Right Hooks

That Time the CIA Worried About Climate Change

"The politics of food will become the central issue."

Dan Gilmore · Nov. 17, 2015
Little Ice Age

“Climate is now a critical factor,” the CIA wrote. “The politics of food will become the central issue of every government.” Over the past few years, the CIA saw geopolitical disruptions because of climate and its report, “A Study of Climatological Research as it pertains to Intelligence Problems,” set out to explore the issue. Crops around the world were failing. A flood in Pakistan blanketed 2.8 million acres. Food shortages led to the deposition of a politician in Russia. Rice shortages in Ecuador were destabilizing the country. The report feared that the prime time for growing crops was in the past and hungry countries would stop at nothing to feed.

It was 1974.

After a few hundred years of prime weather, the CIA worried the nation was slipping into the “neo-boreal time period” because the world was … getting colder. These days, the last thing on the U.S. government’s mind is the return of a little ice age because the science has changed, apparently. Still, the report asked the question, “Can the Agency depend on climatology as a science to accurately project the future?” Seeing how the Obama administration is gearing up to attend a Paris summit with world leaders in an attempt to cool the globe’s temperature, the answer is no.

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