Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis

At the request of the U.S. intelligence community, the National Research Council recently conducted a study to assess the impacts of climate change on social and political stresses. In an 18-month study, researchers investigated possible connections between climate and national security concerns and attempted to identify ways to better equip the intelligence community to take climate change into account in their assessments going forward.

Among many lines of research, the study focused on security risks that may arise in situations where the consequences of droughts, heat waves, or storms exceed the capacity of a country or population to cope with such an event and potentially drive migration across international borders. The study makes numerous recommendations on how to proceed given the current and not nearly well enough understood link between climate events and security outcomes.

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