate geopolitical flashpoints, particularly after 2030, and key countries and regions will face increasing risks of instability and need for humanitarian assistance."

Among the risks noted by the report are disasters in particularly vulnerable countries, as well as the scramble by higher-latitude countries to control new shipping lanes and extractive resources exposed by retreating ice sheets.

"While wealthier, more developed countries, including the U.S., are in a 'relatively better position' to deal with the costs and risks associated with climate change, the report says that 'impacts will be massive even if the worst human costs can be avoided,"" reported Olivia Gazis. "The assessment says some unforeseen events could alter its projections, including a significant technological breakthrough or, conversely, a global climate disaster that would mobilize countries to take action."

Worldwide, countries have committed in the Paris agreement to limiting the growth of global temperatures to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

A major part of President Joe Biden's infrastructure agenda is climate change investments, and several subsidy programs for renewable investments and grid modernization are being considered in the Build Back Better Act, although the originally envisioned Clean Electricity Performance Program may lack the votes to clear the Senate.