U.S. military and climate skeptics

by Judith Curry

A must read article in the Guardian by Jules Boykoff entitled “U.S. Military Goes to War With Climate Skeptics.

The general topic of climate change and security was discussed previously on this Climate Etc. thread.  Boykoff’s thesis is that U.S. military is taking the climate change issue seriously, which is distinct from the current broader U.S. political response to the issue.  Some excerpts:

This isn’t a tree-hugging festival. It’s the US military and its partners making clear-eyed calculations based on the best available climate science.

So, why this quiet camaraderie between scientists and military higher-ups? The answer, most certainly, is uncertainty

Uncertainty is an inherent element of honest science. But in the political sphere, uncertainty has been harnessed as an alibi for denial and inaction. The military, however, operates under conditions of uncertainty all the time. Like scientists, they wade through the unknown to assess varying degrees of risk. As CNA Corporation put it, military leaders “don’t see the range of possibilities as justification for inaction. Risk is at the heart of their job.”

While Congress members like Fred Upton (Republican, Michigan) yowl about the EPA’s efforts to regulate carbon emissions as “an unconstitutional power grab” and attach the term “job-killing” to every piece of environmental legislation with a political pulse, national security officials have been offering dire warnings about the perils of climate disruption and its offshoots like food shortage, water depletion and massive migration.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has been holding shambolic hearings on climate change, should invite climate-minded national security gurus to testify. Perhaps they can lob some reality into the ideological fortress of denial before whipsaw climate volatility becomes our everyday reality.

JC comments:  The bolded comments (my bolding) are of course music to my own ears, given the uncertainty tune that I continue to sing.  However, I have looked at all the relevant U.S. military docs on climate change, and as far as i can recall, they do not mention mitigation and CO2 stabilization (implications of energy security, growing demand for energy, and possibilities for renewables in certain regions are discussed).  So  Boykoff’s argument for using the military’s judgment in paying attention to the risk of climate change as a rationale for stabilization policies is not a strong one, IMO.

The title is misleading also.  I don’t see skeptics at war with the military over considering this risk (I would like to hear from the skeptics on this one); rather I see some skeptics at war over the CO2 stabilization policies.

The reason I haven’t been posting much the last two weeks is that I am writing a proposal to the U.S. DoD on the topic of extreme weather events, climate variability and change, and their implications for regional security.  My treatment of uncertainty and emphasis on assessing predictability seems to be resonating with them, but wish me luck on this next proposal (due May 25, after which point I will have a little more free time!).

227 responses to “U.S. military and climate skeptics

  1. I don’t see skeptics at war with the military over considering this risk

    I don’t agree. I think the assessment of risk in the referenced documents is fairly sharply at odds with how most skeptics view it.

    Would you say that many skeptics agree with the assessment of the head of the National Intelligence Council?

    the impact on global economic growth begins to mount over time and even conservative estimates put the costs at up to 3 percent of global GDP annually if the Earth’s temperature were to rise 2-3 degrees C, which many scientists believe could begin to happen as early as mid-century?

    Are skeptics on board with the attribution of current climate-related events outlined in the Pentagon’s QDR?

    climate-related changes are already being observed in every region of the world, including the United States and its coastal waters. Among these physical changes are increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the oceans and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows.

    Defense Department documents don’t talk about national policy. It’s not in their mussion; in fact, it’s explicitly >excluded from their purview by the United States Constitution. I would be very surprised (and, frankly, dismayed) if any of these papers expressed a position about what US policy should be w/r/t “mitigation and CO2 stabilization.” So your remarking on the fact that they don’t is a little confusing.

    • The QDR also recommends alternative energy development for its own energy efficiency but with what it perceives as the additional benefit of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

      The Military has not done its own science, but is basing its assessments on the reports it gets from the scientific establishments, and so we can’t expect new scientific evidence to emerge. What intrigues me, however, is that they appear to have adopted the Trenberth view of a null hypothesis, in that they are stating that in the absence of clear evidence that climate change will not be a threat, we should assume it is and act accordingly rather than wait to see what develops. How much expenditure they intend with that in mind is something I didn’t come across, but would be interesting to ponder. In any case, I wonder whether Dr. Trenberth will cite the QDR in the article he writes for WIREs.

      • Fred, the QDR push for alternative energy development is to increase the availability of energy in regions where it is very difficult to obtain power and energy resources.

      • ” QDR push for alternative energy development is to increase the availability of energy in regions where it is very difficult to obtain power and energy resources”.

        Of course that’s true, in keeping with their mission. What I found interesting is that the QDR also states:
        ” The Department is increasing its use of renewable energy supplies and reducing energy demand to improve operational effectiveness, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in support of U.S. climate change initiatives, and protect the Department from energy price fluctuations.”

