- Frozen countries, massive famine, shattered economies
-- even nuclear war -- as a result of climate change. More doom and gloom
from eco-radicals? Nope, this is the Pentagon speaking.
- January in Australia was brutal. Scorching temperatures
approached 50 degrees and upwards of 35 deaths were blamed on the heat.
Some places recorded the lowest rainfall in the country's history.
- Down Under they were calling it The Big Dry, a record-breaking
drought that began in 2002 and slapped wool production back to what it
was 55 years ago, squeezed agricultural output by 20 per cent and pushed
its desiccated fingers into the very marrow of that nation's economy.
- Yet this week when The Big Dry finally broke, Australia
went from fire to flood in the blink of an eye. Newspapers reported that
the equivalent of 600,000 swimming pools of rain had been dumped on the
parched landscape in less than a day.
- This sudden reversal of fortunes played eerily like the
trailer for a theoretical horror show being contemplated by -- of all people
-- starchy generals in the air-conditioned offices of the Pentagon.
- On the orders of Andrew Marshall, one of the U.S. government's
most influential defence advisers (he was the man responsible for a sweeping
strategic review of the military under top hawk Defence Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld), two respected senior consultants prepared a study of the threat
to national security posed by climate change.
- Yes, that's climate change, not rogue states or the axis
- Imagining the Unthinkable starts by hypothesizing an
abrupt climate change when oceanic heat transfer mechanisms are disrupted
by global warming.
- What follows is a hair-raising sequence of drowned or
frozen countries, famine, vast population movements, shattered economies
and wars -- possibly nuclear wars -- among survivors scrabbling for control
of dwindling food and water resources.
- And while the study deliberately avoids the most optimistic
outcomes -- presumably for shock value in an administration that has been
sleep-walking towards the precipice -- it doesn't present the worst case,
- Although the report wasn't classified, it wasn't ballyhooed.
Now a recent flurry of mainstream media interest has some wondering if
the study isn't a bit more prescient than those who commissioned it are
now letting on.
- Certainly, this wild oscillation in Aussie weather echoes
similar patterns in Europe and North America where drought and a ferocious
summer of forest fires were also followed by torrential rains.
- Last summer's heat wave in Europe is thought to have
killed almost 30,000 people, more than 10 times the number who died at
the World Trade Center, perhaps even more than death toll for the war in
Iraq. Indeed, the German insurance company Munich Re reports a seven-fold
increase in world-wide deaths from natural disasters in 2003.
- So British Columbians who watched in horrified awe as
last year's firestorms vapourized whole residential districts and turned
tens of thousands into environmental refugees were not alone. In recent
years, similar fires have raged through Florida, California, Australia,
Alberta and Southeast Asia.
- In the southeastern United States, 2003 was the wettest
year ever recorded. The Midwest set a record for tornadoes. New Mexico
posted the hottest year in history, yet this month the governor there was
forced to declare a state of emergency because of blizzard conditions.
- Meanwhile, at mid-week, Canada's Maritimes were still
digging out from a monster dump of snow that forced two provinces to declare
- Some argue that these events are merely dramatic coincidences
which receive more emphasis than they should because our communications
technologies can flash images around the world at the speed of light.
- Some remain convinced that climate change is a bogeyman
advanced by environmentalists to further their political agenda, further
promoted by a mass media with no conscience and an appetite for sensation.
- The climate skeptics often argue that the economic costs
of attempting to mitigate the effects of global warming by curbing greenhouse
gas emissions are simply too onerous to contemplate.
- Others argue that the cost of failing to act now might
be even more exorbitant. Munich Re reports that total insured losses in
2003 jumped 40 per cent over 2002, for a total of $16 billion US in payouts.
All economic losses attributed to natural disasters totalled $65 billion
- And things could get a lot worse. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, for example, estimates that the total cost of dealing
with inundation and erosion caused by a rise in sea level could top $880
billion for that country alone. It is, says the EPA, a conservative estimate.
- Economic and ideological debate aside, however, a clear
consensus has emerged among leading scientists. The U.S. National Research
Council says global warming is underway and could trigger climate changes
so sudden that people, ecosystems and nation states may not be able to
- Last June the U.S. National Academy of Sciences told
Congress that global warming is a real problem and getting worse. The Union
of Concerned Scientists says the same thing. So does British Petroleum.
- Here in Canada, the University of Victoria's world-class
climate modeller Andrew Weaver told the Victoria Times Colonist there's
no doubt that climate change is underway. "It's real, it's here, it
ain't going away."
- To the south. at the National Center of Atmospheric Research
in Colorado, renowned climatologist Jerry Mahlman told the New York Times
last December that the science supporting climate projections is strong.
