WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-50), introduced new legislation to codify portions of President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, which required the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to evaluate the economic and national security impacts of climate change. The original National Intelligence Estimate on Climate Change (NIECC) assessed that “climate change will increasingly exacerbate risks to US national security interests as the physical impacts increase and geopolitical tensions mount about how to respond to the challenge.” Additionally, it found that the international community is unlikely to meet its climate goals under the Paris Agreement, the international accords that aim to limit the planet’s warming to 1.5° C and strengthen our resilience to climate change. Rep. Peters’ National Security Climate Intelligence Act (NSCIA) would require the Director of National Intelligence to provide Congress a similar report every four years.
“From the threat of migration crises to increased competition over resources like water, the original NIECC made clear that climate change poses a serious national security risk,” said Rep Peters. “Since that time, we have only received more concerning news about the pace of climate change and the inadequacy of our response. Congress needs the best possible information to confront this challenge and pass laws that address climate change. This commonsense legislation will promote our national security and economic prosperity.”
Key judgments from the NIECC included:
Key Judgment 1: Geopolitical tensions are likely to grow as countries increasingly argue about how to accelerate the reductions in net greenhouse gas emissions that will be needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals. Debate will center on who bears more responsibility to act and to pay—and how quickly—and countries will compete to control resources and dominate new technologies needed for the clean energy transition. Most countries will face difficult economic choices and probably will count on technological breakthroughs to rapidly reduce their net emissions later.
Key Judgment 2: The increasing physical effects of climate change are likely to exacerbate cross-border geopolitical flashpoints as states take steps to secure their interests. The reduction in sea ice already is amplifying strategic competition in the Arctic over access to its natural resources. Elsewhere, as temperatures rise and more extreme effects manifest, there is a growing risk of conflict over water and migration, particularly after 2030, and an increasing chance that countries will unilaterally test and deploy large-scale solar geoengineering—creating a new area of disputes.
Key Judgment 3: Scientific 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. These physical effects will increase the potential for instability and possibly internal conflict in these countries, in some cases creating additional demands on US diplomatic, economic, humanitarian, and military resources. Despite geographic and financial resource advantages, the United States and partners face costly challenges that will become more difficult to manage without concerted effort to reduce emissions and cap warming.
Full text of the bill here.