Climate Change Is A Growing National Security Concern, Say Retired Military Leaders

A report released Tuesday from an advisory group of retired U.S. military leadership echoes the findings of other recent reports on climate change: It is real, it is already happening and it poses major threats to the U.S. and the rest of the world.

The federally funded Center for Naval Analyses and its Military Advisory Board, a group of 16 retired three- and four-star generals and admirals, affirm in the report that climate events like flooding, prolonged drought and rising sea levels, and the subsequent population dislocation and food insecurity, will serve as “catalysts for instability and conflict” in vulnerable regions of the world.

“We no longer have the option to wait and see,” former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta write in a foreword to the report, which they describe as a “a bipartisan call to action.”

The report laments the politicization of climate change and continued inaction from Congress on the issue. “Politically charged debate has silenced sound public discourse,” it reads in part.

“We hope this report will both influence public opinion as well as influence national security policymakers and leaders,” retired Navy rear admiral and co-author David Titley told The Huffington Post. “We are speaking out because we believe the risk is accelerating, and will continue to do so unless action is taken now.”

CNA’s Military Advisory Board stressed the importance of addressing climate change collaboratively. “Neither the DOD, nor any other agency, can act alone to address the impacts of climate change,” the report reads.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told The New York Times on Tuesday that American foreign policy will be affected by the climate events predicted in this report. “The intelligence community takes it seriously, and it’s translated into action,” he said.

The report cites previous climate change and security assessments, as well as the work of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. Government’s Global Change Research Program. However, its authors also emphasize their own credentials.

“The messenger counts: This report is signed, not by environmentalists or climate scientists, but by 16 admirals and generals who collectively have over 500 years of service to our country,” said Titley, who formerly served as Oceanographer of the Navy and now teaches in the meteorology department at Pennsylvania State University.

Climate change and national security aren’t two separate issues, retired Brigadier General Stephen Cheney told Public Radio International last week. “The [2012] insurrection in Mali where the Tuareg went north — drought caused that,” said Cheney. “It dried up their crops, they had to move, and they had to make a living. They went to northern Mali, and that started the insurrection there.”

“We know for a fact, obviously, that climate change contributed to that drought,” Cheney went on. “That’s just one example of instability that was caused by climate change, but there are probably dozens of others.”

“This isn’t some far-off-in-the-future threat,” climate scientist Michael Mann told HuffPost, adding that the report “reinforces what we’ve been hearing from national security experts for more than a decade: that among the greatest threat to national security in the decades ahead is the increased conflict that will arise as a growing global population grapples with decreased land, water and food resources due to the damaging impacts of climate change.”

Tuesday’s report comes a week after the latest National Climate Assessment, a massive interagency government report in its third edition since 2000. The congressionally mandated report, which clocks in at over 800 pages, is a detailed look at the current and future effects of climate change on the United States.

“Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the National Climate Assessment states.

Yet despite the threats already posed by severe heat waves and heavy precipitation events, the NCA cites a number of ways for the U.S. to address climate change and stave off its worst effects.

“The climate hazards are looking as severe as ever, but I think there is a message contained in the report that our ability to respond is about getting going,” Radley Horton, a scientist at Columbia University Earth Institute’s Center for Climate Systems Research and one of the NCA’s lead authors, told HuffPost.

A 2013 Pew Research poll in 39 countries found that only 40 percent of Americans see global climate change as a major threat to the U.S. When Americans were asked to rank a list of potential threats to their country, climate change came in sixth place, behind North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs, Islamic extremism, international financial instability and China’s power. But to the rest of the world, climate change is seen as a much bigger danger. When the responses of the 39 countries are added up, climate change emerges as the No. 1 issue that people are concerned about.

Speaking at an energy policy conference at Columbia University earlier this month, Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman said the U.S. is “halfway” to meeting its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to 17 percent below where they were in 2005, a target laid out in President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan last year.

At the same event, White House counselor John Podesta said there’s “no silver bullet” to decarbonize the economy overnight. He asserted the role of natural gas as a “bridge fuel,” but acknowledged there are “challenges” to its development.

