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US Intelligence warns water scarcity likely to heighten tension between countries

United States Intelligence says that water scarcity, compounded by gaps in cooperative management agreements for nearly half of the world’s international river basins, and new unilateral dam development are likely to heighten tension between countries.

The warning comes in the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community 2018 published this week.

Introducing the Assessment, Daniel R. Coats, the Director of National Intelligence said the effects of air pollution, inadequate water and climate change on human health and livelihood would become more noticeable and that challenges from urbanization and migration would persist.

Commenting on the environment and climate change, the paper says that the impacts of the long-term trends toward a warming climate, more air pollution, biodiversity loss, and water scarcity are likely to fuel economic and social discontent—and possibly upheaval—through 2018.

“Extreme weather events in a warmer world have the potential for greater impacts and can compound with other drivers to raise the risk of humanitarian disasters, conflict, water and food shortages, population migration, labor shortfalls, price shocks, and power outages. Research has not identified indicators of tipping points in climate-linked earth systems, suggesting a possibility of abrupt climate change.”

It also warns that accelerating biodiversity and species loss—driven by pollution, warming, unsustainable fishing, and acidifying oceans—will jeopardize vital ecosystems that support critical human systems.

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