- Those who deny there's a real problem or who claim that
warming is just a natural cycle, Mahlman compares to the confusionists
who kept trying to cast doubt on the science linking cancer to smoking.
- So, the consensus among serious climatologists is that
climate change is here and extreme weather events increasingly look less
like coincidence and more like pieces in a complicated jigsaw puzzle from
which we can only just begin to assemble a troubling picture of the future.
- Thomas Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center,
part of the National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Services
of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told a U.S. senate
committee in 2001 that the frequency of prolonged droughts and extreme
precipitation events was most likely caused by global warming.
- He told the senators to expect more heavy weather and
significant changes in ocean conditions, including a sea level rise of
up to a metre. Perhaps most important, he warned that the world is entering
a period of growing climate uncertainty.
- "Clearly, as the rate and magnitude of climate change
increases," he said, "the risk of exceeding a safe level of greenhouse
gases also increases. This includes the possibility of surprises. As greenhouse
gases continue to increase there is an ever increasing, but still very
small, chance that the climate could respond in an unpredictable fashion."
- So, are these extreme events a chimera? Or are they real
portents of a world tipping from a long equilibrium in which climatic stability
nurtured the rise of civilization? Is this extreme weather a signal that
we are heading into a phase of climate instability which has the potential
to threaten civilization's ability to endure?
- The Pentagon study not only assumes that climate change
is upon us but sketches a potentially nightmarish scenario in which planetary
warming triggers a sudden cooling in the northern hemisphere.
- Its authors are not exactly eco-radicals. Peter Schwartz
is a Central Intelligence Agency consultant and former head of planning
at Royal Dutch/Shell Group. Doug Randall is from the California-based Global
- They clearly constructed a disturbing scenario in an
effort to move the discussion out of the rarefied air of the scholarly
journals and onto the boardroom tables of an administration inclined to
pooh-pooh the whole notion of climate change as an issue.
- Associated Press later reported the authors acknowledge
that their scenario is a dramatization and not intended to be a scientific
prediction. They even concede that some of the experts consulted felt it
expressed an extreme point of view.
- Nevertheless, the scenario was patterned on actual perturbations
in climate that are believed to have happened 8,200 and 700 years ago.
What's happened twice may happen a third time. For that reason alone, climate
change deserves to be moved to a much more prominent position on the planning
- The Pentagon report warns that, based on the past evidence,
Western Europe, an agricultural breadbasket that now feeds about 450 million
people, is at risk of rapidly finding itself adjusting to a climate much
closer to that of Siberia or Canada's sub-Arctic. Yet this hypothesis is
not quite so new as some media suggest.
- Karl told the Senate committee in 2001 that among the
possibilities to be considered were substantial increases in hurricane
activity, melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and a concomitant
sea level rise.
- He said changes in the North Atlantic circulation patterns
that now distribute heat could trigger large regional climate anomalies.
- Some of the best models of what he's described are from
the past. About 12,700 years ago, as the last Ice Age ended, there was
an abrupt climate change. Temperatures in the North Atlantic region suddenly
fell by an average of five degrees. The cold spell lasted 1,300 years,
not long in geological time but about 16 of our lifetimes.
- Scientists suspect that as fresh water from melting ice
poured into the North Atlantic, it reduced the salt levels in the sea,
disrupting the huge, slow current known as the Ocean Conveyor.
- This mechanism is driven by the tendency of cold, dense,
salty water to sink into the deeps. As it sinks, it draws in warm, salty
water from the southern oceans -- the Gulf Stream, for example -- which
surrenders heat to the atmosphere. Prevailing winds carry that warm, moist
air across Europe's land mass, bringing rain and moderating winter temperatures.
- If the North Atlantic becomes less salty because of a
flood of fresh water from melting ice and increased precipitation, scientists
at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution theorize that it would lose
its density, cease to sink and the Ocean Conveyor could slow or even stop
- A scientific team comprised of Woods Hole research specialist
Ruth Curry, Bob Dickson of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture
Science in the United Kingdom and Igor Yashayaev of the Bedford Institute
of Oceanography in Dartmouth, N.S., reported apparent precursors to just
such an event in the science journal Nature in 2002.
- They found that over the past 40 years, water has steadily
been getting less salty in the same North Atlantic regions where cold,
salty water now sinks. The concern is that if too much fresh water enters
these regions, reducing the density, the Ocean Conveyor could abruptly
stop. Winters in western Europe would promptly take on much greater severity
-- England with winters like Labrador, for example.
- How fast is abruptly? Studies of fossil evidence, ice
cores and computer models suggest it could happen over a period as short
as two decades -- or less -- rapidly establishing dramatically altered
- It is the prospect of such developments that lends weight
to Britain's top scientist, Sir David King, who warned Canadians last November
that global warming is a far greater threat than global terrorism.
