Sunday, November 12, 2006

Where Ecology and National Security Meet

In 2003, the Department of Defense issued a very sobering report - more because of its very existence than its conclusions, although the conclusions make good Halloween reading material. The name of the report: "Abrupt Climate Change and its Implications for United States National Security."

Dig that. Here we have a President who publicly casts doubt on global warming, while his own Pentagon is quietly drafting contingency plans for the results of 'climate change' on the assumption our current trends will continue. Think that over one more time. It takes a while for the full effect of the lunacy to sink in.

For every 1.8 degrees (F) the earth's temperature goes up, the yield of rice, wheat, and corn go down 10%.

According to the Hubbert's Peak formula, which is used by oil companies themselves, we are approaching the window of time where we will reach peak oil production, and supplies of oil will diminish and be more difficult to obtain even while human dependence on oil increases, and the volume of our demand increases. Slowing down, even if the developed world comes to its senses TODAY and acts quickly, will take a long time and be painful.

Irreplaceable aquifers across the world are diminishing. In my lifetime and perhaps yours, we will see wars not over oil (which will be gone), but over access to water. Already, one in four people in the world do not have access to safe water.

The New York Times ran a report earlier this week about the state of the world's fisheries - gone, gone, gone. Or should we say en francais: "Fin." (Not quite but almost - unless we change our habits.)

According to the National Academy of the Sciences, it would require 1.2 planet earths to regenerate what human beings used in the year 1999; and that consumption is going up, up, up.

And that report by the Pentagon in 2003 was forecasting major national security issues arising from the possible affects of global warming. If, for instance, the circulatory system that warms the North Atlantic dissipates the implications include large populations having to move, touching off an immigration crisis in the midst of a militarized struggle for dwindling natural resources.

This is not some fringey liberal group; nor is it a Philip K. Dick novel. This is the Department of Defense.

They will speak of these things, but not our legislators and policymakers - at least not in a public and constructive manner, at a time when something can still be done about it.

I am not writing this as a doomsday prophecy. I am writing this because there is a very imminent, credible danger looming and if we ignore the problem until a disaster is on us (which would not be out of character for our species) there may be very painful and scary changes taking place in our social and economic arrangements.

I'm tired of environmental "truthiness." I'm tired of politicians who think it's enough to build a few bike paths and drive a hybrid car. It's time to examine the data and talk frankly about what they suggest.

Wars over oil? Puh. I'm looking ahead, baby. I'm looking to what the world could very well look like when my grandchildren - assuming I dare breed - are around. It's, um, sobering.

No comments: