Monday, April 19, 2010

Taking Up the Security Challenge of Climate Change

"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 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.

...[Andrew W.] 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. "--The Observer (2-22-04)

The pessimistic, classified 2004 Pentagon study commissioned by "futurist-in-chief" Andrew W. Marshall, the Director of the Office of Net Assessment, and cited in The Observer (2-22-04) evidently argues that global warming and the possibility of abrupt climate change are a threat to America's national security.

Now an unclassified study has been published by The Strategic Studies Institute of the United States Army War College.

Authored by Rymn J. Parsons, the study is titled Taking Up the Security Challenge of Climate Change [Download it Now]:

Brief Synopsis

Climate change, in which man-made global warming is a major factor, will likely have dramatic and long lasting consequences with profound security implications, making it a challenge the United States must urgently take up. The security implications will be most pronounced in places where the effects of climate change are greatest, particularly affecting weak states already especially vulnerable to environmental destabilization. Two things are vitally important: stemming the tide of climate change and adapting to its far-reaching consequences. This project examines the destabilizing effects of climate change and how the military could be used to mitigate global warming and to assist at-risk peoples and states to adapt to climate change, thereby promoting stability and sustainable security. Recommendations are made on the importance of U.S. leadership on the critical issue of global warming, on defining and dealing with the strategic dimensions of climate change, and, as a case in point, on how Sino-American cooperation in Africa would not only benefit areas where climate change effects are already pronounced, but also strengthen a crucial bilateral relationship. [Taking Up the Security Challenge of Climate Change]

The introduction to the study states:

The views expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government. Authors of Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) publications enjoy full academic freedom, provided they do not disclose classified information, jeopardize operations security, or misrepresent official U.S. policy. Such academic freedom empowers them to offer new and sometimes controversial perspectives in the interest of furthering debate on key issues. [Download it Now]

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