The National Intelligence Council has released a report on the expected effects of climate change to the Caribbean region. This 21 page report is entitled Mexico, The Caribbean and Central America: The Impact of Climate Change to 2030: Geopolitical Implications (NIC Conference Report, Jan. 2010). The report is authored by a team of private researchers under the Global Climate Change Research Program contract with the CIA’s Office of the Chief Scientist.
The prognosis of these analysts is bleak.
They see considerable potential for “civil unrest and internal conflicts leading to increased migration” (p. 3).
The source of these tensions is both predictable and (apparently) intractable: growing population and energy consumption, rising sea levels, fresh-water scarcity and land degradation.
One obvious conclusion is declining food production and the attendant potential for domestic unrest.
With the (temporary) exception of Mexico, these countries are overwhelmingly dependent on oil imports and therefore “remain highly vulnerable to variable petroleum base supply and cost as experienced in the past few years” (p. 14).
The issue of water supply may be even more pressing.
The plight of Mexico City is particularly concerning: it is already “experiencing severe water scarcity and aquifer depletion…. With a population of more than 20 million, the city must pump water from great distances and has had to ration water at least three times in 2009” (p. 12).
Almost all countries in the region have inadequate health services and limited emergency response capability.
The authors are commended for their honest and direct assessment.
At the top and bottom of every page is the disclaimer, “This paper does not represent US Government views,” which is entirely understandable.
This NIC report is available here:
Mexico, The Caribbean and Central America: The Impact of Climate Change to 2030: Geopolitical Implications