[FoRK] Malthusiasm

jbone at place.org jbone at place.org
Tue Feb 24 10:53:19 PST 2004

Between Hubbert's Peak and this, I don't know what to think.  Ugh.  I'm  
not typically all that pessimistic about the future --- like, I thought  
the whole Y2K thing was fin-de-siecle foolishness --- but it's looking  
darker and stormier all the time.



Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us

· 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  

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  

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. 

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