Friday, August 26, 2011
Can't we deal with anything anymore without designating it a "national security threat"? Climate change editionFrancesco Femia et al write about The inadequate US response to a major security threat: Climate change Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists n/d, accessed 08/24/2011. The publications bullet-point summary:
And it also raises the problem that national security establishment gets another field in which to expand its authority with the problem framed in national-security terms:
The US military and much of the broader national security community have actually recognized the seriousness of the threat posed by global climate change. The US Defense Department, for example, included the climate threat as a key pillar of its most recent Quadrennial Defense Review, conducted wargames to plan for climate impacts, and, in its most recent Unified Command Plan, designated Northern Command to lead activities in the Arctic region. Even the CIA has established a Center for the Study of Climate Change.Great. The Arctic may not have any "weapons of mass destruction" or oil tyrants to overthrow. But maybe we can bomb the glaciers into not melting so fast!
But the Femia et al article is good at showing how the US national investment of resources to counter the risks of nuclear attack and terrorism compare to the response to date to the more precisely predictable consequences of global climate change. They describe the latter this way:
There is a comparatively high degree of certainty about the likelihood, global scale, and severity of climate change impacts (see "Degrees of Risk" by the sustainable development nonprofit E3G). The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, established by the UN and the World Meteorological Organization and including some of the world's top scientists, places the likelihood that the global climate is warming because of human activities -- chiefly the burning of fossil fuels that release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere -- at 90 percent or greater, an incredibly rare degree of certainty on any subject in the scientific world. There is also great certainty about the severe impacts those changes will have, should they go unaddressed.How aggressive has the Obama Administration, which the Republicans regard as a socialist Kenyan Marxist Islamunist one, been in addressing global climate change? "In fiscal 2010, the US spent just $1.7 billion on international climate change financing, a figure that pales in comparison to the financial responses to the aforementioned threats."
Tags: global climate change
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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