Dire Climate Change Warning in Report for Pentagon: US Military Could Collapse in 20 Years; Lack of Water, Domestic Disasters, Disease, Mass Migrations as Threats to Operations

The Pentagon has long been concerned about the threats climate change pose to stability and how it will lead to conflicts due to mass migration and even more intense competition for scarce resources. In the early 2000s, the military warned that climate change could induce large-scale deaths and migrations out of low-lying areas such as Bangladesh due to storms and flooding.

A recent look at the dangers climate change poses to US military operations, released over the summer by the Army War College, went virtually unnoticed despite offering “Apocalypse Near” scenarios a mere 20 years out.  And it isn’t  just that very bad things are in the offing; the report finds that “the Department of Defense (DoD) is precariously unprepared for the national security implications of climate change-induced global security challenges.”

We found out about this document only as a result of an article in Vice flagged by resilc. We’ve embedded the document at the end of the post and strongly urge you to read it in full. Or if you want Cliff Notes versions, see The Center for Climate and Security or the Vice piece

The report sees the lack of potable water as a serious limitation on US military operations, which it anticipates will be overtaxed due to destabilizing climate-change induced mass migrations abroad, combined with domestic Jackpot-level threats of an overtaxed, decrepit electrical grid; diseases; and drought and potential crop failures. Vice gives a good high-level recap:

The report paints a frightening portrait of a country falling apart over the next 20 years due to the impacts of climate change on “natural systems such as oceans, lakes, rivers, ground water, reefs, and forests.”

Current infrastructure in the US, the report says, is woefully underprepared: “Most of the critical infrastructures identified by the Department of Homeland Security are not built to withstand these altered conditions.”

Some 80 percent of US agricultural exports and 78 percent of imports are water-borne. This means that episodes of flooding due to climate change could leave lasting damage to shipping infrastructure, posing “a major threat to US lives and communities, the US economy and global food security,” the report notes.

Notice that its timing is very similar to what we’ve repeatedly said: that potable water is the world’s most scarce natural resource, and it will come under stress by 2050 (we’re seeing it sooner in places like Cape Town). And even though water is theoretically recyclable and non-potable water can be made into potable water, that comes at an energy cost as well as other environmental damage (for instance, the not-trivial problem of salt disposal with desalination).
What is striking is the language and scenarios are at Defcon2 levels. The document stresses it has no ideological point of view about climate change and based its forecasts on what it depicted as mainstream work. And it pointed out that climate change is already happening.

The first major threat it identifies is mass migration. Here is the second, which is less well recognized, from the executive summary:

Salt water intrusion into coastal areas and changing weather patterns will also compromise or eliminate fresh water supplies in many parts of the world. Additionally, warmer weather increases hydration requirements. This means that in expeditionary warfare, the Army will need to supply itself with more water. This signifcant logistical burden will be exacerbated on a future battle eld that requires constant movement due to the ubiquity of adversarial sensors and their deep strike capabilities.

This is quite the admission:

The U.S. Army is precipitously close to mission failure concerning hydration of the force in a contested arid environment. The experience and best practices of the last 17 years of con ict in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Africa rely heavily on logistics force structures to sup- port the war ghter with water mostly procured through contracted means of bottled water, local wells and Re- verse Osmosis Water Puri cation Units (ROWPU). The Army must reinvest aggressively in technologies both in-house and commercial off the shelf in the next 5-10 years to keep pace with rising global temperatures, es- pecially those arid areas in or poised for con ict. The Army must seek partnerships with industry, other na- tions, and other militaries currently working on the hy- dration issue.

While the report does not tease out all the implications, salt water intrusion will be another driver of mass migrations, not only due to its impact on potable water but also on fishing and farming. And of course, that plus sea level rises and more frequent storms will also threaten and even cripple existing US installations, although that risk isn’t immediate.

Of course, there’s no mention of how the US military is a big greenhouse gas emitter; the article blandly notes, “The DoD does not currently possess an environmentally conscious mindset.” To its credit, the report does make changing that a top priority for the Army. It takes a “get on the bus or you’ll be under the bus” perspective:

As the electorate becomes more concerned about climate change, it follows that elected of cials will, as well. This may result in significant restrictions on military activities (in peace- time) that produce carbon emissions.