- King told the National Research Council in Ottawa that
the phenomenon, which he linked directly to the burning of fossil fuels
and the increased production of greenhouse gases, "means a massive
economic and political destabilization."
- King's remarks echoed those by Robert Gagosian, head
of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who earlier last year told
the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that "worrisome"
data gathered in the North Atlantic and from ice cores taken from ancient
glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica suggests that "ignoring or downplaying
abrupt climate change could prove costly."
- One of the scenarios developed at Woods Hole involves
precisely the kind of rapid onset of cooling in the northern hemisphere
as was analysed by the Pentagon in planning for its strategic responses
to sudden climate change.
- Reports in the conservative American business magazine
Fortune and the liberal British Sunday newspaper, The Observer, both say
the research commissioned by the Pentagon advises that climate change of
the kind the analysts foresee has profound implications for food security
and subsequently for global political and economic stability.
- Those who have seen the report and interviewed its authors
say the time frame for changes assumed by the Pentagon analysts is not,
as optimists often argue, a century of incremental warming with expansion
of arable lands and more temperate northern climates.
- Instead, the military planners warn that in the near
future we might have only a few years to prepare for a sudden period of
intense cold, vast social upheaval as billions of people are dislocated,
rising military tensions between have and have-not states, and possibly
even nuclear wars fought over access to food resources and water.
- The Observer says the Pentagon study postulates that
as early as 2007 rising sea levels caused by melting Arctic ice and glaciers
could combine with a growing prevalence of super storms in the North Atlantic
to overwhelm dikes and seawalls protecting low-lying coastal regions.
- Large areas of the Netherlands could be reclaimed by
the sea and rendered unihabitable. Low-lying river deltas like the Fraser,
Columbia, Sacramento and St. Lawrence or coastal marshlands like those
in Florida, Louisiana and the Texas Gulf Coast could be inundated by combinations
of higher tides and storm surges like the one that killed at least 300,000
people in the Ganges delta in 1970.
- By 2020, the Pentagon study says, Europe might experience
a drop in average temperature of six degrees with the Mediterranean region
struggling to cope with mass migrations from an Africa stricken by a mega-drought
and a Scandinavia returning to the glacial deep freeze of the last Ice
Age. India and Myanmar might have to cope with up to 170 million people
displaced from a flooded Bangladesh.
- Particularly vulnerable would be China, which has huge
food demands for a population expected to reach almost 1.4 billion over
the next 15 years. Much of its agricultural capacity is in low-lying coastal
regions and river valleys already threatened by periodic flooding. The
Pentagon planners suggest that an expansion into Russian territory might
- They foresee rapid proliferation of atomic weapons with
the nuclear club expanding to include Japan, South Korea, North Korea,
Germany, Egypt, Israel and Iran along with the U.S., Britain, France, Russia,
China, India and Pakistan.
- Even if the Pentagon report's scenario proves considerably
more mundane, there's little doubt that climate change triggered by global
warming has already begun to exact economic costs that will only increase.
- The Big Dry reduced Australia's over-all economic growth
in gross domestic product in the last fiscal year by more than half a percentage
point. And if a recent Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research
Organization study is right, the worst drought in the history of Oz is
just a taste of what's to come. It predicts a 50-per-cent increase in the
number of scorching summer days by 2030.
- Here in B.C., former Manitoba premier Gary Filmon's report
on the dreadful fire season just past sounds a similar warning. Our summer
of fire wasn't a freak event, he said.
- "Many measures and forecasts suggest we're early
on in a dry cycle and as long as the conditions persist, we're in danger,"
Filmon was reported saying Friday.
- "Some say the world will end in fire; some say in
ice," wrote poet Robert Frost. Who'd have thought we'd be faced with
the possibility of both? Yet if warnings of blistering drought and Ice
Age conditions seem contradictory, they also fall neatly into the patterns
of instability and extreme predicted by many climate scientists.
- In the age of the SUV, at a time when federal and provincial
politicians contemplate coal-burning thermal generating stations while
balking at investments in clean public transit, we might all do well to
ask -- as the authors of the Pentagon report have done -- that they move
the policy debate beyond lip service and denial and begin dealing with
this issue intelligently, strategically and forcefully.
- FURTHER READING
- The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice cores, abrupt climate
change and our future, by Richard B. Alley, Princeton University Press,
- The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850,
by Brian Fagan, Basic Books, 2000.
- The Quiet Limit of the World: A Journey to the North
Pole to Investigate Global Warming by Wayne Grady, Macfarlane, Walter and
- The Heat is On: The High Stakes Battle over Earth's Threatened
Climate by Ross Gelbspan, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company Inc., 1997.