“Only by combating human-caused climate change through a reduction of global carbon emissions can we hope to avoid an escalation of conflict and its dire societal consequences,” Mann told HuffPost.

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Screamin’ Jay Hawkins meant for his famous song ‘I Put a Spell on You’ to be a “refined ballad.” What happened?

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins meant for his famous song ‘I Put a Spell on You’ to be a "refined ballad." What happened?

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ most famous song ‘I Put a Spell on You’ is one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. It’s a mesmerizing song where "Hawkins screamed, grunted, and gurgled" his way into rock and roll history. But it wasn’t initially supposed to be that way.

Hawkins’ original vision for the song was a refined ballad, according to the Allmusic Guide to the Blues. When the band went to record the song, however, they were quite intoxicated, especially Hawkins, who turned his own refined ballad into something very different.

Hawkins ended up blacking out and didn’t even remember recording the song when he woke the next day. He had to listen to the recording so that he could learn a song he had sung the night before.

The song was in such stark contrast to what it was originally supposed to sound like that the record label actually released a second version with most of the grunts that embellished the track taken out due to complaints about it’s overt sexuality. Even so, some places still banned the song from radio.

(Source)

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Read Jackson Browne’s Tribute to Unsung Cult Singer Ned Doheny

In Laurel Canyon musical lore Seventies singer-songwriter Ned Doheny’s name registers as a blip compared to Joni Mitchell David Crosby and the Eagles Chicago reissue label Numero Group — whose stellar past compilations have resurrected artists and regional scenes — hopes to change that with the recently released compilation Separate Oceans The career…

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The First Tipping Point Has Arrived: Will It Be The Last ?

“What climate scientists have feared for decades is now beginning to come true: We are pushing the climate system across dangerous tipping points” says Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute.

His dire warning came after two new studies revealed that the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet has crossed a dangerous breaking point. Melting at a much faster pace than originally anticipated, it’s unstoppable collapse is already underway:

“A large sector of the western Antarctic ice sheet has gone into a state of irreversible retreat. It has passed the point of no return. This retreat will have major consequences for sea level rise worldwide,” warns Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at Nasa and the University of California.

Driven by warming temperatures, the retreat will cause global sea levels to rise by as much as 1.4 meters by the end of this century. This will radically alter coastlines across the globe.

And, according to glaciologist Hamish Pritchard from the British Antarctic Survey, the rise will be uneven: it will especially impact the northeastern coast of the US, and the southern part of China, affecting major financial centers in New York and Hong Kong:

“The rise is pretty exceptional in historical terms, at rates that haven’t been seen since the end of the last ice age. And this is the first time we are seeing rates like this with a very large human population.”

The two new studies by Nasa, and the University of Washington reveal that global sea level rises will be much higher than predicted by the United Nation’s latest climate report which did not factor in the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

The UN’s conclusions tend to sit on the more conservative end of the spectrum as they are always drawn from a consensus process.

According to the University of Washington study, under the worst-case scenario, the collapse of the entire ice sheet is about 200 years off, and possibly even up to 1,000 years away.

The retreat would begin slowly, resulting in sea-level rise of less than 1mm a year for a couple of hundred years. But “then boom, it just starts to really go,” warns Ian Joughin, a University of Washington glaciologist.

According to Rignot however, both studies are too conservative as they do not include all the potential feedback loops.

Richard Alley, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania echoes that view, arguing that they did not run the worst case scenario, which would accelerate all of this melting to within this century.

The pace and scale of retreat largely depends on whether world leaders can sign off on a new global treaty to rein in carbon emissions when they gather in Paris next December.

Last month, the world’s two largest emitters, the US and China stepped up their efforts to lead the charge against global warming. With emissions that match the rest of the world combined, commitment by these two powerhouses is key.

If greenhouse gases continue to rise at their current pace, warming temperatures could destabalize the rest of Antarctica, and the Greenland ice sheet. This would cause sea levels to rise to such a level that many of the world’s coastal cities would become inhabitable.