On the mass migration front, the report suggests planning for a Bangladesh-level disaster, and point out that drought was a major impetus for the conflict in Syria, with refugees from Iraq increasing pressure, which resulted in the exodus of 5 million Syrians out of a pre-war population of 22 million. Bangladesh has over eight times as many people and sits in a conflict-prone area with nuclear powers on either side.

But the report also foresees that the military could be overwhelmed by domestic demands, particularly due to our crap infrastructure, namely that the aging electrical grid will face higher demands as wider-ranging temperatures = more power use. The fact that this report is considering “collapse” as a possibility is telling:

Effects of climate abnormalities over time introduce the possibility of taxing an already fragile system through increased energy requirements triggered by extended periods of heat, drought, cold, etc. If the power grid in- frastructure were to collapse, the United States would experience significant

    • Loss of perishable foods and medications
    • Loss of water and wastewater distribution systems
    • Loss of heating/air conditioning and electrical lighting systems
    • Loss of computer, telephone, and communica-tions systems (including airline ights, satellitenetworks and GPS services)
    • Loss of public transportation systems
    • Loss of fuel distribution systems and fuel pipelines
    • Loss of all electrical systems that do not have back-up power

The caliber of the US response to power failure in Puerto Rico should give pause to the idea that the military is able do much to help.

A rise in insect-borne disease is another potential demand overseas and even here. While the report contends the US military has capabilities that enable them to help, I’m skeptical. And if a highly infectious disease emerges and spreads, it’s hard to imagine that any place in the world has the social cohesion and the public health system to respond well. The Steven Soderbergh movie Contagion was the feel-good version of what would happen if a virulent pathogen got loose. It’s hard to think that people in America would accept a quarantine or line up politely to collect food rations.

There is also considerable discussion of the threats and opportunities posed by the de-icing of the Arctic.

Finally, please do read the report before coming to conclusions about what it means for the possibility of operations in the US. The analysis by implication sees the military as asked to help in the event of a sustained domestic disaster, like a large scale electrical grid failure or a disease outbreak. It does not contemplate domestic violence. However, it’s not hard to see the possibility of martial law if the trajectory is as dire as this analysis suggests.

00 Army War College Report on Climate Change
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  1. Ignacio

    Consequences of the report:

    Colonel B.J., demoted to Sergeant in dishonour
    Colonel P.M. retired in dishonour
    Colonel Smithers… who the xxll is this Colonel Smithers!

    Band of deafetists!

    On the brigth side, what these guys are sayng is that the military budget should increase…

    Colonel B.J., promoted to General
    Colonel P.M. promoted to General
    Colonel Smithers… who the xxll is this Colonel Smithers! anyway promoted to General

    Congratulations my generals!

    Just some fun, particularly with all respect due to our fellow commenter C.S.

  2. David

    Just a quick word on the document itself (I haven’t finished reading it yet). It seems to be a study by a group of students on one of the War College’s more senior courses. The authors are listed on page 2, and are mostly Colonels with some civilians and the statutory foreign student (in this case a Mongolian Colonel). Most government courses of any length in different countries group the students into mixed groups as here, and require them to produce a collective study of some kind. I seem to remember that the USAWC often publishes the studies (since they are based on open sources and so not sensitive) and they are sometimes presented in public – all in the interests of burnishing the Army’s intellectual image.
    There’s nothing in the study to suggest it has any special status, and it’s not a report in any sense ‘to the Pentagon.’ Quite what the Vice story thinks it’s trying to say is unclear, although, as I say, such student reports are often presented in public. That’s not to say the report is without interest, simply that it isn’t in any sense authoritative.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      With all due respect, you seem to be mischaracterizing this document. The Center for Climate and Security says it was issued by the War College. The fact that it may have been prepared in the context of a course does not mean it isn’t an official War College document, which is what your are implying.

