[saymaListserv] Fwd: Re: [earthcare] Fw: [san] Pentagon Signals Climate Change as Potential Threat to Nat'l Security: "An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security."
jhminshall at comcast.net
Thu Feb 5 14:35:02 JEST 2004
Dear SAYMA and Atlanta Friends, The following articles may be of
great interest to those of you who are concerned and active
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2004 13:27:09 -0500
To: earthcare at yahoogroups.com
From: Janet Minshall <jhminshall at comcast.net>
Subject: Re: [earthcare] Fw: [san] Pentagon Signals Climate Change as
Potential Threat to Nat'l Security: "An Abrupt Climate Change
Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security."
Dear Quaker Earthcare Friends: Thanks so much for this long and
detailed message about abrupt climate change.
I have read articles and mentions of this possibility/probability for
years. I understood, however, that the beginning of global warming
actually went back to the beginning of civilization, to the
transition from hunting and gathering to farming, not to the
beginning of the industrial revolution. Indeed, there are scientists
who have written about how the warming of the climate on Planet
Earth, first from the advent of agriculture and the spread of it
around the world, and later from the industrial revolution, has
actually delayed the onset of another ice age which would otherwise
have occurred. Does this mean, perhaps, that environmental pollution,
while ugly and objectionable in its effect on our surroundings and on
our air and water resources, has actually given human beings and
human civilization the time to develop?
How much longer can we continue to stave off the onset of a new ice
age, a natural occurrence, which we may have delayed through the
development of agriculture and industrial production? Janet
I sent a copy of the article below, from the New York Times, to some
of you a couple of months ago:
>Subject: NYTimes.com Article: Scientist Links Man to Climate Over the Ages
>Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2003 10:34:45 -0500 (EST)
>December 10, 2003
> By KENNETH CHANG
>SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 9 - Humans have altered the world's
>climate by generating heat-trapping gases since almost the
>beginning of civilization and even prevented the start of
>an ice age several thousand years ago, a scientist said on
>Most scientists attribute a rise in global temperatures
>over the past century in part to emissions of carbon
>dioxide by human activities like driving cars and operating
>Dr. William Ruddiman, an emeritus professor at the
>University of Virginia, said at a meeting of the American
>Geophysical Union here that humans' effect on climate went
>back nearly 10,000 years to when people gave up hunting and
>gathering and began farming.
>Dr. Ruddiman is also reporting his findings in the Journal of
>In a commentary accompanying the article, Dr. Thomas J.
>Crowley of Duke University, said he was first taken aback
>by Dr. Ruddiman's premise. "But when I started reading,"
>Dr. Crowley wrote, "I could not help but wonder whether he
>just might be on to something."
>The climate of the last 10,000 years has been unusually
>stable, allowing civilization to flourish. But that is only
>because people chopped down swathes of forest in Europe,
>China and India for croplands and pastures, Dr. Ruddiman
>said. Carbon dioxide released by the destruction of the
>forests, plus methane, another heat-trapping gas, produced
>by irrigated rice fields in Southeast Asia, trapped enough
>heat to offset an expected natural cooling, he said.
>"The stability is an accident," Dr. Ruddiman said.
>of carbon dioxide and methane rise and fall in natural
>cycles lasting thousands of years, and both reached a peak
>at the end of the last ice age 11,000 years ago. Both then
>declined as expected.
>Both should have continued declining through the present
>day, leading to lower temperatures, and a new ice age
>should have begun 4,000 to 5,000 years ago, Dr. Ruddiman
>said. Instead, levels of carbon dioxide reversed 8,000
>years ago and starting rising again. The decline in methane
>levels reversed 5,000 years ago, coinciding with the advent
>of irrigation rice farming.
><mailto:greenebank at earthlink.net>greenebank at earthlink.net
>From: <mailto:san at lists.coopamerica.org>SIF Shareholder Action Network
>Date: Tuesday, February 03, 2004 11:49:49 AM
>To: <mailto:san at lists.coopamerica.org>SIF Shareholder Action Network
>Cc: <mailto:vic at igc.org>'vic at igc.org';
><mailto:lance.lindblom at nathancummings.org>'lance.lindblom at nathancummings.org';
><mailto:caroline.williams at nathancummings.org>'caroline.williams at nathancummings.org'
>Subject: [san] Pentagon Signals Climate Change as Potential Threat
>to Nat'l Secu rity: "An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its
>Implications for United States National Security."
> > From Tom Paine.com
> > Climate Change Alert
> > Patrick Doherty spent a decade in the field of international conflict
> > resolution, working in the Middle East, Africa, Southeastern Europe and
> > the Caucasus.
