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North Korea among most vulnerable countries to climate change: report

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A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva, Oct. 2, 2014. Reuters-Yonhap
A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva, Oct. 2, 2014. Reuters-Yonhap

Climate change may lead to increased risks for the United States on the Korean Peninsula as North Korea stands unable to cope with growing physical effects of the environmental challenge, a U.S. intelligence report said Thursday.

The report, National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on climate change, published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, lists North Korea as one of 11 countries that are most vulnerable to climate change.

"Scientific forecasts indicate that intensifying physical effects of climate change out to 2040 and beyond will be most acutely felt in developing countries, which we assess are also the least able to adapt to such changes," said the NIE report.

"These physical effects will increase the potential for instability and possibly internal conflict in these countries, in some cases creating additional demands on U.S. diplomatic, economic, humanitarian, and military resources," it added.

The report said the 11 countries of concern, including North Korea, are "highly vulnerable to the physical effects and lack the capacity to adapt, suggesting that building resilience to climate change in these countries would be especially helpful in mitigating future risks to US interests."

"North Korea's poor infrastructure and resource management probably will weaken its ability to cope with increased flooding and droughts, exacerbating the country's chronic food shortages. Increasing extremes in seasonal weather variations may reduce reservoir water stores during droughts while damaging infrastructure during the rainy monsoon season," it said.

North Korea periodically suffers heavy damage from seasonal droughts and floods.

The U.S. accuses Pyongyang of diverting its resources needed to feed its people to build up its weapons of mass destruction.

The North has staged eight known projectile launches so far this year, with its latest missile tests involving a self-claimed hypersonic missile and a new submarine-launched ballistic missile.

The NIE report comes before global leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, will gather in Glasgow, Britain early next month for the 26th annual summit on climate change, known as the Conference of the Parties. (Yonhap)




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