Climate change is likely to crank up geopolitical tensions as temperatures rise and nations argue about who is responsible for fixing it, according to a new national intelligence estimate.
The intelligence community document is one of four climate-related reports released on Thursday by national-security agencies ahead of President Joe Biden’s trip to the United Nations Climate Change Conference at the end of this month. They explain how a warming planet is expected to escalate geopolitical tensions, increase instability, and drive migration. Biden will travel to Glasgow for the conference armed with this data in a bid to convince allies around the world to act.
“We alone cannot solve this challenge. We need the rest of the world to accelerate their progress alongside with us,” a senior administration official told reporters ahead of the report release. “These analyses will serve as a foundation for our critical work on climate and security moving forward.”
The national intelligence estimate found that by 2040, there will likely be rising instability around the world because of strained energy and food infrastructure, which is likely to create an increased demand for humanitarian aid and military help. It concluded that a warming climate will exacerbate existing geopolitical problems, including migration to escape climate impacts.
But climate change is also likely to increase global political tensions by 2040 as countries argue about who is moving quickly and forcefully enough. Some countries are also likely to resist the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, breeding resentment from those who are taking aggressive action.
“The cooperative breakthrough of the Paris Agreement may be short lived as countries struggle to reduce their emissions and blame others for not doing enough,” the report says, adding that there is also likely to be friction between developed and developing nations, which will expect financial aid and technology assistance from developed countries to meet emissions goals.