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U.S. Intelligence Officials Warn Climate Change Is a Worldwide Threat

Their annual assessment says climate hazards such as extreme weather, droughts, floods, wildfires, and sea level rise threaten infrastructure, health and security.

National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and directors of the FBI, CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency testify on the Worldwide Threat Assessment before a Senate committee. (Credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty) Click to Enlarge.

The nation’s intelligence community warned in its annual assessment of worldwide threats that climate change and other kinds of environmental degradation pose risks to global stability because they are “likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress, and social discontent through 2019 and beyond.”

Released Tuesday, the Worldwide Threat Assessment prepared by the Director of National Intelligence added to a swelling chorus of scientific and national security voices in pointing out the ways climate change fuels widespread insecurity and erodes America’s ability to respond to it.

“Climate hazards such as extreme weather, higher temperatures, droughts, floods, wildfires, storms, sea level rise, soil degradation, and acidifying oceans are intensifying, threatening infrastructure, health, and water and food security,” said the report, which represents the consensus view among top intelligence officials.  “Irreversible damage to ecosystems and habitats will undermine the economic benefits they provide, worsened by air, soil, water, and marine pollution.”

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