> > First Paul O'Neill, now Andrew Marshall. Marshall has just blown the lid
> > off another Bush administration can of worms-namely, its unwillingness to
> > acknowledge and address the massive threat posed by global climate change.
> > Marshall is the founding director of the Pentagon's Office of Net
> > Assessment, a quiet but powerful think tank within the Pentagon. In 2001,
> > Marshall was tapped by George W. Bush to lead the Pentagon's military
> > review that largely defined the scope of Secretary of Defense Donald
> > Rumsfeld's "transformation" agenda. Marshall, whose ONA has served every
> > president since Nixon, introduced the term "revolution in military
> > affairs."
> > In an article published Jan. 26 in Fortune magazine, Marshall released the
> > findings of an unclassified report-written by Peter Schwartz and Doug
> > Randall of the Global Business Network-entitled "An Abrupt Climate Change
> > Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security."
> > Global Warming Happens
> > Until now, the debate over climate change in the United States has focused
> > on whether global warming exists and if so, whether it can be attributed
> > to human activity. In their report, Schwartz and Randall close that debate
> > and raise the stakes. They write that "the IPCC [International Panel on
> > Climate Change] documents the threat of gradual climate change," deftly
> > allowing Marshall to implicitly acknowledge that the IPCC findings have
> > sufficiently established what the report calls "the scientifically proven
> > link between CO2 and climate change" as well as the international
> > consensus around climate change itself. But, while fully recognizing the
> > reality of global warming, the report argues that the gradualist view "may
> > be a dangerous act of self-deception." The real threat to national
> > security is from global warming triggering an "abrupt climate change
> > event."
> > Abrupt climate change is an increasingly probable and, the authors show, a
> > historically precedented event in which global atmospheric warming
> > triggers a rapid modification in global oceanic patterns. The report
> > focuses on the threat receiving the most concern from researchers, which
> > occurs when atmospheric warming releases enough fresh water into the North
> > Atlantic to shut down the "thermohaline conveyor"-currents including the
> > Gulf Stream-that move warm water north from the tropics. That, in turn
> > would send much of the Northern Hemisphere into a deep freeze, disrupting
> > energy, agriculture and fresh water supplies around the world.
> > This is no abstract hypothetical scenario. The Fortune article cites a
> > presentation made by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute director Robert
> > Gagosian who, at last year's World Economic Forum at Davos, "urged
> > policymakers to consider the implications of possible abrupt climate
> > change within two decades."
> > Thankfully, Marshall did just that. The ONA-commissioned report, using the
> > well-established scenario-planning techniques developed at Shell's
> > planning unit, generated a plausible future scenario in which the
> > thermohaline conveyor collapses in 2010. What follows that oceanic
> > shut-down sounds apocalyptic and yet the authors contend, is quite
> > plausible.
> > By 2020, average rainfall in Europe drops 30 percent; "megadroughts"
> > affect Southern China and Northern Europe; massive boatlifts of people
> > from the Caribbean attempt to enter the United States and Mexico; China is
> > unable to feed its population due to the combination of droughts and
> > violent monsoons and flooding; Eastern European countries invade a
> > weakened Russia to seek minerals and energy; nuclear India, Pakistan, and
> > China go to war over water, land, and refugees. In all 400 million people
> > could be forced to migrate from uninhabitable regions. In the United
> > States, the East Coast population areas experience severe shortages of
> > freshwater; flooding creates an inland sea in California's Central Valley
> > and disrupts freshwater supplies for Southern California; and energy
> > disruptions are commonplace due to storms, ice and conflict. The authors
> > make the point clear: this is not a prediction, this is a plausible
> > scenario given what we know now.
> > Overcoming Resistance
> > While the content of this release raises the alarm, Marshall is sending
> > multiple messages. The timing of the Fortune article, for instance. For a
> > man of Marshall's long legacy of discretion to directly challenge the
> > current administration's line on global warming at the beginning of a
> > presidential election year speaks volumes. That he chose to do so by
> > releasing a report by respected business consultants in Fortune magazine
> > seems to say he wants the business world, Bush's most important
> > constituency, to understand clearly that the status quo is untenable.
