The pentgon article is pasted below via this link
 This Article Published 02. 9. 04 [Feb. 9, 2004] at 22:52 Sierra Time

> tallex2002 wrote:
> Hi all,
> the link I posted yesterday may have got cut. Here is an excerpt
> Pentagon article link (free part)
> The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare
> The climate could change radically, and fast. That would be the mother of all 
> national security issues.
> By David Stipp
> Global warming may be bad news for future generations, but let's face it, 
> most of us
> spend as little time worrying about it as we did about al Qaeda before 9/11. 
> Like the
> terrorists, though, the seemingly remote climate risk may hit home sooner and 
> harder
> than we ever imagined. In fact, the prospect has become so real that the 
> Pentagon's strategic
> planners are grappling with it.
> The threat that has riveted their attention is this:  Global warming, rather 
> than causing gradual,
> centuries-spanning change, may be pushing the climate to a tipping point. 
> Growing evidence
> suggests the ocean-atmosphere system that controls the world's climate can 
> lurch from
> one state to another in less than a decade like a canoe that's gradually 
> tilted until
> suddenly it flips over. Scientists don't know how close the system is to a 
> critical
> threshold. But abrupt climate change may well occur in the not-too-distant 
> future.
> If it does, the need to rapidly adapt may overwhelm many societies thereby 
> upsetting
> the geopolitical balance of power.
> Though triggered by warming, such change would probably cause cooling in the
> Northern Hemisphere, leading to longer, harsher winters in much of the U.S. 
> and
> Europe. Worse, it would cause massive droughts, turning farmland to dust bowls
> and forests to ashes. Picture last fall's California wildfires as a regular 
> thing.
> Or imagine similar disasters destabilizing nuclear powers such as Pakistan or 
> Russia¸it's
> easy to see why the Pentagon has become interested in abrupt climate change.
> Climate researchers began getting seriously concerned about it a decade ago,
> after studying temperature indicators embedded...

 CONTINUED ???... ancient layers of Arctic ice. The data show that a number of dramatic 
shifts in
 average temperature took place in the past with shocking speed¸in some cases,
 just a few years. 

 The case for angst was buttressed by a theory regarded as the most likely 
explanation for the
 abrupt changes. The eastern U.S. and northern Europe, it seems, are warmed by 
a huge Atlantic
 Ocean current that flows north from the tropics¸that's why Britain, at 
Labrador's latitude, is
 relatively temperate. Pumping out warm, moist air, this "great conveyor" 
current gets cooler and
 denser as it moves north. That causes the current to sink in the North 
Atlantic, where it heads
 south again in the ocean depths. The sinking process draws more water from the 
south, keeping
 the roughly circular current on the go. 

 But when the climate warms, according to the theory, fresh water from melting 
Arctic glaciers flows
 into the North Atlantic, lowering the current's salinity¸and its density and 
tendency to sink. A
 warmer climate also increases rainfall and runoff into the current, further 
lowering its saltiness. As
 a result, the conveyor loses its main motive force and can rapidly collapse, 
turning off the huge
 heat pump and altering the climate over much of the Northern Hemisphere. 

 Scientists aren't sure what caused the warming that triggered such collapses 
in the remote past.
 (Clearly it wasn't humans and their factories.) But the data from Arctic ice 
and other sources
 suggest the atmospheric changes that preceded earlier collapses were 
dismayingly similar to
 today's global warming. As the Ice Age began drawing to a close about 13,000 
years ago, for
 example, temperatures in Greenland rose to levels near those of recent 
decades. Then they
 abruptly plunged as the conveyor apparently shut down, ushering in the 
"Younger Dryas" period,
 a 1,300-year reversion to ice-age conditions. (A dryas is an Arctic flower 
that flourished in Europe
 at the time.) 

 Though Mother Nature caused past abrupt climate changes, the one that may be 
shaping up today
 probably has more to do with us. In 2001 an international panel of climate 
experts concluded that
 there is increasingly strong evidence that most of the global warming observed 
over the past 50
 years is attributable to human activities¸mainly the burning of fossil fuels 
such as oil and coal,
 which release heat-trapping carbon dioxide. Indicators of the warming include 
shrinking Arctic ice,
 melting alpine glaciers, and markedly earlier springs at northerly latitudes. 
A few years ago such
 changes seemed signs of possible trouble for our kids or grandkids. Today they 
seem portents of a
 cataclysm that may not conveniently wait until we're history. 

 Accordingly, the spotlight in climate research is shifting from gradual to 
rapid change. In 2002 the
 National Academy of Sciences issued a report concluding that human activities 
could trigger abrupt
 change. Last year the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, included a 
session at which
 Robert Gagosian, director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 
Massachusetts, urged
 policymakers to consider the implications of possible abrupt climate change 
within two decades. 

 Such jeremiads are beginning to reverberate more widely. Billionaire Gary 
Comer, founder of
 Lands' End, has adopted abrupt climate change as a philanthropic cause. 
Hollywood has also
 discovered the issue¸next summer 20th Century Fox is expected to release The 
Day After
 Tomorrow, a big-budget disaster movie starring Dennis Quaid as a scientist 
trying to save the
 world from an ice age precipitated by global warming. 

