Pentagon Report on Climate Change
As reported by the London Observer
the Pentagon has prepared a report
indicating that climate change poses a greater threat than terrorism for global disruption over the next 15 years. Key findings in the report are that Britain is likely to have a climate like Siberia by 2020 and that competition between nations responding to the refugees and resource shortages resulting from climate change will bring on a new age of warfare.
Although this story has apparently not yet to been picked up by the press in the U.S., it portends a major shift in the debate over climate change in D.C. While the Congress and the Bush administration have largely left discussion and planning for climate change to the states and to the lower levels of federal agencies, the Pentagon report points to the broad economic and security threats that are on the horizon. The Bush Administration's do nothing approach is looking increasingly shortsighted. Also the disruptions suggested by the report need to be noted by fiscal planners.
While I have noted before
the shortcomings of the Kyoto Protocol, the Pentagon report highlights the need for leadership and action on climate change. A new framework needs to be developed for responding to climate change. One that is based on current science and economies. As that leadership is not going to come from the Bush Administration, it is time for Congress, the U.N., or the Democratic nominee to describe a path forward.
. The Pentagon Report and links to associated news stories are available here
. The opening sentence of the report is a direct challenge to the White House’s position on climate change: ”There is substantial evidence to indicate that significant global warming will occur during the 21st century.”
. While the report focuses on the potential impacts that may result from an abrupt climate change brought about by a disruption of warming currents in the North Atlantic, the report concludes “that, because of the potentially dire consequences, the risk of abrupt climate change, although uncertain and quite possibly small, should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a U.S. national security concern. ” This is a major shift in the public debate on climate change, and it will be interesting to see how our political leaders take it up.