The CIA has pulled the plug on a project designed to investigate climate-related security threats.
The program, which was known as Medea ( Measurement of Earth Data for Environmental Analysis ), was launched back in 1992 under the George H.W. Bush administration.
This secretive initiative offered civilian scientists access for the first time to classified environmental data collected by spy satellites and the military so that it could be used to determine the ways in which climate change might lead to security threats across the globe.
The arrangement was mutually beneficial as it gave scientists the chance to work with higher quality data than they would normally have access to while the CIA benefited from their findings.
Now however in an unexpected move the agency has opted to shut the whole thing down.
“Under the Medea program to examine the implications of climate change, CIA participated in various projects,” a CIA spokesman said in a statement.
“These projects have been completed and CIA will employ these research results and engage external experts as it continues to evaluate the national security implications of climate change.”
The move has raised a lot of questions such as why the program would be closed down now at a time when climate change has become more of an issue than ever before.
It is also unclear how much military climate data will be made available to scientists moving forward.
“The climate problems are getting worse in a way that our data systems are not equipped to handle,” said political scientist Marc Levy. “There’s a growing gap between what we can currently get our hands on, and what we need to respond better.”
“So that’s inconsistent with the idea that Medea has run out of useful things to do.”