World’s biggest watermelon found in Washington DC
No doubt, this is what James Delingpole would say but, yet again, he would be wrong… For those not quite with me on this, Delingpole has written two versions of a reality-deficient book, Watermelons, in which he massages the consciences of his fellow “libertarian conservatives”, as follows:
– Version 1: Watermelons: The Green Movement’s True Colors (2011)
– Version 2: Watermelons: How the Environmentalists are Killing the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing Your Children’s Future (2012).
Whereas the title of the first edition could be dismissed as playfully fanciful, the title of the second is a much more insidious inversion of reality. It is almost as if Delingpole knows what he is writing is rubbish and, in devising a title, he has sought to bend the truth as much as possible. Delingpole certainly likes to annoy his critics (e.g. 365 Ways to Drive a Liberal Crazy but, since I am no liberal, I just let that one pass me by). However, my rebuttal of both versions of Watermelons is essentially the same:
There is simply no evidence for your left-wing conspiracy to over-tax and over-regulate people (so as to make everyone poorer). Whereas, there is a great deal of evidence for a right-wing conspiracy to under-tax and under-regulate industry (so as to make a few people richer).
Therefore, I think it is both sad and significant that, while all remaining Republican candidates for the US Presidency continue to compete amongst themselves to see who can reject the most science and/or promise to repeal the most legislation, the Pentagon has acknowledged that anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) poses an existential threat to the stability and security of the United States of America; a threat that – since 2010 at least – they feel can no longer be ignored and/or denied.
However, why this post and why now? Well, it has been inspired by recent items on Peter Sinclair’s Climate Denial Crock of the Week:
1. US Military Forges Ahead with Climate Security. Deniers Still Looking for WMDs (2 April 2012); and
2. How to Talk to a Climate Ostrich: The Pentagon and Climate Change (24 April 2012).
In the first of these two posts, Peter points out that:
“A 2010 Defense Department review identified climate change and energy security as ‘prominent military vulnerabilities’, noting that climate change in particular is an ‘accelerant of instability and conflict’. It was the first time the Pentagon addressed climate in a comprehensive planning document.
“A subsequent assessment by the National Research Council found that even moderate climate shifts will impact Navy operations. Sea-level rise and more severe storm surges will hit coastal military bases, and marine forces could also face more work in responding to an increase in humanitarian crises following disasters. The opening of the Arctic as sea ice disappears will likely require more patrols in harsh conditions as nations and industry interests are expected to vie for control of new trade routes and energy resources.”
From the video embedded in the second of these posts, it becomes clear that the Defense Department review referred to is the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). For those unfamiliar with Latin, this means it is published every 4 years and in it, in 2010, the US Government (or at least a part of it) admitted to itself and to the World that climate change is real, it is happening, and it is a serious problem (as opposed to it being a hoax, not happening, and/or beneficial).
The QDR itself can be found on the website of the Defense Department, which includes links to factsheets and summaries. However, as Wikipedia notes, a Republican dominated Congress clearly did not like to see a part of the US Government making such inconvenient and disconcerting admissions and therefore set up an albeit “independent” Panel to review it. Although “bipartisan” in its make-up, it is very tempting to see this as an attempt to obfuscate the inconvenient truths the QDR had admitted, which are as follows:
“Climate change, energy security and economic stability are inextricably linked… climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity; increase the spread of disease; and spur or exacerbate mass migration…”
Dr Richard Alley’s fascinating video, part of his Earth: An operator’s Manual series (that Peter Sinclair is currently featuring), also includes extracts of an interview of the Rear Admiral David Titley, the US Navy’s Oceanographer, who was a major contributor to the QDR (and who has also spoken at the TED conference and many others). This video is less than 4 minutes in length and, as with all the others, well worth watching (IMHO):