And, according to Pritchard, the most alarming part is not the sea level rise itself, but the implications it has for storm surges across the globe.

The most recent example of this would be Typhoon Haiyan. One of the strongest storms to make landfall in history, it killed over 6,000 people in the Philippines last November as it tore across the archipelago. Fueled by higher sea levels and warmer temperatures over the Pacific Ocean, it was was one of several super storms to form over the Pacific last year.

And, when Hurricane Sandy struck New York City two years ago, it hit an area where the sea level was about a foot higher than it had been a century before.

Pritchard says that places that once had “one in 100 year risk of a serious storm surge may become a one in 10 years likelihood, meaning people have to abandon that place.”

“If we have indeed lit the fuse on West Antarctica, it’s very hard to imagine putting the fuse out. But there’s a bunch more fuses, and there’s a bunch more matches, and we have a decision now: Do we light those?” asks Dr. Alley.

The news comes two months after the United Nations released its most sobering account on the state of our climate yet: “Things are worse than we had predicted. We are going to see more impacts, faster and sooner than we had anticipated,” said Saleemul Huq from the Independent University in Bangladesh.

That brutal assessment came six months after the Nobel Peace prize-winning body revealed that our planet is warming much faster than expected: temperatures may now breach the upper safe limit of warming within the next 30 years.

In the words of an old James Bond novel: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.”

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‘Searching for Sugar Man’ Director Malik Bendjelloul Dead at 36

Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul – the director of the Oscar-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man – has died the Associated Press reports He was 36 Rodriguez 10 Things You Don’t Know About the ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ Star Bendjelloul’s brother Johar said Malik had committed suicide Police would not comment on the cause of…

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‘Conan’ Extended Until 2018

TBS has a lock on The Cone Zone Comedy legend Conan O’Brien will continue to host his late-night show on the network through at least 2018 having signed a new contract that extends his deal another three years Variety reports Midnight Snacks 12 Late-Night Talk Shows That Didn’t Last This is O’Brien’s second extension…

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Passed Over: When the NFL Says No

Zach Kerr is not Jadeveon Clowney He’s not Khalil Mack or Johnny Manziel either But he could have been First and Unpronounceable The Most Amazing Names in NFL Draft History After all Kerr – a 326-pound behemoth who played nose tackle at the University of Delaware – was just as eligible for the 2014 NFL draft…

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10 Things We Learned on the Set of ‘Nashville’

It’s looking like the Season Two finale of Nashville will mirror the lyrics of a quintessential country song someone’s lyin’ someone’s breakin’ up and someone’s gettin’ stinkin’ drunk Rolling Stone was invited to the downtown Nashville set of the May 14 episode which we’re told will end in cliffhangers for…

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What Does Climate Change Mean For Europe’s Wine Industry?

An age-old cross-channel rivalry between the English and the French has heated up. This time, it’s in a battle to produce the world’s best sparkling wine. Only 88 miles, as the crow flies, separate the two competing regions but England’s more northerly climes have been too cool to grow the requisite grapes, until recently. With a little help from our greenhouse gas emissions, one southern England winery won the only international competition to judge Champagne against other sparkling wines. Yet, growers in Champagne are quick to claim that, overall, they too have benefited from the increased warmth –- thus far.

There is, of course, a cloud behind this silver lining, as Faun Kime reports. What climate change giveth in warming, it also taketh away, in many other ways. The difficulties of growing grapes are mounting in both regions and the French, unlike the English, have nothing short of their economy riding on the well being of their wine industry.

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These videos were co-produced by The Daily Climate and Public Radio International. Faun Kime is a California-based filmmaker and journalist currently working on series about how climate change is impacting the lives of the rich and famous. She’s also a broadcast radio reporter for PRI’s The World. In the past, Faun has story-produced for network reality television, directed and produced the full feature documentary, The Tomato Effect, and worked as a general assignment, broadcast television reporter.

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