Oops… Pentagon Says Global Warming Is Real

by Kevin Jon Heller

Apparently, the Bush Administration forgot to tell the Pentagon that global warming is nothing more than a hoax perpetrated by the Left:

Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

‘Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,’ concludes the Pentagon analysis. ‘Once again, warfare would define human life.’

The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.

The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Climate change ‘should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern’, say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.

An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is ‘plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately’, they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.

The “national security President” indeed!

UPDATE: Jack quite rightly points out in the comments that the leaked report is a “worst-case scenario.” But that isn’t the point. What is notable about the report is that the Pentagon has been assuming that global warming is real and potentially devastating — even if only in the worst case — while Bush and Cheney continue to insist that global warming may be nothing more than a natural phenomenon that does not require significant government attention (such as ratifying Kyoto).

Here is Bush:

QUESTION: I know you’ve said you are not planning to see Al Gore’s new movie, but do you agree with the premise that global warming is a real and significant threat to the planet?

BUSH: I think it’s — I have said consistently that global warming something is a serious problem. There is a debate over whether it’s manmade or naturally caused.

And here is Cheney:

JONATHAN KARL: Where is the science on this? Is global warming a fact? And is it human activity that is causing global warming?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Those are the two key questions. I think there’s an emerging consensus that we do have global warming. You can look at the data on that, and I think clearly we’re in a period of warming. Where there does not appear to be a consensus, where it begins to break down, is the extent to which that’s part of a normal cycle versus the extent to which it’s caused by man, greenhouse gases, et cetera.

The Bush Administration’s contempt for the scientifically-indisputable fact that greenhouse gas emissions cause global warming is demonstrated perfectly by the following chart from the United States Climate Action Report (click to enlarge):


Notice anything odd? Kevin Drum of The Political Animal did:
The “reduced” line in the chart on the right is exactly the same as the “business as usual” line in the original DOE chart on the left. Bush’s proposals don’t actually reduce emissions at all. He just created a higher line out of whole cloth and labeled it “business as usual” so that his line would look lower.

They never cease to amaze, do they?

Couldn’t have put it better myself.

http://opiniojuris.org/2007/03/05/oops-pentagon-says-global-warming-is-real/

5 Responses

  1. Nice cheap shot. It’d be fun to point out all the different ways that this article is obviously overstating things, but let’s limit it to just a couple:

    1. The Bush administration has not “denied that climate change even exists,” though he has questioned how much man has done / can do to exacerbate / ameliorate the problem. See, e.g., NY Times, March 3, 2007, at A5 (“Mr. Bush has elevated global warming higher on his list of concerns. This year, for the first time since he took office in 2001, he touched on ‘global climate change’ in the State of the Union Message, calling it a ‘serious challenge.’”). Global warming activists come off as shrill alarmists when they deny such obvious distinctions.

    2. Does any serious climatologist believe that Britain is going to be a “siberian” climate in 13 years? Many experts agree that temperatures could rise a few degrees in the equator and the ice caps could melt, which could result in a number of drastic changes in climate, but come on — this doesn’t pass the smell test at all. Certainly you won’t find anything that dire in the IPCC report.

    In the end, this is just another “secret” worst-case scenario plan that leftist media outlets trumpet from time to time — watch out, the Pentagon has plans to invade Canada! The Pentagon has plans for a post-apocalyptic “Road Warrior” scenario! What a shocker!

    But hey, it gives us more material to make fun of that silly American president, so who cares?

  2. Bush on global warming:

    QUESTION: I know you’ve said you are not planning to see Al Gore’s new movie, but do you agree with the premise that global warming is a real and significant threat to the planet?

    BUSH: I think it’s — I have said consistently that global warming something is a serious problem. There is a debate over whether it’s manmade or naturally caused.

    Cheney on global warming:

    JONATHAN KARL: Where is the science on this? Is global warming a fact? And is it human activity that is causing global warming?

    THE VICE PRESIDENT: Those are the two key questions. I think there’s an emerging consensus that we do have global warming. You can look at the data on that, and I think clearly we’re in a period of warming. Where there does not appear to be a consensus, where it begins to break down, is the extent to which that’s part of a normal cycle versus the extent to which it’s caused by man, greenhouse gases, et cetera.

  3. I think you’re still missing a step here: Does the Pentagon report even say that this drastic climate change is man-made? I’ve read the article a couple times, and I keep missing the part where they get beyond insinuation and conflating the Pentagon report with other statements by global warming activists — where does it say the Pentagon believes that climate change is caused by humans?

    It’s one thing to think that Bush et al. would deny global warming, period — that would be silly, without a doubt. But I don’t think it’s silly to demand more evidence of human involvement before launching burdensome initiatives to cut down on carbon emissions. Not all of us — and probably a small minority of us — can afford to live green.

    I don’t know how much my car actually affects the climate, and I haven’t seen convincing evidence to suggest that Al Gore knows either. But the point that’s most germane to your post is that the Pentagon is not really disagreeing with the administration. The article simply concludes that, since the Pentagon envisions some bad consequences of climate change, that “[t]he findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists.” As we’ve said, this is not true, and undermines any credibility the article might have otherwise had.

  4. Kevin,

    Your analysis is a good one, but you may want to ease up on the breathlessness: this isn’t news. The article is dated February 22, 2004, and the report actually wasn’t “secret”, as Fortune Magazine reported the story on February 9.

    I also take issue with Jack’s claim that “Not all of us — and probably a small minority of us — can afford to live green.” That canard is a red herring. You don’t have to redo your house to reduce your carbon footprint substantially, and the little changes end up saving lots of money and convenience: turning down the thermostat a couple of degrees, replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs, canceling unsolicited junk mail and catalogs, buying more local food, unplugging energy-sucking battery chargers and other electronics when not in use, and so forth. Regardless of whether you think that industrial and automotive emissions cause global warming, there’s no reason not to reduce one’s energy bills and ease up on the power-plant pollution while you’re at it.

  5. Good points, Jacob, and well taken.

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