      Most institutions are extremely chary of letting their name be put on the cover of documents and distributed. That is true for private sector organizations and has to be even more true of military-related organizations. There is no caveat anywhere saying this was the authors’ views only or that it was prepared for a course (student papers almost always have the date when they were submitted displayed prominently, and anything other than single line formatting is out).

      The two column formatting is not at all consistent with this being a student paper. It may well be a product of the War College Press; note that the War College hosts an annual conference, so this also could have been one of the documents prepared for that. From Wikipedia:

      SSI & US Army War College Press major product are studies published by the Institute and distributed to key strategic leaders in the Army and Department of Defense, the military educational system, Congress, the media, other think tanks and defense institutes, and major colleges and universities. SSI studies use history and current political, economic, and military factors to develop strategic recommendations. These studies often influence the formulation of U.S. military strategy, national security policy, and even the strategies of allies and friends. SSI analysts have contributed to major U.S. national security strategy documents and to U.S. Army doctrine. The U.S. Army War College also hosts a major annual strategy conference at Carlisle Barracks.

      Parameters is a referred journal of ideas and issues, providing a forum for the expression of mature thought on the art and science of land warfare, joint and combined matters, national and international security affairs, military strategy, military leadership and management, military history, ethics, and other topics of significant and current interest to the US Army and Department of Defense. It serves as a vehicle for continuing the education and professional development of USAWC graduates and other senior military officials, as well as members of government and academia concerned with national security affairs.


      Moreover, Colonels are often influential. Look at Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, Colonel Larry Wilkerson, who has become an important commentator. So the notion that the authors were “mere” Colonels is not dispositive.

      Moreover, as we indicated, the Pentagon has been developing research since 2002 or so warning of mass migrations as a security threat. The view of this paper is not out of line with long-standing forecasts about climate change’; the US military was early to take it seriously (at least on some level, they haven’t stopped being major carbon emitters).

      Moreover, any product of the War College would be research. It’s not an official policy document, and I did not imply that.

      1. David

        With equal respect, I think I’m right, and I say that as someone who has been involved with such studies, though not in the US. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of such studies published, and they are covered by a broad disclaimer about not being official policy.Most militaries are keen to publish as much as possible, to influence the debate and the burnish their image. By contrast any document that was officially commissioned would begin with the background and the tasking (I speak as one who’s been involved in a number of them). I’m happy to be proved wrong, but there’s nothing in the document itself to suggest it has any official status : and as I said, that doesn’t mean it has no interest.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Documents published by the Army War College carry considerable weight. They influence TRADOC policy documents, training, mission planning, and procurement recommendations.

          You also seem unaware that the ‘students’ you refer to are not ‘students’ in any usual sense. These are high level officers, well-seasoned and older, who have been selected a ‘promotable’. The LT. COL who ran one of the program efforts I worked on as a contractor was rewarded for his efforts by being selected as promotable and sent to the Army War College for further training in his specialization. He was near forty years old and ran a key Army group supporting the configuration and operation of equipment assembled to outfit the large units deployed on rotation to one of our many endless wars.

      2. Wyoming


        While I did not attend one of the War Colleges (there are 5 of them) in my career I knew many who did (both civilian and military) and I would agree in general with David’s assessment. The war colleges are equivalent to graduate school for the students. The vast majority of their ‘studies’ are the equivalent of group thesis’s.

        This is not to minimize the findings of this work or any of the others. But the conclusions of the various studies are not considered authoritative in the military. The very exceptional ones do in fact have impact and wide distribution. Many do not. Political considerations can easily overwhelm even the best of these studies.

        It has been a long time now since I was working in the community, but clear back then at the level of the officers and civilians who would be students at the war colleges it was widely accepted that the science of climate change and future ecological collapse was virtually certain. There will no original research work in this but rather a compilation of facts and the conclusion of the authors as to where those facts lead. My past comments here on these issues demonstrate that I would be in full agreement with their conclusions.

        I applaud you for the post.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          With all due respect, you are still missing the point. You admit you did not attend the War College and have no direct knowledge of its publishing practices.

          I never said the paper was authoritative. No paper from the War College would be. It’s not in an official advisory capacity.

