Green Groups Cheering for Kerry by Joseph Szczesny (2/16/2004)
Democratic candidate winning friends of the earth, but not in Detroit.
A new study by the U.S. Department of Defense has warned that changes in the earth’s climate that are possible in the years to come could undermine the national security of the United States.
The report "The Weather Report: 2010 to 2020" was prepared by the DOD's Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon's in-house think tank headed by one of the Defense Department's in-house legends, 83-year-old Andrew Marshall.
The Office of Net Assessment's futurists have over the years successfully predicted the sudden fall of Soviet Union nearly a decade before it happened. The weather report prepared for the Office of Net Assessment by outside consultants indicates that the weather around the globe could change swiftly if glaciers around the world melt. The melting of the glaciers could disrupt ocean currents that transfer heat from the equator, leading to a series of changes that would make weather colder in the Northern Hemisphere and much warmer in the Southern Hemisphere.
Those changes would have harsh effects on crops, weather and water supplies that would elevate tensions in all parts of the globe. The growing season in North America, for example, would contract but the impact would be much greater in Russia and Europe, which could face food shortages. Tensions also would escalate in South Asia where competition between India, Pakistan, and China where summers would get hotter and winters colder, increasing the pressure on existing food supplies.
Green grab at report
The scenarios laid down in the Pentagon futurists’ report are different from some of those suggested by environmentalists, who have warned that the earth's climate faces dramatic changes from global warming.
Nonetheless, environmentalists immediately adopted the Pentagon Report because it offered new support for the thesis that the earth's climate is susceptible to sudden changes induced by man-made pollution — a view not widely held in the upper reaches of the Bush administration nor proven by science.
Meanwhile, former Vice President Al Gore criticized the Bush administration in a speech in New York last month for, in his view, ignoring the gathering environmental storm.
"I don't think there is any longer any credible basis for doubting that the earth's atmosphere is heating up because of global warming," Gore said. "Yet in spite of the clear evidence available all around us, there are many who still do not believe that global warming is a problem at all," said Gore. "And wealthy right-wing ideologues have joined with the most cynical and irresponsible companies in the oil, coal, and mining industries to contribute large sums of money to finance pseudo-scientific front groups that specialize in sowing confusion in the public's mind about global warming," Gore said.
"They issue one misleading report after another, pretending that there is significant disagreement in the legitimate scientific community in areas where there is actually a broad-based consensus," added Gore, who suggested the energy companies have borrowed their tactics from the tobacco industry, which long fought claims that cigarettes cause health problems with pseudo-science.
Meanwhile, the global warming issue continues to hover over the automobile industry. Interest in fuel cells and hydrogen has steadily increased as the debate over global warming has continued to intensify.