 Fox's flick will doubtless be apocalyptically edifying. But what would abrupt 
climate change really
 be like? 

 Scientists generally refuse to say much about that, citing a data deficit. But 
recently, renowned
 Department of Defense planner Andrew Marshall sponsored a groundbreaking 
effort to come to
 grips with the question. A Pentagon legend, Marshall, 82, is known as the 
Defense Department's
 "Yoda"¸a balding, bespectacled sage whose pronouncements on looming risks have 
long had an
 outsized influence on defense policy. Since 1973 he has headed a secretive 
think tank whose role
 is to envision future threats to national security. The Department of 
Defense's push on
 ballistic-missile defense is known as his brainchild. Three years ago Defense 
Secretary Donald
 Rumsfeld picked him to lead a sweeping review on military "transformation," 
the shift toward
 nimble forces and smart weapons. 

 When scientists' work on abrupt climate change popped onto his radar screen, 
Marshall tapped
 another eminent visionary, Peter Schwartz, to write a report on the 
national-security implications
 of the threat. Schwartz formerly headed planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group 
and has since
 consulted with organizations ranging from the CIA to DreamWorks¸he helped 
create futuristic
 scenarios for Steven Spielberg's film Minority Report. Schwartz and co-author 
Doug Randall at the
 Monitor Group's Global Business Network, a scenario-planning think tank in 
Emeryville, Calif.,
 contacted top climate experts and pushed them to talk about what-ifs that they 
usually shy away
 from¸at least in public. 

 The result is an unclassified report, completed late last year, that the 
Pentagon has agreed to
 share with FORTUNE. It doesn't pretend to be a forecast. Rather, it sketches a 
dramatic but
 plausible scenario to help planners think about coping strategies. Here is an 
abridged version: 

 A total shutdown of the ocean conveyor might lead to a big chill like the 
Younger Dryas, when
 icebergs appeared as far south as the coast of Portugal. Or the conveyor might 
only temporarily
 slow down, potentially causing an era like the "Little Ice Age," a time of 
hard winters, violent
 storms, and droughts between 1300 and 1850. That period's weather extremes 
caused horrific
 famines, but it was mild compared with the Younger Dryas. 

 For planning purposes, it makes sense to focus on a midrange case of abrupt 
change. A century of
 cold, dry, windy weather across the Northern Hemisphere that suddenly came on 
8,200 years ago
 fits the bill¸its severity fell between that of the Younger Dryas and the 
Little Ice Age. The event is
 thought to have been triggered by a conveyor collapse after a time of rising 
temperatures not
 unlike today's global warming. Suppose it recurred, beginning in 2010. Here 
are some of the things
 that might happen by 2020: 

 At first the changes are easily mistaken for normal weather variation¸allowing 
skeptics to dismiss
 them as a "blip" of little importance and leaving policymakers and the public 
paralyzed with
 uncertainty. But by 2020 there is little doubt that something drastic is 
happening. The average
 temperature has fallen by up to five degrees Fahrenheit in some regions of 
North America and Asia
 and up to six degrees in parts of Europe. (By comparison, the average 
temperature over the North
 Atlantic during the last ice age was ten to 15 degrees lower than it is 
today.) Massive droughts
 have begun in key agricultural regions. The average annual rainfall has 
dropped by nearly 30% in
 northern Europe, and its climate has become more like Siberia's. 

 Violent storms are increasingly common as the conveyor becomes wobbly on its 
way to collapse. A
 particularly severe storm causes the ocean to break through levees in the 
Netherlands, making
 coastal cities such as the Hague unlivable. In California the delta island 
levees in the Sacramento
 River area are breached, disrupting the aqueduct system transporting water 
from north to south. 

 Megadroughts afflict the U.S., especially in the southern states, along with 
winds that are 15%
 stronger on average than they are now, causing widespread dust storms and soil 
loss. The U.S. is
 better positioned to cope than most nations, however, thanks to its diverse 
growing climates,
 wealth, technology, and abundant resources. That has a downside, though: It 
magnifies the
 haves-vs.-have-nots gap and fosters bellicose finger-pointing at America. 

 Turning inward, the U.S. effectively seeks to build a fortress around itself 
to preserve resources.
 Borders are strengthened to hold back starving immigrants from Mexico, South 
America, and the
 Caribbean islands¸waves of boat people pose especially grim problems. Tension 
between the
 U.S. and Mexico rises as the U.S. reneges on a 1944 treaty that guarantees 
water flow from the
 Colorado River into Mexico. America is forced to meet its rising energy demand 
with options that
 are costly both economically and politically, including nuclear power and 
onerous Middle Eastern
 contracts. Yet it survives without catastrophic losses. 

 Europe, hardest hit by its temperature drop, struggles to deal with immigrants 
from Scandinavia
 seeking warmer climes to the south. Southern Europe is beleaguered by refugees 
from hard-hit
 countries in Africa and elsewhere. But Western Europe's wealth helps buffer it 
from catastrophe. 

