By xaxnar | 17 November 2015
Hat Tip to Kevin Drum for picking up on remarks by CIA director John Brennan. While the headlines are seizing on his talking points about more attacks in the pipeline and policies that make surveillance more difficult, Drum finds he has some pretty tough talk on Climate Change as well in an address to a security conference. To expand on some of the points Drum found, here’s some of the things Brennan had to say:
…In the past three years, there have been more outbreaks of instability than at any time since the collapse of the Soviet Union, matching the rate we saw during decolonization in the 1960s. This has not been a period of protests and government – this has not just been a period of protests and government change, but of violent insurgency, and in particular of breakdowns in many states’ ability to govern.
Ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Yemen, and Libya, and parts of Africa are clear examples. The human toll is reflected in the U.N.’s recent announcement that the number of refugees and internally displaced persons in the world is the highest it has been since World War II. And of course, all of this localized strife gives rise to the persistent threat of international terrorism.
When CIA analysts look for deeper causes of this rising instability, they find nationalistic, sectarian and technological factors that are eroding the structure of the international system. They also see socioeconomic trends, the impact of climate change, and other elements that are cause for concern. And so let me touch upon a few of those this morning….
…Mankind’s relationship with the natural world is aggravating these problems and is a potential source of crisis itself. Last year was the warmest on record, and this year is on track to be even warmer. Extreme weather, along with public policies affecting food and water supplies, can worsen or create humanitarian crises. Of the most immediate concern, sharply reduced crop yields in multiple places simultaneously could trigger a shock in food prices with devastating effect, especially in already-fragile regions such as Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Compromised access to food and water greatly increases the prospect for famine and deadly epidemics. (Emphasis added.)
The right wing has been ridiculing President Obama and the Democratic presidential candidates for citing Climate Change as a leading threat to the world. (Take a look at the comments on this Washington Times piece on Bernie Sanders for a sampling from the audience out there in the fever swamp.) It’s not just the CIA that’s warning about this; the Pentagon has been taking it seriously for quite a while as well.
…The report is the latest in a series of studies highlighting the national security risks of climate change. But the Pentagon’s characterization of it as a present-day threat demanding immediate action represents a significant shift for the military, which has in the past focused on climate change as a future risk.
Before, the Pentagon’s response to climate change focused chiefly on preparing military installations to adapt to its effects, like protecting coastal naval bases from rising sea levels. The new report, however, calls on the military to incorporate climate change into broader strategic thinking about high-risk regions — for example, the ways in which drought and food shortages might set off political unrest in the Middle East and Africa.
Experts said that the broadened approach would include considering the role that climate change might have played in contributing to the rise of extremist groups like the Islamic State.
“Climate change and water shortages may have triggered the drought that caused farmers to relocate to Syrian cities and triggered situations where youth were more susceptible to joining extremist groups,” said Marcus D. King, an expert on climate change and international affairs at George Washington University. The Islamic State, often referred to as ISIS, has seized scarce water resources to enhance its power and influence. (Emphasis added.)
Is there anything the Right Wing gets right? They aren’t the solution to our problems — they ARE the problem.
Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Is Denying Climate Change
Rand Paul: ‘It’s Almost Like They Will Put You In Prison For Challenging… Climate Change’
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