- Climate change over the next 20 years could result in
a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters..
- A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and
obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk
beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by
2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will
erupt across the world.
- The document predicts that abrupt climate change could
bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear
threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies.
The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the
few experts privy to its contents.
- 'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of
life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define
- The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration,
which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said
that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted
national defence is a priority.
- The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence
adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military
thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping
recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
- Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific
debate to a US national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz,
CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group,
and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.
- An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is
'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways
that should be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next
year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval
- Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire
from a large body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked
science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not
like. Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA), said that suppression of the report for four months was a
further example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate
- Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts
could prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a
real and happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United
States to sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change.
- A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the
White House to voice their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying
drive to get the US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The
Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the
issue when faced with complaints that America's public stance appeared
increasingly out of touch.
- One even alleged that the White House had written to
complain about some of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King,
Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, after he branded the President's
position on the issue as indefensible.
- Among those scientists present at the White House talks
were Professor John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to
the German government and head of the UK's leading group of climate scientists
at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's
internal fears should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to accept
- Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological
Office - and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change
to that of terrorism - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort
of message, then this is an important document indeed.'
- Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former
chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the
Pentagon's dire warnings could no longer be ignored.
- 'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going be hard to
blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's
single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko,
liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change
is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There
are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby
and the Pentagon,' added Watson.
- 'You've got a President who says global warming is a
hoax, and across the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for
climate wars. It's pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government
on this issue,' said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.
- Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet
is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic'
shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to
overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago
climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and
mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated.
- Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications
of rapid climate change would create global chaos. 'This is depressing
stuff,' he said. 'It is a national security threat that is unique because
there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the
- Randall added that it was already possibly too late to
prevent a disaster happening. 'We don't know exactly where we are in the
process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five
years,' he said.
- 'The consequences for some nations of the climate change
are unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels
would be worthwhile.'
- So dramatic are the report's scenarios, Watson said,
that they may prove vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John
Kerry is known to accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists disillusioned
with Bush's stance are threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon
report in his campaign.
- The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings
will aid Kerry's cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a
secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security called
the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon insiders who respect
his vast experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of
Defence's push on ballistic-missile defence.
- Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference,
said that the suppression of the report was a further instance of the White
House trying to bury evidence of climate change. 'It is yet another example
of why this government should stop burying its head in the sand on this
- Symons said the Bush administration's close links to
high-powered energy and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate
change was received sceptically in the Oval Office. 'This administration
is ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy
and oil companies,' he added.
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