Monday, September 26, 2016

US Military is compelled to address Climate Change, so should our potential leaders

When will mainstream media start grilling presidential candidates on how our next President will address Climate Change and direct our military’s role?

We should mitigate Climate Change by halting any more human-caused, greenhouse gas emissions; but we will have to adapt to the devastating consequences of more flooding, more extreme weather, and more social unrest.

President Obama’s “Presidential Memorandum -- Climate Change and National Security” makes it clear that our military must be prepared for what Climate Change portends by planning on a scale and time frame that will matter. 

Obama Just Tied Climate Change to National Security On Wednesday, President Obama took another step toward securing his climate legacy. This time his focus wasn’t on energypublic lands or international diplomacy. It was on national security and making sure the U.S. military is prepared for a more unstable future. The White House published a presidential memorandum setting up a timetable for more than 20 federal agencies to come up with a plan to put climate science into action when it comes to national security. “It’s not a new direction, but it is reinforcing and formalizing a direction in which the U.S. government was already headed,” Sherri Goodman, a fellow at the nonpartisan Wilson Center, said. “That’s how you turn concepts into action in the government. You have to have plans to get agencies to act.” (September 22, 2016) Climate Central

Our responsible political leaders and our military have long known that our military must be prepared for the heighten disruptions that will be caused by Climate Change and one must wonder why any leader would do any less than prepare the public for the worst.

Whatever a leader’s ideology or political position on Climate Change, he or she must fulfill their responsibility to address clear and present dangers to the US public.

The Presidential Memorandum is an amazingly clear description of how Climate Change affects our national security and the need for “… setting up a timetable for more than 20 federal agencies to come up with a plan to put climate science into action ...” (1)

With such a clear message about the actions needed to be taken on this climate crisis, shouldn’t our media press all our political leaders responsible to explain their support or lack of support for military preparation for climate actions?

How many scientists and military figures will it take for our media to wake up and do their job on the crisis or our age? 

US military issues climate security warning Senior military figures in the US warn of national and international security threats posed by the impacts of climate change A group of senior defence experts in the US has warned that climate change is a threat to the country’s security, with the stark message that “the impacts of climate change present significant and direct risks to US military readiness, operations and strategy”. They are members of the Climate Security Consensus Project, a bipartisan group of 25 senior military and national security experts − many of whom have served in previous Republican or Democratic administrations. Meeting at a forum in Washington DC organised by the Centre for Climate and Security (CCS), the group said the effects of climate change “present a strategically-significant risk to US national security and international security”. (September 23, 2016) Climate Home 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Where does Climate Change go in this year’s US presidential election?

Now that Bernie Sanders, who was the champion for addressing Climate Change, is out of the presidential race, where does this crisis go? (Bernie Sanders: Yes, Climate Change Is Still Our Biggest National Security Threat, 11/14/2015, Mother Jones) Does it get ignored because Clinton can’t or won’t use it to beat Trump over the head because neither Trump nor the media think it’s worth bringing up?

Does it get kicked down the road to another election because it still doesn’t have ‘legs’ in our electoral process? If so, that would put us into an even deeper existential plight.

Yes, existential plight.

However unfashionable using apocalyptic language with this crisis may appear, one cannot overstate the problem with Climate Change and our collective inertia. President Obama began his presidency with a very milquetoast policy on Climate Change and what evolved over his watch is a President far more engaged with this crisis: Obama on ‘Terrifying’ Threat of Climate Change (September 8, 2016, New York Times).  

We, humanity, the folks who caused Climate Change, haven’t been addressing Climate Change on a scale that will matter. Somehow we’ve fallen into the attitude that our political process is the sole measure of this crisis. This is nonsense on stilts as we can no more vote physics out of our existence than we can travel through time.

It’s eerie that much of our own inability to address Climate Change that is being addressed by our oceans. If it wasn’t for the oceans sucking up the heat of our Climate Change, we would have already cooked ourselves: “…the surface of the Earth would have warmed by a devastating 36C, rather than 1C, over the past century.” (See below.)  BTW: “Thirty-six degrees Celsius is equal to 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit.”1.

Soaring ocean temperature is 'greatest hidden challenge of our generation' IUCN report warns that ‘truly staggering’ rate of warming is changing the behaviour of marine species, reducing fishing zones and spreading disease The soaring temperature of the oceans is the “greatest hidden challenge of our generation” that is altering the make-up of marine species, shrinking fishing areas and starting to spread disease to humans, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of ocean warming. The oceans have already sucked up an enormous amount of heat due to escalating greenhouse gas emissions, affecting marine species from microbes to whales, according to an International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) report involving the work of 80 scientists from a dozen countries. (September 15, 2016) The Guardian

But the oceans are not providing this convenient service for us up until we get our act together. There’s a terrible price being paid for this stored heat and profound ecosystem changes where the piper will have to be paid by our children.

There is going to be a terrible procrastination penalty for not obeying the laws of physics—where the trapped heat from our greenhouse gas emissions must be accounted for. Increasingly, climate models are proving how sensitive all life on Earth are to every little change in energy passing through our life support system.

There has been no hiatus, no free ride, no time out, and no carbon budget where we can delude ourselves into thinking that we have more time before we have to act. It has long since past when we should have reversed our greenhouse gas emissions. 

We cannot put Climate Change on the ballot box and vote away physics. Time is running out and installing a climate denier leader will put Climate Change (ironically) in the forefront of our existence. But not in a good way.

Time passes.