NRC report outlines how climate change may affect our military

Climate change is accelerating, and it will place unparalleled strains on American military and intelligence agencies in coming years by causing ever more disruptive events around the globe, the nation’s top scientific research group said in a report…

The group, the National Research Council, says in a study commissioned by the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies that clusters of apparently unrelated events exacerbated by a warming climate will create more frequent but unpredictable crises in water supplies, food markets, energy supply chains and public health systems.

Hurricane Sandy provided a foretaste of what can be expected more often in the near future, the report’s lead author, John D. Steinbruner, said in an interview.

“This is the sort of thing we were talking about,” said Mr. Steinbruner, a longtime authority on national security. “You can debate the specific contribution of global warming to that storm. But we’re saying climate extremes are going to be more frequent, and this was an example of what they could mean. We’re also saying it could get a whole lot worse than that…”

Climate-driven crises could lead to internal instability or international conflict and might force the United States to provide humanitarian assistance or, in some cases, military force to protect vital energy, economic or other interests, the study said…

In other words, states will fail, large populations subjected to famine, flood or disease will migrate across international borders, and national and international agencies will not have the resources to cope…

Mr. Steinbruner said that as the need for more and better analysis is growing, government resources devoted to them are shrinking. Republicans in Congress objected to the C.I.A.’s creation of a climate change center and tried to deny money for it. The American weather satellite program is losing capability because of years of underfinancing and mismanagement, imperiling the ability to predict and monitor major storms.

Know-nothings who pass off their ideology as a new conservatism really should get an honest job. Meanwhile, our military tries planning for a future already challenged by a degraded environment.

Questions of revising military responsibilities should be part of the larger strategy of drawing back wasted money from the military budget. Instead of funding assault vehicles, funds would be better spent on repurposing the thousands of vehicles already purchased to invade far-off lands. Instead of doubling, tripling the cost of constructing stealthy littoral patrol boats, we could increase utility and cut costs with designs capable of serving search-and-rescue operations – followed by useful time as construction headquarters for rebuilding coastal communities. Building good will for the United States instead of hatred and contempt ain’t exactly a daring experiment.

Not so incidentally, shutting down several hundred facilities designed to support expeditionary legions – means dollars saved and troops brought home. We need some nation rebuilding here in North America. 50% to 95% of the cost of maintaining troops abroad, combat zone or not, goes away when those troops return to American soil. Hardly anyone other than pimps and theme park bar-owners will be sad to see us go.

Those Congressional know-nothings? One thing they do care about more than their holy ideology is the holy dollar. That’s why they don’t care to learn about 4th generation warfare or redesigning our military to achieve rather than destroy. And they don’t care about science and satellites – when they have campaign funding guaranteed by oil companies cranking out profits from both the Persian Gulf and the Permian Basin.

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