Climate Change Threatens Country's Security, Warns CSIS

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Climate change threatens national security, warns CSIS

There are many risks, according to the Canadian intelligence agency, that it is about armed violence, social divisions, the loss of biodiversity and habitats or even the appearance of diseases and epidemics.

Canada is threatened by rising waters, both due to the opening of new passage in the Far North only because of the possible flooding of coastal areas.

Climate change poses a serious threat to the country's national security and prosperity, warns the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). In particular, a rise in sea level could engulf parts of British Columbia and parts of the Atlantic provinces.

In a recent analysis, CSIS also says fear the rise of violence among groups that advocate radical alternative solutions to the fight against climate change or among people who want to maintain their current way of life.

This memo was written in April 2021. The Canadian Press recently obtained a copy through the Access to Information Act.

Food and water supplies could be complicated by global warming. (File photo)

CSIS lists several of its concerns related to global warming: threats to Arctic coasts, border security, and pressures on food and water supplies.

According to this organization, a preliminary examination determines that climate change poses a complex long-term threat to the security, safety and prosperity of Canada.

“This threat will not materialize at a specific time […]. The process is ongoing and will gradually gain momentum over the next few decades.

— Excerpt from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service report

In November 2021, a senior CSIS official said during an intelligence conference that global warming would have implications for certain aspects of national security in Canada.

Tricia Geddes, Deputy Director of Policy at CSIS, recalled that this organization had the mandate to anticipate possible threats and understand them in order to support other actors in the Canadian government.

It's no wonder that intelligence agencies are starting to pay more attention to this phenomenon because climate change is having more and more of an effect, points out Simon Dalby, a professor at the ;Wilfrid Laurier University, in Waterloo, Ont.

According to political scientist Will Greaves of the University of Victoria, the CSIS memo is a more sophisticated description of the threats represented by climate change than that found in most other federal government documents.

“It is refreshing to see such analysis by a Canadian state security agency. »

— Will Greaves, University of Victoria

The brief predicts that receding sea ice in the Arctic will pave the way for routine navigation through the Northwest Passage and mining ore and oil in an area that will become more economically viable.

“Great power competition for access to, control of, and influence in the Arctic is likely to intensify. Russian military activity and a growing Chinese presence in this vital region will also pose increased threats.

—Excerpt from Canadian Security Intelligence Service report

Rising water levels could cause loss of infrastructure. Some communities established in coastal areas could even disappear, warns CSIS. For example, some models report large losses in British Columbia and the Atlantic provinces due to sea level rise and flooding.

Episodes of extreme weather conditions, such as storm Fiona in the fall of 2022, could increase in the future. The value of insurable damages totaled $660 million. (File photo)

For the agency, attempting to mitigate the consequences of flooding and extreme weather may be impractical. And the cost of insurance might get too high.

The SCRS also anticipates that people may have to be near wildlife due to reduced biodiversity and habitat loss. This could increase the risk of animal disease transmission and the number of pandemics.

The loss of biodiversity could increase the risk of transmission of diseases of animal origin. (File photo)

Climate change could also potentially encourage the activities of extremists from all political backgrounds.

Professor Greaves agrees, even though he believes CSIS is downplaying the extent of social divisions in Canada.

And those divisions could be further deepened. expand due to the current political context, which is highly polarized. Groups from all political persuasions could adopt potentially violent and disruptive tactics, he adds.

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