The CIA shutters its climate change center, because who needs it?
The CIA will close its Center on Climate Change and National Security.
Ugh. Who’d it sleep with?
Kidding! It didn’t sleep with anyone; it is inanimate, and sleeping with things requires animation. (Generally.)
The center was designed as a small unit of senior specialists focused on the impact that environmental changes could have on political, economic and social factors in countries of concern to the United States. The analysts probed questions such as, under what scenarios might a massive drought cause large-scale migration, and when might a government’s failure to respond to a devastating flood open the door for terrorist groups to win over the local populace?
Since we never have droughts or floods, it’s easy to see why this got the axe.
[C]ongressional Republicans skeptical of the science behind climate change sought to block the center’s funding shortly after it was launched. Those efforts failed, but sources say the center received little internal support after Panetta left the CIA in 2011 to take the top job at the Defense Department. Under his successor, David Petraeus, the agency was highly focused on terrorism, specifically targeted killings using armed drones.
It is rumored that David Petraeus asked if we couldn’t kill climate change with a drone attack, but when the answer came back (“Uncertain.”) he decided to spike the program.
The point being: It is not very smart to eliminate funding for a section of your intelligence agency which is committed to identifying problems stemming from what will likely be the most disruptive factor in geopolitics over the next century. More like Central Un-Intelligence Agency, am I right?
In all seriousness: This is short-sighted and depressing. If you need me, I’m going to be reading about sex scandals for the rest of the year.
Get Grist in your inbox