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Public Statements

Department Of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, D.C.


Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Madam President, I rise to oppose the Barrasso amendment No. 2567, which would ban funding to the CIA's new Center on Climate Change and National Security. I make these remarks as chairman of the Intelligence Committee and one who strongly supports the new Climate Change center at the CIA.

The Center on Climate Change and National Security that the CIA recently established is fully consistent with the intelligence community's mission of protecting the United States.

It is important to note what the Center will not do. It will not do the science of climate change. It will not make judgments about how or whether the climate is changing. It will not make judgments about why the climate is changing. That work will be done where it belongs, with the scientific community.

The Center will have three tasks. One, it will continue the decade-long program of declassifying imagery for passage to climate change scientists.

Let me give you an example of some of that imagery. It is here on my right, as shown in these photographs. This is Barrow, AK. This is Barrow. This is the Chukchi Sea. As shown here, this is July of 2006. In this picture, this is that same area in July of 2007. You see the decomposition of the ice. They point out its variation by time and, therefore, you can track the impact of the change brought about by global warming from our satellites. So our satellites are used to measure and predict change.

Here is another one. This is the Beaufort Sea in August of 2001. You see the melt ponds in the center, and you see the ice. You see it here--winter in August of 2007. This is from a satellite.

The third one is much more difficult to see, but it is the Bering Glacier in Alaska. Here it is in May of 2005. Here are the big chunks that have broken off. Here they are there. As shown here, this is another satellite photo of the Bering Glacier in Alaska.

The second task of the CIA Center on Climate Change and National Security will be to assess the plans and intentions of other countries, and it will help the administration design verification regimes for any climate change treaties so policymakers can negotiate from a position of strength. This is, in fact, a traditional role for the intelligence community on a wide range of foreign policy issues.

Thirdly, the Center on Climate Change and National Security will assess the national security implications of climate change, which many experts believe will be significant. This will include assessing the national security implications of increased competition for resources, population shifts, water shortages, changes in crop yields, and the spread of climate-sensitive diseases such as malaria.

This is the work that the IC is better positioned than anyone else in the government to do and where CIA's contacts in the academic and think tank communities will pay big dividends.

On September 25, the CIA announced it was going to launch this new center and tackle the devastating long-term challenges that climate change might present to our Nation's security. In other words, this will give the intelligence community the opportunity to collect information and predict how change is going to affect certain countries--the movement of populations, the devastation of crops, the disappearance of water supplies--to be able to anticipate what impact that will have on the Nation's policy and on our national security.

I have no doubt climate changes are going to have an impact on our Nation's security. I also have no doubt our satellites can give us a very positive--meaning in the sense of crisp and delineated--view of these changes as our satellites track climate change across the years.

I believe very strongly the Center on Climate Change is warranted. I believe it will produce intelligence dividends for the Nation, and I believe it is entirely appropriate. Therefore, I would oppose the Barrasso amendment, which would effectively eliminate this new center.

I thank the Chair and yield the floor.


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