From a correspondent in Washington
MAJOR world climate changes were under way that would cause economic and political upheavals “almost beyond comprehension”, an internal report of the Central Intelligence Agency has warned the US Government.
“The new climatic era brings a promise of famine and starvation to many areas of the world”, the report warns.
The report, which contends that the Climate changes began in 1960, is based on a study by Mr Reid Bryson of the University of Wisconsin.
Its basic premise is that the world’s climate is cooling and will revert to conditions prevalent between 1600 and 1850 — when the earth’s population was less than 1,000 million and its rural, pre-industrial era civilisations were largely capable of feeding themselves.
Last March, estimated world population reached 4,000 million. A return to cooler temperatures in today’s fragile, interdependent global economic structure would mean that India, China and the Soviet Union — among other northern hemisphere nations — will be hard pressed to feed their populations.
The report notes that ”the change of climate is cooling some significant agricultural areas and causing drought in others. If, for example, there, is a northern hemisphere drop of one degree centigrade, it would mean that India will have a major drought every four years and can only support three-fourths of her present population”.
India’s estimated population is 586 million.
“The world reserve would have to supply 30 to 50 million metric tons of grain each year to pre vent the death of 150 million Indians”, the re port said.
“China, with a major famine every five years, would require a supply of 50 million metric Ions of grain. The Soviet Union would lose Kazakhstan for grain production, thereby showing a yearly loss of 48 million metric tons of grain.
“Canada, a major exporter, would lose over 50 per cent of its production capability and 75 per cent of its exporting capabilities. Northern Europe will “lose 25 to 30 per cent of its present production capability while the Common Market countries would zero their exports”.
The report, which- was concerned with possible political and economic threats the United States could expect from such drastic events, said the starvation and famine would lead to social unrest and global migration of populations.