A U.S. intelligence report says it is likely that, as the world's population grows and demand increases for scarce resources, international tensions will increase in future years. The report says climate change could also lead to political instability. VOA's Catherine Cannon has this report from Washington.
The National Intelligence Council (NIC) predicts that international tensions could increase in the coming years as world population growth puts pressure on energy, food and water resources. The NIC counselor Mathew Burrows says these necessities will be at the center of international conflicts.
"Resource questions are going to become an increasingly bigger issue on the international agenda. Energy is a good example," he said. "A lot of production will plateau or peak in many countries. You will have a concentration in the Middle East."
The National Intelligence Council report is published every four years to give U.S. leaders insight into future problems as well as opportunities.
In this year's Global Trends 2025 report, the Council says severe weather due to climate change could also increase tensions in the future.
Burrows, the organizer of the report, says climate change is inevitable, and its pace is uncertain. He says the Council predicts climate change will have a physical impact on the world by 2025, unless governments take precautions.
What we could see is a lot more extreme weather events happening, and we actually talk about one here in a scenario with a hurricane hitting New York," he said.
In the fictitious scenario outlined in the report, thousands of people would have to be evacuated and the New York Stock Exchange could suffer a devastating blow.
The NIC also addresses the future of terrorism. It predicts that while terrorism is unlikely to disappear by 2025, its appeal could lessen if economic growth continues in the Middle East and youth unemployment in the region is reduced. But the report says the spread of technologies in the future could put nuclear weapons within the reach of terrorist groups.
Burrows says, although the council is trying to point out the potential for future risks and instabilities, the predictions are not meant to be pessimistic. He hopes the report will create the opportunity for changes now.
"What we do believe is, knowledge is power, and understanding how things could develop and how things could go in a very bad way, understanding before it happens is your best prevention against it happening," he said.
The NIC predicts future global trends every four years after the U.S. presidential election. Burrows says the council consulted hundreds of experts from more than 20 countries for its report.