- Climate Since AD 1500, ed. Raymond S. Bradley and Philip
D. Jones, Routledge, 1992.
- - email@example.com
- © The Vancouver Sun 2004
- With trillions of dollars in black funds, there is no
doubt that they are already well prepared or are preparing for this kind
of thing. But what this report is either deliberately ignoring or negligently
ignoring is the fact that climate change is not caused by man or by his
activities. Climate change is caused by solar cycles.
- The main aim of this report is to divert the real charge
of the real sins of these lying environmentalists who has been twisting
the scientific data for years inorder to advance their agenda by saying
it is not being done in that way when in fact it was done and is still
being done in that way because they are not saying anything about the truth
regarding the real causes of climatological changes which is really being
caused by solar cycles.
- Yes, that is how you keep the secret of the truth. Make
it look like it is being twisted and then confuse the issue saying it is
not being twisted. They will say climate change is coming but they are
keeping the truth about it's true causes which is based on the solar cycles
factor. Once it happens they will use the fear and confusion to project
their agenda that it is being, falsely, caused by man when in fact it is
not man to blame or his activities. It is the phenomena of the solar cycles
which is to blame.
- They aim to use their environmental issues inorder to
disarm ourselves by reducing or shutting down our industrial economies
so that we won't have any heavy high-technology to use inorder to be prepared
for these coming climatological changes.
- So that their anti-people, anti-industry, anti-nation
state agendas can be fullfilled by false advices and wrong programs inflicted
on the nation-states of this world.
- It is like telling a community to shutdown it's hospitals
and other life-supporting facilities inorder to combat a coming death dealing
plaque. Like telling a city to shutdown it's nuclear power plants inorder
to survive the coming ice age, you tell that to the residents of Bilibino,
Siberia and it is tamtamount to asking them to commit mass suicide.
- Note: Just in case people might ask why live in such
- Below is part of LaRouche's writings that provides the
- An Advanced Technical CultureQuoting again the authors
of the Science article: "Artifacts at the site include a rare rhinoceros
foreshaft, other mammoth foreshafts, and a wide variety of tools and flakes."
The artifacts reveal a clever and advanced technique, they write: One of
the researchers found "a carefully worked foreshaft, with bevel ends,
made from the horn of a woolly rhinoceros.... Foreshafts permitted hunters
to replace broken points quickly, then hurl the spear again?a great advantage
when facing big game." Similar instruments, of a younger period and
made from ivory, have also been found in North America. In Yana, the settlers
also used ivory, and "two foreshafts of mammoth ivory," in combination
with artifacts from bones of other animals, were recovered.Other tools,
the authors write, were made from "flinty slate, granite, and quartz.
Slate and granite occur in the riverbed. The quartz came from elsewhere.
The stone industry comprises unifacial and bifacial flaking of pebbles
and quartz."Some of the tools are very nice-looking, and probably
had only artistic value. Some sensitive soul may protest, that in such
difficult conditions nobody would produce "useless" artistic
objects. Nevertheless, the existence of artistic activities is not only
plausible, but it is a "fact" which we will discuss below. In
any case, that the people in Yata used some form of "art" seems
to be confirmed by the authors themselves, who report the presence at the
site of "small pieces of red ocher." Red ocher is the basic material
used to paint on rock in prehistoric caves all over the world! The same
ocher can also be used to color objects and bodies.Before we go to the
second archaeological discovery, we note that the world has to accept the
conclusion of the authors: "It is now a fact that humans extended
deep into the Arctic during colder Pleistocene times." Their conclusion
sheds light on the first unsolved puzzle of human history: Why did man
colonize such remote areas? There are many theses; the most untenable for
me is the hypothesis that there was "pressure caused by population
growth." I have already discussed this in a previous article, and
therefore here I would like to answer simply with, "Why not?"
Why should they not have explored those regions? Why would some of us today
like to go to such an inhospitable, dry, and cold planet as Mars?
- Again, such an answer by LaRouche vindicates man's needs
to progress infinitely......nuclear power, colonization of harsh earth
environments, industrialization ,space exploration and interplanetary colonization,
mega-terraforming engineering, etc.
- It is nuclear power and the products and services of
heavy high-technology of an industrialized economy that allowed people
to survive in freezingly cold Greenland and in Bilibino. It is high-technology
agriculture created by heavy high-technology of industrialization of an
industrialized economy that allowed the burningly hot Middle Eastern States
like Israel and Saudi Arabia to definitely sustain their growing populations
indefinitely. It is the experimental floating city of Japan called Aquapolis
by Kiyonori Kikutake, products and services of heavy high-technology of
an industrial economy, that shows us the way on how to survive any soakingly
wet floodings caused by climate change.
- As I have said before (plus with some additions): Let
Them Freeze In The Dark, Fry In The Desert, Or Drown In The Rising Seas!
Or All Of Them!