Gov't reports say climate change affecting immigration, national security in U.S.

Gov't reports say climate change affecting immigration, national security in U.S.
Vehicles wait at the U.S.-Mexico border to enter the United States on March 21. File Photo by Ariana Drehsler/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The White House and the entire U.S. intelligence community each issued key reports on Thursday that underscore the harm posed by climate change as it relates to priorities like national security and immigration.

The White House report examines the climate impacts on migration, and the intelligence assessment weighs a broader scope of the potential damage.


The latter report -- which is the first to include a consensus on climate change from all 18 elements of the U.S. intelligence community -- outlines a number of areas of vital U.S. interest that are under threat from global warming.

"Geopolitical tensions are likely to grow as countries increasingly argue about how to accelerate the reductions in net greenhouse gas emissions," the 27-page National Intelligence Estimate on Climate states.

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"Forecasts indicate that intensifying physical effects of climate change out to 2040 and beyond will be most acutely felt in developing countries, which we assess are also the least able to adapt to such changes."

The report also said the physical impact of climate change is likely to "exacerbate cross-border geopolitical flash points as states take steps to secure their interests."


The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Defense Department, Homeland Security Department and National Security Council contributed to the assessment.

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The White House said in its report that there's a definitive link between climate change and immigration, and that Thursday was the first time the U.S. government is recognizing the cause and effect.

"The accelerating trend of global displacement related to climate impacts is increasing cross-border movements ... particularly where climate change interacts with conflict and violence," the 37 page report, titled "The Impact of Climate Change on Migration," states.

Recommendations in the White House report include creating an interagency policy process on climate change and migration, improving analytics, establishing programs and investments into climate change mitigation and legislative action to address the crisis.

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The recommendations in the reports reflect a pledge by President Joe Biden to make climate change a central tenet of foreign policy and national security.

"The climate crisis is reshaping our physical world, with the Earth's climate changing faster than at any point in modern history and extreme weather events becoming more frequent and severe," the White House added.

"We are already experiencing the devastating impacts that climate has wreaked on almost every aspect of our lives, from food and water insecurity to infrastructure and public health, this crisis is exacerbating inequalities that intersect with gender, race, ethnicity and economic security."


The sweeping assessments released on Thursday came one day after a study found that almost 100 of scientific studies agree that the cause of climate change is human activity.

"It's pretty much case closed for any meaningful public conversation about the reality of human-caused climate change," one expert in the study said.

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