[Marxism] Secret Pentagon report on global warming

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Feb 22 06:28:07 MST 2004

Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us

· Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
· Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years
· Threat to the world is greater than terrorism

Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York
Sunday February 22, 2004
The Observer

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 

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. Its 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,' said 
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.

Louis Proyect
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