          However, this paper was published as a War College document, NOT a student document. It was also not formatted the way a paper would be. Papers are virtually always required to be submitted, among other things, in a single column format, double space and/or with specified margins to allow the grader to write comments. The common format is also to prevent “gee whiz” formatting to give a student or group of students an undeserved edge.

      3. Michael

        David’s argument seems to be one of misdirection. Arctic climate research scientists have been predicting disastrous outcomes for years, but for some reason that I cannot fathom, they have been ignored (sarcasm).

        In my experience dealing with selling stuff to the military, Colonels are considered the shakers and movers in the MIC. Generals are considered administrators, and the ones they put on TV.

        One final statement regarding IPCC findings of October, 2018, (which predicts a runaway climate, if a carbon neutral economy is not attained by 2050) and the Scientific Method:

        When an internationally designated group of scientists reach a consensus, the subject of that consensus is NOT an opinion, but would be considered FACT, and facts do not care what you believe.

    2. Ignacio

      IMO, any work that relies in future scenarios, no matter how thorougth it is, cannot be authoritative but just a guide for possibilities. One can use it to decide if something can be done to prevent those scenarios or to improve preparedness just in case. One can also ignore these at our own risk but the risk is not really measurable by statistical methods although we try and try like economists with a model.

      In this particular case, if I was a US policymaker, more particularly in the Secretary of Energy, a red ligth on energy infrastructure and electricity grid should be flashing in my desk after PG&C fiasco and reading this report would give further motivation to do something. Instead, I am focused on what?

      1. Ignacio

        PG&E. I was a costumer long ago. Remember in windy days some quarters lost electricity supply because utility poles had fallen.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Again, I vehemently disagree with this straw manning. I never said the document was authoritative. I did say it was presented as a War College document, not a student document, which suggests the War College Press or the faculty thought it was good enough to put the college’s name on it.

    3. salvo

      I don’t see how you point, if valid, has any relevance to the contents of the paper. I, too, haven’t completed reading it, but so far, I haven’t encountered anything I haven’t already read, in multiple instances, elsewhere. So, there is nothing new in that paper, it’s common knowledge as for the consequences of the climate disruption, if you don’t deny it. It is interesting though as it reveals the perspective at least some hold in the US military, be it official or not.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        What I find interesting is that flag rank officers (O6+) are publicly stating this. I think they know that the only way to get Daddy Warbucks onboard is to carpet the road to addressing climate change with money. To this end, conjuring images of starving brown hordes storming white civilization is, in case anyone hasn’t been paying attention, their go-to trope.

        1. Wyoming

          A point of order.

          O6’s are NOT flag rank officers. One has to be of the rank of Brig. Gen rank ( or equivalent) and above to be a Flag officer..

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            You are correct! Will not make that mistake again (not that I have too many opportunities).

        2. Anarcissie

          It is true the starving brown hordes are prominent in these things, but note also that climate change will also affect imperial operations overseas and police and security operations at home. Therefore, of course, more money will be needed; but we knew that already. The possibility of eliminating the imperial operations and reducing the police work is usually not contemplated.

      2. xkeyscored

        I’ve already read most of this, and in US military stuff. They’re about the only US government department still allowed to mention climate change, which they’ve been warning about as a serious threat for ages.

  3. skippy

    I would firstly take exception to the notion of stability in the context offered, conversely from a grammatical disposition I would offer it’s grounded in the vernacular of dominance.

    1. Susan the Other

      That is also a good way to look at it. “The vernacular of dominance” is exactly what it is. I think the military has been on top of the entire situation since day one. ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ was probably a military operation. The first serious attempt to force us all to curb our enthusiasm. Maybe even deindustrialization was another. And the cherry on top was the Great Financial Crisis. “Oh, we just didn’t know how to prevent it.” Right. So it seems logical that the thing that followed as if on cue was the ME war for oil. It all makes perfectly good sense The take-away from this most recent revelation is water. Every aspect of water. Too much, too little. Overuse. Pollution. (Which Yves has been saying for several years.) And the next priority is certainly the Grid. By 2050 we’ll be in the thick of it. And if anyone is on top of it it will be the military. Just look at their prioritization – they have gone full-on with strategic missiles and surveillance satelites. So have other countries. When you consider how logical the chaos of the last 3+ decades might actually have been, it’s almost reassuring.

