The 2019 Intelligence Community (IC) Worldwide Threat Assessment identified that climate change can threaten security. However, some do not believe climate change is a national security issue, nor do they all trust or understand climate science. As long as climate change seems complex, individuals may experience motivated avoidance, resistance to addressing a complex issue, which increases the likelihood that people will leave the job of addressing climate change to others, namely policymakers. Not discussing climate change delays understand it, and, when there lacks understanding, biases about the issue are more likely to influence decision-making. The results of this analysis, derived from a literature review of publicly available academic research and U.S. policy from 1947 through 2019, suggest that motivated avoidance and biases relating to climate change may affect how IC all-source analysts inform key decision-makers about national security issues by influencing perceptions of climate change as a national security issue, understanding and trust of climate science, and intelligence activities and analyses themselves, even when U.S. policy requires objectivity.
- Jordan Beauregard, Student, National Intelligence University