Monday, April 16, 2007

Global Warming Threatens National Security

This weekend brought another reminder of the threat posed by global warming. And no, I'm not talking about our latest bout of extreme weather (does anyone else feel like winter and spring have switched places on the calendar?).

Six retired admirals and five retired generals with the CNA Corporation, a national security think-tank, laid out the "serious threat to America's national security" from global warming (via CNN).
Global climate change presents a serious national security threat that could affect Americans at home, impact U.S. military operations and heighten global tensions, according to a study released today by a blue-ribbon panel of retired admirals and generals.

The report says that in the next 30 to 40 years there will be wars over water, increased hunger instability from worsening disease and rising sea levels and global warming-induced refugees. "The chaos that results can be an incubator of civil strife, genocide and the growth of terrorism"
. . .
They warn of a future of rampant disease, water shortages and flooding that will make already dicey areas - such as the Middle East, Asia and Africa - even worse.
From former U.S. Army chief of staff Gordon Sullivan:
"Climate change is a national security issue . . . We found that climate instability will lead to instability in geopolitics and impact American military operations around the world.

People are saying they want to be perfectly convinced about climate science projections . . . But speaking as a soldier, we never have 100 percent certainty. If you wait until you have 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield.

There is a relationship between carbon emissions and our national security . . . I think that the evidence is there that would suggest that we have to start paying attention.

Carbon emissions are clearly part of the problem"
From former commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. Anthony Zinni:
"It's not hard to make the connection between climate change and instability, or climate change and terrorism.
. . .
We will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today, and we'll have to take an economic hit of some kind. Or, we will pay the price later in military terms. And that will involve human lives. There will be a human toll."
The report also suggests solutions:
"the path to mitigating the worst security consequences of climate change involves reducing global greenhouse gas emissions."
There's plenty we can do in New York. It's time to act. More on what you can do later this week.

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