      1. Titus

        Not sure I understand you. But, my take on CO2 is where we are at as a civilization. Let me posit that it the last couple of hundred thousand years we have achieved X. Let further add the some of it is good and worth continuing with. Some of it is point. If we are to continue the human project clearly how and what kind of energy we use needs to change. Not an impossible problem. The problem as it’s been laid out here so well @NC is people’s ability to act, act now, change, and likely make some sacrifices that likely will don’t benefit us in our life time. This appears unprecedented in human history. I thinking the voting here @NC is nah, win the Jackpot. Perhaps. The one thing about the military is they are designed for 10 year missions were people simply take orders to get sh*t done. The report addresses that concern as you might expect, leadership awareness and setting up a command.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        But the deindustrialization was not net-net all over the world. What it was was a down-industrialization of the US and an up-industrialization of Mexico, China, and many others. So the net-net effect overall was to raise carbon-skydumping amounts at the whole-world level. Plus all the carbon skydumped to move all that industry out of America and into the various Free Trade Production-Aggression re-importation platforms. Plus all the carbon skydumped to create America’s industry to begin with, which . . . after America’s industry was all shipped out or burned down, was all for nothing after-the fact.

        So because the net effect of America-only deindustrialization has been even more carbon skydumping, I am not re-assured.

    2. Titus

      Not sure I understand you. But, my take on CO2 is where we are at as a civilization. Let me posit that it the last couple of hundred thousand years we have achieved X. Let further add the some of it is good and worth continuing with. Some of it is point. If we are to continue the human project clearly how and what kind of energy we use needs to change. Not an impossible problem. The problem as it’s been laid out here so well @NC is people’s ability to act, act now, change, and likely make some sacrifices that likely will don’t benefit us in our life time. This appears unprecedented in human history. I thinking the voting here @NC is nah, win the Jackpot. Perhaps. The one thing about the military is they are designed for 10 year missions were people simply take orders to get sh*t done. The report addresses that concern as you might expect, leadership awareness and setting up a command.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        I have decided that I will not make a single sacrifice until I see all the millionaires and billionaires having made that sacrifice first, in public and in undeniable and un-fakeable open view.

        The only conservation lifestyling I will do in the meantime is that conservation lifestyling which can be weaponised and targeted against those above me on the money-class ladder, especially those at the top.

        1. witters

          God forbid that one make a “sacrifice.” Of course, that – as a “moral” position – universalizes. So nothing, ever. Jackpot!

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If everybody takes the position of “no sacrificing us till we see the rich sacrificed first”, then the rich may well realize that they could be as exterminated as the rest of us and they will be forced to decide whether their own death is worth their position that we have to sacrifice something so that they can sacrifice nothing.

            Because that’s what “sacrifice” means. We middles and poors are supposed to give up something or maybe everything so that the richers and richests get to keep everything same as now. And that is what I have decided I reject when I reject unilateral sacrifice.

            If you will re-read my enTIRE comment very slowly and carefully, you will see that I left myself and others a creative “out” to excuse doing something without it being a sucker’s sacrifice. And that would be to make sure the something that I, or you, or others do … can be done and targeted against the rich in such a way as to exterminate their economy . . . if enough people did enough versions of the same thing.

            Conservation lifestyling could be a whole toolbox of weaponisable hate-based initiatives designed to shrink the economy from the top down and shrink-wrap it around the faces and airways of the upper classes.

            For example, how much aggressive electricity NON-use would it take to attrit and degrade PG&E’s revenue streams so deeply that it dies as a coherent institution, thereby allowing various municipalism-minded municipalities to grab, seize and hold municipalizable bits and pieces of the physical infrastructure and create their own public-interest mini-grids and micro-grids? Such electricity NON-uses would not be sucker sacrifices. They would be tactical battle-actions in the greater strategy of commercial and financial extermination-warfare against PG&E required to kill it dead enough for California communities to liberate themselves from the PG&E Occupation Regime.

