Climate spying begins; and Germany's election carbon angle

By David Callaway, Callaway Climate Insights

As the climate community tallies up the international pledges made during last week’s global leaders summit, two of the world’s biggest intelligence agencies said they are beefing up their climate surveillance capabilities to keep the world honest.

The head of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, and the director of National Intelligence in the U.S. said in separate interviews over the past few days that monitoring climate commitments and tracking political instability caused by weather, immigration, and water and food degradation have become key national security priorities.

For example, one day after Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro pledged to end illegal deforestation in the Amazon at President Biden’s summit last week, he approved a 24% cut to the country’s environmental budget.

For the intelligence services, the changing shape of territories because of global warming, mass movement of populations and the increasing scarcity of resources such as water means the global spy game will be at the leading edge of geopolitics, even as countries pledge to work together.

No surprise that “trust, but verify” will now extend to greenhouse gas emissions. It will be interesting to see how such intelligence plays out in the markets, particularly in fossil fuels. Queue the next James Bond movie.

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. . . . Climate czar John Kerry said last week that a carbon border adjustment tax for the U.S., such as the one the European Union is considering, is on the table. While more politically palatable than a domestic carbon tax or cap-and-trade policy, such border taxes have protectionist implications the administration should think through before pushing forward. Read more here. . . .

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