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Renee Parsons

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Pentagon Study Cites Climate Change as National Security Threat

Posted: 10/03/2012 1:52 pm

Even before recent predictions that Arctic sea ice would melt by the summer of 2016 in a "final collapse," setting off a "global disaster," the Pentagon and the Center for Naval Analyses's (CNA) Military Advisory Board had already gone on record warning about the impacts of climate change as a threat to national security.

To better understand the impact of global water challenges on U.S. national security interests, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requested the intelligence community to produce a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) which resulted in an unclassified Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) prepared by the National Intelligence Council (NIC).

Even after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released its ICA on Global Water Security in February, 2012 and the ICA and the CNA released its National Security and the Threat of Climate Change in 2007, the current incarnation of the Republican party continues to deny the relationship of CO2 emissions to extreme weather patterns -- with presidential candidate and former Governor Mitt Romney stating that "there remains a lack of scientific consensus on the extent of warming... and the severity of the risk."

While the 2008 Republican party platform included language that called for a "decrease in emissions, reduc[tion of] excess greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and mitigat[ion of] the impact of climate change," the party of Theodore Roosevelt experienced a seismic shift in its 2012 platform, eliminating any reference to climate change with the exception of prohibiting the "EPA from moving forward with new greenhouse gas regulations." The platform also reiterated vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's accusation that climatologists use "statistical tricks to distort their findings and intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change."

However, In a stunning rebuke to climate change nay-sayers who routinely malign the United Nations and, most especially, its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the ICA cites several U.N. studies and especially relies on the IPCC's 2007 Assessment Report for dire predictions on the impact of climate change on water resources globally. In typically understated, cool and detached bureaucratese -- even when predicting potentially horrendous global implications -- the ICA concluded that "climate change will cause water shortages in many areas of the world" (including the western U.S.) that will "suffer a decrease in water resources due to climate change" and that, if left unaddressed, "water challenges worldwide will pose a threat to U.S. security interests."

Although the ICA lacks a specificity regarding explicit threats and fails to clearly enunciate the vulnerability of the planet's seacoast cities and the world's coastline population, the document does identify the Colorado River, which provides 27 million Americans with drinking water as susceptible to "dry up by 2057 due to climate change and overuse."

Water remains a finite quantity in a state of constant flux, covering 75 percent of the planet, yet the document avoids any mention of the physics of water, the source of all life on the planet, its immense power to create new landscapes, ferocity to sweep away any object in its path and ability to create massive land upheavals of biblical proportions.

While the ICA avoided any predictions that might be criticized as politically-inspired hyperbole, CNA Congressional witnesses -- none of which can be accused of being starry-eyed liberals -- have been less politically constrained in sounding the alarm:

· On October 15, 2009, retired USAF General Charles F. Wald testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee, reiterating the CNA finding, saying that "we must... now prepare to respond to the consequences of dramatic population migrations, pandemic health issues and significant food and water shortages due to the possibility of significant climate change" and that "Energy security and a sound response to climate change cannot be achieved by an increased use of fossil fuels."

· In May, 2009, retired USN Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee pointed to an "over reliance on fossil fuels" and said that "climate change has the potential to create sustained natural and humanitarian disasters on a scale and at a frequency far beyond those we see today."

· For more information, see CNA's An Ounce of Prevention: Preparing for the Impact of a Changing Climate on US Humanitarian and Disaster Response" 2011.

While the Pentagon and intelligence community are routinely treated with great reverence on Capitol Hill, with their authority unquestioned and their opinions dutifully accepted as gospel, deniers of climate change have managed to avoid any response to the Pentagon's ICA or the CNA and its Board of three and four star Admirals and Generals. Republicans like Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is presumably aware of the above testimony and documents, prefer to rely on Genesis 8:22 as proof of God's dominion over weather.

 
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