Listening to Washington, you would never know that today’s hot topics include Climategate, Glaciergate, and an increasingly bitter debate about what we really know about our capacity to accurately forecast global climate change.
In his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama asserted that there is “overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change.” The Director of National Intelligence and the Pentagon are following the President’s lead in Lemming-like fashion.
In his testimony to Congress, Dennis Blair, the Director of National Intelligence, stated, “We continue to assess that global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for US national security interests over the next 20 years because it will aggravate existing world problems—such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions—that threaten state stability.”
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has warmed up to climate change as well. “For the first time, Pentagon planners in 2010 will include climate change among the security threats identified in the Quadrennial Defense Review , the Congress-mandated report that updates Pentagon priorities every four years. In the review, Pentagon officials conclude that climate change will act as an “accelerant of instability and conflict,” ultimately placing a burden on civilian institutions and militaries around the world.” A five-minute NPR audio report can be found here.
The problem with all these dire warnings is that:
- They don’t come with an accompanying asterisk. The reality is there is no way to forecast the impact of climate change on national security.
- They don’t tell you that the administration’s plan for dealing with global climate change may be the biggest national security threat of all because of its potential to wreck the US and the global economy and worst of all that is actually unlikely to affect global warming.
- They don’t acknowledge that the White House is largely using the national security argument to push a political agenda. The QDR, for example, even suggests that global warming makes the case for passing the Law of the Sea Treaty. A treaty that not only has nothing do with climate change but, experts including Reagan’s Attorney General Ed Meese, would argue, undermines US sovereignty and security.