    3. notabanker

      This is spot on. At some point all hell breaks loose and money no longer solves problems. I’m betting it’s way before 2050. We’re on the cusp of it right now. Let them eat guns and planes and drones, I guess.

      Here’s a big clue: The “enemy” isn’t a foreign nation state.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Nor is it the middles and poors of any one particular ethnic or religious group or another.

  4. The Rev Kev

    Logistics is going to be murder to deal with under this new scenario. As an illustration. At the moment a gallon of gas will, by the time it gets to the front lines in Afghanistan, costs about $200 and the costs for supporting one US soldier in Afghanistan costs about a million dollars a year. So it may be that the price for shipping water to front line units may be of a similar order under this future scenario and it won’t matter if they have been issued with Fremen stillsuits by then. I suspect though that there may not be many such overseas expeditions in the future due to resource constraints. A country like the US can simply print the money it needs to enable this sort of expeditionary force but you cannot print actual resources.
    If the United States is dealing with sea level rises, bases having to be abandoned due to flooding issues, flood shortages, the collapse of infrastructure such as electrical generation and other such disasters, then the US military will have to be deployed internally to deal with the consequences as it has the manpower, equipment and gear to help out. Military units so deployed will be too busy to be sent overseas to places like Bangladesh. As an example. if large chunks off Florida start to go under, how many troops will be needed to deal with helping the civilian population evacuate from those places? Civilian organizations like the police can deal with smaller scale emergencies but you will need the military for the large scale disasters that will be coming down the pipeline.
    The study called on the Pentagon to urgently prepare for the possibility that domestic power, water, and food systems might collapse due to the impacts of climate change. Fair enough. But the Pentagon is a pretty insular organization and the days of the citizen-soldier are long, long gone (Would you believe that there was once a TV series called “Citizen Soldier” back in the late 1950s?). I suspect then that any funds used by the Pentagon would be spent to insulate the US military and not the surrounding civilian infrastructure. It will be based on the military logic that it has to save itself before it can save others but I have seen how this works in practice. The first few days after a disaster are vital for saving lives but when the US military was put in charge of helping Haiti after that massive earthquake in 2010, several days were lost as the military got their forces in place and set up their own security before they finally turned their attention to the local population. Too little too late.

    1. Colin Spenncer

      Florida or for that matter other coastal areas will not be flooded overnight from climate change to require immediate evacuation. People are thinking of climate change sea level rise in terms of feet but 6 inches of water on the streets of Florida or any other coastal area would make the place unlivable. Not just unlivable, but real estate would become worthless. Banks holding outstanding mortgages would have losses comparable or greater than the crash of ’08, and there would be no buyers because banks having seen the writing on the wall would not issue mortgages. Climage change flooding would only be the tip of the iceberg (or not as most icebergs would have already melted).

      1. The Rev Kev

        @Colin Spenncer. Late in replying to your comment. What you say is quite true. In making my comment, what I was really thinking of was sea level rises in Florida, with a King tide and then a hurricane pushing even more water onshore. Combinations like that have happened in the past and if Florida was hit with something like that, well, it would not be good and you would need the resources of the military being deployed to help cope.

  5. xkeyscored

    It would be nice to think the US military will confine itself to the USA and refrain from further greenhouse gas emissions in light of this report.
    I very much doubt that will be the case. It will probably continue to police the Middle East in its quest to secure oil supplies, and prepare itself for dealing with unrest and disorder domestically.

  6. AstoriaBlowin

    I was in Liberia when the US military was there to support the response to the 2014-2016 Ebola pandemic. They were there for two purposes, lock down the country if needed to contain the spread of the disease and provide logistical support to the response. They were tasked with helping build Ebola Treatment Units where infected people could be quarantined and treated. This was overall a pointless and wasteful exercise, it took months to get going on building some of these units and by the time they were finished the peak of the outbreak had passed. The things that actually worked to contain the disease were community sensitization and disease surveillance, contact tracing, and case investigations. All things the military has no experience, capacity or interest in doing in a setting like that. They had no relationship with affected communities, no trust, if they had tried to do contact tracing no one would have talked to them.

