portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting global

environment | imperialism & war

Pentagon: Global Warming Bigger Threat Than Terrorism

Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years
Threat to the world is greater than terrorism
Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York
Sunday February 22, 2004
The Observer

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.

Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body
of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit
its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. Jeremy
Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA), said that suppression of the report for four months was a further
example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.

Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts could prove
the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a real and
happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United States to
sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change.

A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White House to voice
their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying drive to get the
US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The Observer that
American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the issue when faced
with complaints that America's public stance appeared increasingly out of
touch.

One even alleged that the White House had written to complain about some
of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief
scientific adviser, after he branded the President's position on the issue
as indefensible.

Among those scientists present at the White House talks were Professor
John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to the German
government and head of the UK's leading group of climate scientists at the
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's
internal fears should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to
accept climatic change.

Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office -
and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that
of terrorism - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message,
then this is an important document indeed.'

Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon's dire
warnings could no longer be ignored.

'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going be hard to blow off this sort of
document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's single highest
priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group,
generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to
national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two
groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the
Pentagon,' added Watson.

'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the
Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. It's
pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue,'
said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.

Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a
higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic' shortages of
water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome,
plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic
conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass
migration of populations that could soon be repeated.

Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid
climate change would create global chaos. 'This is depressing stuff,' he
said. 'It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no
enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.'

Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster
happening. 'We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could
start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,' he said.

'The consequences for some nations of the climate change are unbelievable.
It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels would be
worthwhile.'

So dramatic are the report's scenarios, Watson said, that they may prove
vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is known to
accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists disillusioned with
Bush's stance are threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon report
in his campaign.

The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will aid Kerry's
cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank
dedicated to weighing risks to national security called the Office of Net
Assessment. Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast
experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of Defence's
push on ballistic-missile defence.

Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference, said that
the suppression of the report was a further instance of the White House
trying to bury evidence of climate change. 'It is yet another example of
why this government should stop burying its head in the sand on this
issue.'

Symons said the Bush administration's close links to high-powered energy
and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate change was
received sceptically in the Oval Office. 'This administration is ignoring
the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy and oil
companies,' he added.

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,12374,1153530,00.html
A Little More Info 23.Feb.2004 14:20

bart

Saw this one last night too, but when I did a search for it in google-news, I couldn't find one American paper reporting on it. I had planned on reperforming the search to see if they were going to pick it up today, which I just did, and I still couldn't find one major paper reporting. Aside from theories on why this isn't being reported (which does seem suspicious), I did find one article from Fortune, written on 02/09/04, that goes into a little more depth about the report: http://www.fortune.com/fortune/technology/articles/0,15114,582584,00.html?cn

are there any jobs 23.Feb.2004 16:21

that make more 02 than they consume?

"Pentagon planners are grappling" with the problem? But will they make us believe it by being the first to suggest the beating of swords into plowshares, or is this just more "bad intelligence" what will make us think that owning the Middle East's oil reserves is even more vital to us now, as we might need these resources to win the 2015 "War for Food"?

Man, if Peak Oil made us think we owned Iraq, this must really make us think we own the whole world.

Bear in mind I'm obviously quite shocked if the corporate puppets at the Pentagon will even admit global warming exists until their puppetmasters have figured out how to make a swift, greasy buck on it.

I guess speculation may be futile until I actually see some of the wealthiest few fall to their knees and hug a tree, after praying to Holy Jesus and the Almighty Dollar fail them.

War on Gas Guzzlers 23.Feb.2004 18:03

Ryan

Let's Wage War On Gas Guzzlers

If national security is the goal, higher fuel-economy standards are a no-brainer
Dear Mr. President,
As a self-described "war president," you have made national security the highest priority of your Administration. You have launched two wars to overthrow hostile foreign powers. Your statements about energy reflect that war footing. Last November, in urging passage of a major energy bill, you said: "America will be more prosperous and more secure when we are less dependent on foreign sources of energy."

If only your energy strategy were as forceful as your military one. In the name of national security, Americans have sacrificed their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. But what sacrifices are you asking on the home front? If America is too reliant on foreign oil, why not ask Americans to do their part to reduce that reliance? The danger of dependence on imported oil is all too evident today, with OPEC restricting output to force the price of crude to nearly $36 a barrel -- approaching the highest prices since the invasion of Iraq.

Two-thirds of the oil in the U.S. goes for transportation fuels, mainly gasoline. Inescapably, then, improving the mileage of cars and light trucks must be part of the solution. Yet you haven't asked Congress for legislation to increase standards for corporate average fuel economy (CAFE). The standard for cars is 27.5 miles per gallon, the same as in 1985. The standard for light trucks, including sport utilities, is scheduled to bump up to 22.2 mpg by 2007 from a puny 20.7 today. Is that really the best we can do?

Your Administration's latest action on fuel economy has the potential to make matters even worse. The National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration is proposing to change the rules for light trucks and SUVs so that the heaviest ones would have the lowest mileage requirements. Environmentalists worry that the rules, if written the way Detroit wants, would give auto makers an incentive to shift the mix of vehicles they sell toward heavier gas guzzlers.

A straightforward increase in fuel economy standards under the existing framework is a better choice. Industry leaders, of course, would object. General Motors Corp. (GM ) Vice-Chairman Robert A. Lutz has joked that the standards are like fighting obesity by ordering clothing to be made in smaller sizes. But it wouldn't be all that tough to make vehicles that drink less gasoline while improving safety. Proven innovations include variable valve timing (introduced by Honda Motor Co. (HMC ) way back in 1989), direct fuel injection, and "displacement on demand," which takes some of a car's cylinders offline when they aren't needed.

A law that raises fuel-economy standards would prod auto makers to put such well-established technologies into more vehicles while boosting their incentive to develop gasoline-electric hybrids and next-generation technologies, such as fuel cells. Fuel-efficient vehicles might cost more than guzzlers. But that's what sacrifice is all about. Your chief rival for the Presidency, Senator John Kerry, isn't worried that tougher mileage standards will alienate the public. He's campaigning to raise standards to 36 mpg by 2015.

Don't stop there, Mr. President. People buy gas guzzlers because, even at today's prices, gas seems pretty cheap. If you really want to demonstrate leadership, ask Congress to raise federal fuel taxes by, say, 50 cents a gallon. Then return all the revenue that's raised to the public by cutting income taxes and giving tax credits to low-income households that don't pay income taxes. The net tax increase: zero. And what about subjecting SUVs and pickups to the guzzler tax on cars? Or ending the tax break of up to $100,000 for small-business owners who buy those hulking Hummers, Escalades, and Navigators?

Your energy plan does have some good features. They include tax credits for the purchase of hybrid vehicles, funds to help the poor weatherize their homes, and research on cleaner energy sources. But on the critical issue of gas guzzlers, it doesn't go nearly far enough. Mr. War President, you didn't flinch when you ordered U.S. troops into battle. Now show us the same decisiveness on one of the most important fronts of all -- energy security.

By Peter Coy
 http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_09/b3872055.htm

editors, can this article be made a feature? 24.Feb.2004 13:34

CaptainPlanet

It looks to me like someone is posting a lot of articles to get this pushed off the bottom of the newswire. Can this or one of the previous similar threads be made a feature? That way, it stays on the front page longer and more people read it. I think it's extremely important news.