DNI should create a climate change monitoring body, says DSB

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The Director of National Intelligence should stand up an organization to monitor how climate change affects political and economic development worldwide and its possible impacts on U.S. national security, recommends a Defense Science Board task force.

"Climate change will only grow in concern for the United States and its security interests," writes Paul Kaminski, chairman of DSB's task force on trends and implications of climate change on national and international security. The task force released a report (.pdf) dated October 4 that was posted publically online in early November.

It's very possible that increased temperatures will cause more drought and disease, decrease renewable water resources in areas such as Africa, create transboundary water issues and further aggravate regional tensions, note report authors.

The new intelligence community entity should engage leadership across government agencies but also reach out to international stakeholders to identify global solutions, report authors say.

A strong climate database for collecting climate information is also needed and should be managed by the Defense Department with contribution from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Geological Survey, NASA and the CIA, they add.

This new organization and database are needed because CIA's Center on Climate Change and National Security would not meet DSB's proposed requirements. Public reporting and information sharing on climate observation data at CIA is limited. "Compartmentalizing climate change impact research can only hinder progress," note authors.

"The climate information system would use a combination of sustained observations and models to monitor, forecast and reanalyze data associated with essential climate variables," suggests the task force. "Climate data records, including trends, will be produced, archived and disseminated."

The report also recommends further support of satellite technology to monitor climate change.

For more:
- see the DSB report (.pdf)

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