 Australia's size and resources help it cope, as does its location¸the conveyor 
shutdown mainly
 affects the Northern Hemisphere. Japan has fewer resources but is able to draw 
on its social
 cohesion to cope¸its government is able to induce population-wide behavior 
changes to conserve

 China's huge population and food demand make it particularly vulnerable. It is 
hit by increasingly
 unpredictable monsoon rains, which cause devastating floods in drought-denuded 
areas. Other
 parts of Asia and East Africa are similarly stressed. Much of Bangladesh 
becomes nearly
 uninhabitable because of a rising sea level, which contaminates inland water 
supplies. Countries
 whose diversity already produces conflict, such as India and Indonesia, are 
hard-pressed to
 maintain internal order while coping with the unfolding changes. 

 As the decade progresses, pressures to act become irresistible¸history shows 
that whenever
 humans have faced a choice between starving or raiding, they raid. Imagine 
Eastern European
 countries, struggling to feed their populations, invading Russia¸which is 
weakened by a
 population that is already in decline¸for access to its minerals and energy 
supplies. Or picture
 Japan eyeing nearby Russian oil and gas reserves to power desalination plants 
 energy-intensive farming. Envision nuclear-armed Pakistan, India, and China 
skirmishing at their
 borders over refugees, access to shared rivers, and arable land. Or Spain and 
Portugal fighting
 over fishing rights¸fisheries are disrupted around the world as water 
temperatures change,
 causing fish to migrate to new habitats. 

 Growing tensions engender novel alliances. Canada joins fortress America in a 
North American
 bloc. (Alternatively, Canada may seek to keep its abundant hydropower for 
itself, straining its ties
 with the energy-hungry U.S.) North and South Korea align to create a 
technically savvy,
 nuclear-armed entity. Europe forms a truly unified bloc to curb its 
immigration problems and protect
 against aggressors. Russia, threatened by impoverished neighbors in dire 
straits, may join the
 European bloc. 

 Nuclear arms proliferation is inevitable. Oil supplies are stretched thin as 
climate cooling drives up
 demand. Many countries seek to shore up their energy supplies with nuclear 
energy, accelerating
 nuclear proliferation. Japan, South Korea, and Germany develop nuclear-weapons 
capabilities, as
 do Iran, Egypt, and North Korea. Israel, China, India, and Pakistan also are 
poised to use the

 The changes relentlessly hammer the world's "carrying capacity"¸the natural 
resources, social
 organizations, and economic networks that support the population. 
Technological progress and
 market forces, which have long helped boost Earth's carrying capacity, can do 
little to offset the
 crisis¸it is too widespread and unfolds too fast. 

 As the planet's carrying capacity shrinks, an ancient pattern reemerges: the 
eruption of desperate,
 all-out wars over food, water, and energy supplies. As Harvard archeologist 
Steven LeBlanc has
 noted, wars over resources were the norm until about three centuries ago. When 
such conflicts
 broke out, 25% of a population's adult males usually died. As abrupt climate 
change hits home,
 warfare may again come to define human life. 

 Over the past decade, data have accumulated suggesting that the plausibility 
of abrupt climate
 change is higher than most of the scientific community, and perhaps all of the 
political community,
 are prepared to accept. In light of such findings, we should be asking when 
abrupt change will
 happen, what the impacts will be, and how we can prepare¸not whether it will 
really happen. In
 fact, the climate record suggests that abrupt change is inevitable at some 
point, regardless of
 human activity. Among other things, we should: 

 ­ Speed research on the forces that can trigger abrupt climate change, how it 
unfolds, and how
   we'll know it's occurring. 

 ­ Sponsor studies on the scenarios that might play out, including ecological, 
social, economic, and
   political fallout on key food-producing regions. 

 ­ Identify "no regrets" strategies to ensure reliable access to food and water 
and to ensure our
   national security. 

 ­ Form teams to prepare responses to possible massive migration, and food and 
water shortages.

 ­ Explore ways to offset abrupt cooling¸today it appears easier to warm than 
to cool the climate
   via human activities, so there may be "geo-engineering" options available to 
prevent a
   catastrophic temperature drop. 

 In sum, the risk of abrupt climate change remains uncertain, and it is quite 
possibly small. But
 given its dire consequences, it should be elevated beyond a scientific debate. 
Action now matters,
 because we may be able to reduce its likelihood of happening, and we can 
certainly be better
 prepared if it does. It is time to recognize it as a national security 

 The Pentagon's reaction to this sobering report isn't known¸in keeping with 
his reputation for
 reticence, Andy Marshall declined to be interviewed. But the fact that he's 
concerned may signal a
 sea change in the debate about global warming. At least some federal thought 
leaders may be
 starting to perceive climate change less as a political annoyance and more as 
an issue demanding

 If so, the case for acting now to address climate change, long a hard sell in 
Washington, may be
 gaining influential support, if only behind the scenes. Policymakers may even 
be emboldened to
 take steps such as tightening fuel-economy standards for new passenger 
vehicles, a measure that
 would simultaneously lower emissions of greenhouse gases, reduce America's 
perilous reliance on
 OPEC oil, cut its trade deficit, and put money in consumers' pockets. Oh, 
yes¸and give the
 Pentagon's fretful Yoda a little less to worry about.

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