Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It looks like the unthinkable has become thinkable: U.S. experts will stage a climate war game this summer

Yesterday, United Press International reported "U.S. experts will stage a climate war game." There’s a brief post about this today at Steve Clemons’s blog, The Washington Note, "Climate Wars: What to Do With the New Set of 'Climate Change Have-Nots'?"

The first thing that came to mind was the Pentagon’s February 23, 2004 report, "An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security." At the top of the report is boxed-in text titled Imagining the Unthinkable.

The day after the Pentagon report was issued, Knight-Ridder published "Dramatic Climate Change Could Become Global Security Nightmare": “Imagine eastern European countries, struggling to feed their populations with a falling supply of food, water and energy, eyeing Russia, whose population is already in decline, for access to its grains, minerals and energy supply. Or, picture Japan, suffering from flooding along its coastal cities and contamination of its fresh water supply, eyeing Russia's Sakhalin Island oil and gas reserves as an energy source. ... Envision Pakistan, India, and China - all armed with nuclear weapons -skirmishing at their borders over refugees, access to shared rivers, and arable land.

"Military showdowns could be fast and furious, the report speculates: In 2015, conflict in Europe over supplies of food and water leads to strained relations. In 2022, France and Germany battle over the Rhine River's water. The U.S. Defense Department seals off America's borders to stanch floods of refugees from Mexico and the Caribbean. In 2025, as energy costs increase in nations struggling to cope with warmer and colder weather, the United States and China square off over access to Saudi Arabian oil. “ [emphasis mine]

With “climate war games” scheduled, it looks like the unthinkable has become thinkable. Clemons’s post: "’The security ramifications of climate change will affect both the developed and the developing world," said John Podesta, president of the Center for American Progress, a member group of the consortium. 'This unique event will challenge participants to confront both the domestic and international security challenges of climate change.'

”Participants in the game, 40 of them, from the United States, Asia and Europe, will ''provide a wide range of perspectives,' said the statement, adding the scenario would be based on the [November 5, 2007] report, 'The Age of Consequences: The Foreign Policy and National Security Implications of Global Climate Change.' "

Led by the Center for New American Security, the consortium includes the Center for American Progress, the Heinrich Boll Foundation, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, on and Brookings Global Economy and Development.

It’s distressing that these exercises are described as “war games.” It’s distressing that the United States, with 5% of the world’s population, has contributed 25% of the greenhouse gases causing global warming. As other countries and people suffer from lack of resources caused by global warming, this country (which will not be as adversely affected as many other countries) appears to be working on plans to make sure that they can’t get what we have rather than working on what we can do to help them. I hope the consortium comes up with a better plan.

(photo from BBC: Somalia is one of the countries worst affected by a drought which has hit the Horn of Africa, leaving some 11.5 million people in need of food aid.

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