Climate: Amid budget scrutiny, CIA shutters climate center -- 11/19/2012 -- www.eenews.net
With the U.S. intelligence budget shrinking, the CIA has quietly shut down its Center on Climate Change and National Security -- a project that was launched with the support of Leon Panetta when he led the agency, but that drew sharp criticism from some Republicans in Congress.
Multiple sources with knowledge of the center said it closed its doors earlier this year, with its staff and analysis continuing under other auspices.
"Especially since Panetta left, there wasn't a lot of love for this at the CIA," a former defense official said of the climate center's work.
Indeed, at least one congressional Republican is celebrating the center's demise.
"Closing the Climate Change Center at the CIA was the right decision," said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who led efforts to block the center's funding, in a statement to Greenwire. "It's critically important for the CIA to focus its resources on preventing terrorism and keeping Americans safe."
But Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, who worked as a CIA intelligence officer for 23 years and led the Department of Energy's intelligence unit from 2005 to 2008, said intelligence agencies have a clear stake in understanding the consequences of climate change.
"You can't have a five-minute discussion with someone with a brain and not realize that this [carbon dioxide] is going to have a huge impact on security," Mowatt-Larssen said.