The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties is here, and that basically means it’s “Climate Week” all over again. All eyes are on this gathering of world leaders, and for good reason. So much is happening, and how COP26 goes will tell us a lot about how prepared the countries of the world are to solve the climate crisis.
I like to zag while others are zigging though, so I’m not going to talk about this meeting in Glasgow. Instead, I want to channel my inner secret agent and talk about the National Intelligence Council. Never heard of it before? That’s the point….
Just kidding. Rather than some government secret, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) is a high-level gathering of the best intelligence professionals in the United States. It provides consensus reports on a wide range of intelligence and national security matters, so it essentially speaks for the American intelligence community. As you might imagine, most of what it creates is classified intelligence for policymakers and military leaders. Sometimes though, the NIC produces a fully declassified document that is available to the public. One of those dropped a couple of weeks ago.
Allow me to present to you the NIC’s “National Intelligence Estimate: Climate Change and International Responses Increasing Challenges to National Security Through 2040.”
Pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee if you plan to dive in, because this is both a weighty and sobering document. Here are some quotes I’ve pulled:
From page 1: “Geopolitical tensions are likely to grow as countries increasingly argue about how to accelerate the reductions in net greenhouse gas emissions needed to meet Paris Agreement goals.”
From page 3: “Given current government policies and trends in technology development, we judge that collectively countries are unlikely to meet the Paris goals….”