> > This extraordinary act by a senior Defense Department official implies
> > high-level recognition that the Bush administration's resistance to the
> > near global consensus on climate change-a consensus that includes the vast
> > majority of the scientific community, many corporations including General
> > Motors, Alcoa, IBM, DuPont, Johnson & Johnson, and all the remaining
> > governments of the OECD-is a threat to national security itself. Indeed,
> > last month in the journal Science, the United Kingdom's Chief Scientific
> > Advisor declared that "climate change is the most severe problem that we
> > are facing today-more serious even than the threat of terrorism." Perhaps
> > inoculating itself from future criticism the report states, "Many
> > scientists would regard this scenario as extreme. . . But history tells us
> > that sometimes the extreme cases do occur, there is evidence that it might
> > be [occurring] and it is DOD's job to consider such scenarios."
> > And that resistance has been staunch. In the battle over climate change,
> > according to a report from the group Environment2004, the Bush
> > administration has both misrepresented the science and misled the public.
> > According to The New York Times, the Bush administration acted to distort
> > and omit EPA findings on global warming. The group notes that the
> > administration has dismissed the findings of the International Panel on
> > Climate Change set up by the first President Bush and the findings of a
> > panel of the National Academy of Sciences that Bush himself requested.
> > They document how administration has tried to mislead the public by
> > substituting the absolute indicator of total emissions with emissions per
> > unit of GDP, which can go down while total U.S. emissions continue to
> > rise-and then asking emitters (unsuccessfully) to voluntarily commit to
> > reducing emission intensity. And they highlight how the administration has
> > stalled the debate by calling for a research agenda which The New York
> > Times described as a "redundant examination of issues that had largely
> > been settled, bereft of vision, executable goals and timetables-in short,
> > little more than a cover-up for inaction."
> > It's The Emissions, Stupid
> > Ultimately, "Abrupt Climate Change" is a report for the Department of
> > Defense. But not entirely. While DoD is primarily concerned with
> > predicting the arrival of and managing the security nightmare caused by
> > abrupt climate change, the report also calls for prevention measures which
> > can only happen through a transformation of the U.S. economy.
> > "It's important to understand human impacts on the environment-both what's
> > done to accelerate and decelerate (or perhaps even reverse) the tendency
> > toward climate change. Alternative fuels, greenhouse gas emission controls
> > and conservation efforts are worthwhile endeavors."
> > Only a month ago, Democrats' best chances in the 2004 general elections
> > relied heavily on the undesirable combination of continued failure in Iraq
> > and sustained economic underperformance. That began to change two weeks
> > ago, when the Institute for America's Future brought together coalition of
> > labor and environmental groups called the Apollo Alliance and issued a
> > report describing the core of a new economic engine based on shifting
> > America from suburban sprawl and fossil fuels towards smart growth and
> > renewable energy. (See Democrats' Moon Shot
> > Democrats now have a powerful opportunity to reframe the 2004 elections
> > and focus their agenda around an integrated agenda of triage and
> > transformation. Terrorism is still a real threat and Iraq, Afghanistan,
> > Israel/Palestine and HIV/AIDS must be stabilized and resolved. The larger
> > threat of abrupt climate change, however, means we must comprehensively
> > transform our emissions-ridden economy. Apollo is a good start, but now
> > Marshall's warnings make it clear that America has no time to waste on low
> > emissions reduction targets and wasteful subsidies, much less Bush's
> > stalling and deception. Global emissions markets are the best answer.
> > Research has shown that emissions trading is the leading pathway to
> > eliminating emissions, energy independence and reducing agricultural
> > subsidies that impoverish the developing world-all of which will reduce
> > conditions that fuel terrorism and the medium-term threat of abrupt
> > climate change while building a booming new economic engine for America
> > and the world.
> > Marshall's sense of patriotic responsibility may just save the lives of
> > hundreds of millions of people around the world and usher in a new era of
> > prosperity, sustainability and peace-but only if Democrats reframe the
> > 2004 elections starting now.
> > Click here to subscribe to our free e-mail dispatch
>and get the latest on what's new
> > at TomPaine.com before everyone else! You can unsubscribe at any time and
> > we will never distribute your information to any other entity.
> > Published: Feb 02 2004
> > Related links:
> > International Panel on Climate Change Summary for Policy Makers
> > <<http://www.ipcc.ch/pub/spm22-01.pdf>http://www.ipcc.ch/pub/spm22-01.pdf>
> > Fortune.com "Climate Collapse: the Pentagon's Weather Nightmare"
> > >
> > Environment 2004: Bush's Record on Global Warming
> > Tracey Rembert
> > Shareholder Action Network
> > A Project of the Social Investment Forum
> > 1612 K Street NW, Suite 650
> > Washington, DC 20006
> > (202)872-5313
> > <http://www.shareholderaction.org>www.shareholderaction.org
> > Social Investment Forum
> > <http://www.socialinvest.org>www.socialinvest.org
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