Pentagon report – August 2009 – Climate-induced crises could topple governments,feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions, say the analysts, experts at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies who for the first time are taking a serious look at the national security implications of climate change. The changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics. link
2018 news updates:
January 2018: New Pentagon survey: Climate change-related risks to 50% of military infrastructure. The U.S. Department of Defense released a comprehensive new survey of climate change-related risks to military infrastructure worldwide. The study is a response to a Congressional request from 2016. The vulnerability assessment paints a concerning picture of current climate change-related risks to military installations both at home and abroad, with around 50% of 1,684 sites reporting damage from six key categories of those risks. link
January 2018: Pentagon strategy drops climate change as a security threat. The move is unsurprising from the Trump administration; it doesn’t however mean that it is not a priority. link
- US military & Pentagon on climate change threat
- The 2004 Pentagon Report
US military and Pentagon on climate change threat
June 2017: House republicans support military study on climate change. A year after blocking the military from preparing for climate change, several GOP members now vote to support studying the security risks. The Republican-led House Armed Services Committee took a quietly momentous step by passing an amendment requesting a Defense Department report on the security risks posed by climate change. link December 2017: Trump breaks with military leaders, removes climate change from list of national security threats. link
July 2016: Pentagon preparing for mass civil breakdown. Social science is being militarised to develop ‘operational tools’ to target peaceful activists and protest movements. War-games are consistent with a raft of Pentagon planning documents which suggest that National Security Agency mass surveillance is partially motivated to prepare for the destabilizing impact of coming environmental, energy and economic shocks. link
October 2015: “Republicans and Democrats Agree: U.S. Security Demands Global Climate Action”. According to the Wall Street Journal this statement was undersigned by 48 national security and foreign policy leaders, as well as diplomats and former members of Congress from both parties. It urged U.S. government officials and businesses to focus on this growing problem and tackle it before it’s too late. “This issue is critically important to the world’s most experienced security planners. The impacts are real, and the costs of inaction are unacceptable,” link
May 2011: US military goes to war with climate skeptics. A recent report argued, “We must recognise that security means more than defence.” Part of this entails pressing past “a strategy of containment to a strategy of sustainment (sustainability)”. They went on to assert climate change is “already shaping a ‘new normal’ in our strategic environment”.The Pentagon itself stated unequivocally in its February 2010 review “Climate change and energy are two key issues that will play a significant role in shaping the future security environment.” It noted the department of defence is actively “developing policies and plans to manage the effects of climate change on its operating environment, missions and facilities.” link
2004 Pentagon report
PENTAGON TELLS BUSH: CLIMATE CHANGE WILL DESTROY US
Sunday February 22, 2004 – Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York – London Observer –
- Threat to the world is greater than terrorism . . .
- Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war . . .
- Britain will be ‘Siberian’ in less than 20 years
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. It’s 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,” – 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. link
|August 2009: New Pentagon report – Climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions, say the analysts, experts at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies who for the first time are taking a serious look at the national security implications of climate change. The changing global climate will pose profound strategic challenges to the United States in coming decades, raising the prospect of military intervention to deal with the effects of violent storms, drought, mass migration and pandemics. link|