Intelligence officials testified before a Senate committee about global threats. Left to right: FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Robert Ashley, National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo. Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
In their annual summary of global threats, the nation’s intelligence agencies warned on Tuesday that climate change and other environmental trends “are likely to fuel economic and social discontent—and possibly upheaval—through 2018.”
While there may not be indications of an abrupt and cataclysmic event on the immediate horizon, the trends are already visible, they said in a statement presented to the Senate Intelligence Committee at a hearing where the Trump administration’s top intelligence officials testified.
The statement was matter-of-fact and brief, but unambiguous. Normally, conclusions like these might not deserve much notice. But in an administration where top officials, including some with intelligence responsibilities, have repeatedly questioned the basic science of global warming, such a frank confirmation of the mainstream consensus was striking.