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(At right) National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and his staff hold copies of a new national intelligence estimate on climate change from across the nation’s intelligence community. Defense 1 Command Site – Prince William Sound, Washington. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Mick Mulvaney warned lawmakers last week the White House’s fiscal year 2020 budget would drastically boost the deficit, in large part because of a continuing escalating cost of military intervention abroad, notably in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.

And now, one of the agency’s longtime, in-house experts has offered one of the most realistic assessments of the economic and national security consequences of climate change in almost two decades.

Confronted by the most ambitious climate change bill yet this Congress, New Hampshire Republican Sen. Ed Markey and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., set out to pass a bill this week that would “require the federal government to calculate costs and benefits of global warming” as it does for war costs.

‘Everybody on The Hill’: Analysts Facing Potential Federal Shutdown Feud Over Climate Bill

Watch this report from 2018 as analysts Mark Knoller and Steve Kopack discuss the prospects of the Senate passing a bill this week that would “require the federal government to calculate costs and benefits of global warming.” (Published Monday, April 30, 2018)

“The damage climate change will cause by the end of the century depends heavily on how much the federal government engages in international climate negotiations,” says a new report from the Center for Climate and Security, which is affiliated with the National Intelligence Council at the CIA.

Released Monday, the congressionally mandated report, commissioned by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and part of a long tradition of nonpartisan work from the intelligence agency, is delivered to presidents and Congresses every few years.

Its last full volume, the 2014 Armed Forces Climate Change Working Group report, concluded, for example, that climate change would place an increasingly disproportionate burden on Navy command and control chains, requiring more assets and greater training for our nation’s sailors and soldiers. And the report, signed by 192 defense and defense-related decision-makers, noted that less cash could be allocated to new counterinsurgency operations — in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example — due to a reduced budget for training.

And yet, the 2017 report from the National Climate Assessment, issued by the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said climate change was projected to increase both civilian and military casualties, cause greater maritime vulnerability for the nation’s merchant fleet, increase flooding and high-altitude winds associated with wildfires, and threaten nuclear weapons storage facilities.

“As climate change impacts become increasingly severe and widespread, U.S. national security requirements for effective national defense — including navigation, transport, energy supply, communications, and military and police capabilities — will likely become increasingly constrained,” according to the Tuesday report.

At this point, the national security implications of the most recent report are not hypothetical. The CIA’s National Intelligence Council estimates that if the U.S. obtains all the permits it would like to develop fossil fuels in the future, it will lose one and half times as much revenue from taxing carbon emissions as it will have to invest in clean energy, according to a written summary of the report.

And since “many Americans will need clean energy to supplement their existing energy diet” in coming decades, “we might expect to need more coal-fired power plants in the years to come,” the report states.

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