You may not know that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is planning on opening up a climate change office. Hey, there's probably a lot that we don't know about the CIA. Senator John Barrasso from Wyoming doesn't like this idea one bit and is hoping to starve the office of funding before it even gets started, reports The New York Times. Why does a department of spies need a climate change office? Keep reading to find out.The CIA official Center for Climate Change and National Security is (will be) established, "to look at how droughts, rising seas, mass migrations, and competition for resources could affect the nation's military and economic priorities." Yay! We don't want to say we told you so, but....
Senator Barrasso is concerned that the CIA will be wasting time watching weather patterns rather than capturing terrorists, but the CIA insists that the office won't be duplicating the function of other government offices and that the research will be used to advise negotiators as they work on international climate agreements, aka Copenhagen. CIA Director Leon Panetta says, "Decision makers need information and analysis on the effects climate change can have on security. The CIA is well positioned to deliver that security."
In fact, Barrasso is arguing that the agencies charged with "sitting in a dark room watching polar ice caps" should just keep doing that and let them provide information to the CIA. Although, the CIA might have satellites and information gathering capabilities that the scientists at NOAA, the EPA and other science agencies just don't have, especially the global potential and particularly with the security angle. The science agencies are charged with looking at the science, but just not have the background to also deal with the geo-political implications.
This isn't the first time that a military agency has taken an interest in climate change. Just last year the National Intelligence Council published a report on the security implications of climate change. The report said climate change could put a strain on the military, as well as weaken national governments, and increase poverty and environmental degradation. The Center for Naval Analyses also published a report over two years ago also identifying climate change as a threat to national security. But it's one thing to do a study and a whole other issue to establish an entire office...
Does Barrasso not like the climate office because he thinks other offices should be taking care of this, or because deep down he doesn't want to give in to the idea that climate change is real? By establishing another office with international authority to research and act on climate change, is that just giving too much credence to a "theory" that Barrasso is hoping will go away? We thought all the climate naysayers, especially the political ones, were going the way of the dodo. : The New York Times
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