    Based on what I saw in Liberia, the military getting more involved in emergency response to a disease outbreak would be a great way to make the situation much worse.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      The Army can be very effective at their mission. What was their mission in Liberia? I suspect they were there chiefly to contain the outbreak to Liberia, with logistics support, and dealing with the disease locally much lower in the priorities of their mission statement.

      I do not believe United States Africa Command, (U.S. AFRICOM) is not one of the largest or best outfitted combatant commands.

  7. freedomny

    I think their time frame of 20 years is being a bit generous. I’d be really surprised if we didn’t have a blue water event in the Arctic within the next few years which could trigger an acceleration of the climate crisis.

    1. urdsama

      I think the projected tipping point in the Amazon where it can no longer create its own rain may be a bigger issue.

      To quote Thomas Lovejoy and Carlos Nobre:

      Nobre told The Guardian he did not think deforestation would quadruple from 18,000 square kilometers (approximately 7,000 square miles) this year to 70,000 square kilometers (approximately 27,000 square miles) by 2021, as de Bolle projected.

      “I hope she is wrong,” Nobre told The Guardian. “If she is right, it is the end of the world.”

      Lovejoy, however, thought de Bolle’s prediction could come true.

      “We are seeing the first flickering of that tipping,” he told The Guardian. “It’s sort of like a seal trying to balance a rubber ball on its nose … the only sensible thing to do is to do some reforestation and build back that margin of safety.”

      While the basis of this discussion is viewed by many as too pessimistic, so far almost every climate prediction has been woefully optimistic when compared to actual events.

      I think we’ve passed the tipping point. We do not, and will not, have the technology to fix this. So where do we go from here?

      Full article:


      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        If the ChiCom regime in Beijing were to read this, they would think: ” Good. More soybeans for us”.
        And the EUropeans might say: “Might as well pelletize all those standing dead trees .. . and send us the pellets”.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        “Abrupt Climate Change — Past, Present, and Future the 2014 AGU Nye Lecture”, Jim White, University of Colorado Boulder [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRs4kIthJ9k]

  8. pebird

    Clearly the US military will need huge increases in their budget to address climate change. Take advantage of every crisis.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      OR the current DoD budgets could be reallocated to new missions designs to address problems of Climate Chaos. After wasting budget on the big Future Combat Systems Program the Army had to let the Navy and Air Force have their turn at the trough. Maybe we could budget for DoD missions related to Climate Chaos that focuses on real problems instead of vague strategic goals.

  9. xkeyscored

    I see they’re considering recycling their water. Is this the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy?

    2 Kings 18:27 King James Version
    But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?

  10. Titus

    Ok, I read it and it’s pretty good. Written straight up fairly jargon free. Good summary of the problem Climate Disruption (a proof of it and it acceptance), a call for general awareness and action. The action plan is very specific most of it tactical, but the discussion of how it effects nuclear weapons I’d say was strategic. The tone is urgent without being overbearing. I’d say they’d conclude you were an idiot if you didn’t get with the program and get ready now. One issue brought up here @NC is the amount of CO2 the military generates – this report acknowledges that and need to address it. This is just me but if your going to spend money why not do something useful with it. A recurring thought I had was this report could be considered the basis for a green new deal (such that this concept is now an idiom) for DOD. A point of order: Colonel, heavy ones, and guys with stars all all considered general officers and not be to taken lightly. Any US citizen can enroll at War College, staying enrolled is a whole another thing. It’s hard work.

    Yves, thank you this is a real gem.

  11. Knot Galt

    I think one other offshoot stemming from this type of paper is how the DoD will weaponize climate change.

  12. RBHoughton

    I visit a great many sites daily to keep abreast of the news but I doubt if any of them will have this article on offer. Respect to NC for casting their net so widely. I value a military opinion in this case because it is more remote from the moneymen and might well be more reliable in that respect. Thank you NC

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