        The “greenhouse gas…U.S. climate change initiatives” portion of that statement might not have been necessary from a strictly military perspective, and so its inclusion was interesting.

      • Richard Alley also addresses some of this in Segment 7 and Segment 8.

      • David L. Hagen

        In April 2010, the Guardian also highlighted:
        US military warns oil output may dip causing massive shortages by 2015
        “• Shortfall could reach 10m barrels a day, report says
        • Cost of crude oil is predicted to top $100 a barrel
        Why did it only take 1 year instead of 5 to reach $100/bbl?!

        Compare DOD statements on climate and fuel. See Peak Oil: why the Pentagon is pessimistic

        In the Joint Operating Environment 2008 report [p. 17 ] and JOE2010 [pp. 28, 29 ], one can read:

        By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD.”

        10 million barrels per day is approximately the equivalent daily production of Saudi Arabia.

        If in 2015, in satisfying the world’s energy demand, there was really a gap equivalent to the Saudi production, the years to come would promise to be extremely delicate with effects spread throughout the world, affecting the economy, politics, and, therefore, the military forces.

        The 2010 Joint Operating Environment report warns:

        “A severe energy crunch is inevitable without a massive expansion of production and refining capacity. While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India.

        At best, it would lead to periods of harsh economic adjustment. To what extent conservation measures, investments in alternative energy production, and efforts to expand petroleum production from tar sands and shale would mitigate such a period of adjustment is difficult to predict. One should not forget that the Great Depression spawned a number of totalitarian regimes that sought economic prosperity for their nations by ruthless conquest.“

        The DOD’s focus on renewable fuel is not over climate as the existential question of being able to conduct its core mission – which requires large quantities of fuel.

        The DoD uses 360,000 barrels of oil each day. This amount makes the DoD the single largest oil consumer in the world.

        Our GDP varies with fuel availability.
        The greatest economic uncertainty is not over climate, but over how much oil is left and how fast we can transition to alternatives.

      • Rob Starkey

        I agree completely.

      • attribution of oil shortages to “peak oil” given the horrible no-growth policies of the current administration as well as the many backward global supply players is fruit of the same poisoned tree as climate mongering. It’s pathetic.

        There are 11 trillion in barrel equivalents proven (grossly under stated since so much supply is politically taken off the table) in North America. We haven’t considered the massive tech improvements that will discover even more fuels at a faster rate.

        High energy costs reflect political failures not shortages. Backward green extremism is just one key player.

    • Skeptics don’t deny that climate related changes are being observed; what is at issue is the attribution of the changes and whether or not they are dangerous. The U.S. military seems interested in climate variations/change on timescales from seasonal to scales out to about 30 years, a period over which natural climate variability could very well swamp anthropogenically forced climate change. Regardless of what the cause is, the climate is variable and has been changing. The U.S. DoD is specifically confronting the issue of regional vulnerabilities and security implications to extreme weather events and climate change, in terms of food, water and energy security, and the impacts of disruptions or longer term decreases in per capita availability.

      You are correct that DoD does not talk about national/global energy policy (they do discuss their own internal energy needs and policy). So inferring support for energy policy from the DoD interest in the above stated risks associated with climate variability and change requires a big leap of logic. DoD documents do talk about national policy in terms of nation building and humanitarian assistance.

      • inferring support for energy policy from the DoD interest in the above stated risks associated with climate variability and change requires a big leap of logic.

        Sure it does.

        Who makes that inference?

      • Boykoff. The way I read his article, that is whole point.

      • There is no leap of logic or incorrect inference, by Boykoff (or Fred, for that matter).

        “as far as i can recall, they do not mention mitigation and CO2 stabilization”

        It is being pointed out to you that the department’s planning and programming policy commits the department to leadership in substantial emissions reductions to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions in support of U.S. climate change initiatives” and “to foster efforts to assess, adapt to, and mitigate the impacts of climate change”.

        Are you just pretending ‘there is no mention of mitigation’, because you like to play pretend? Perhaps you prefer to think their emissions reductions are just an aspect of energy planning; but then it would be very hard to explain why they state that their emissions targets (which are substantial, given their emissions) are related to climate change initiatives and mitigation. Your statements are wrong, and your reasons for insisting on your preferred view are not shared by the military’s assessment, reasoning and knowledge of the sicence.

        Let’s be clear. A focus on resources to cope with crises and support for sustainable energy is consistent with both planning for immediate needs, and the energy independence and diversification goals of the current administration; but don’t pretend for one minute that the military is not discussing mitigation, when everyone can see that they are. And you seem to have never heard of CNAS or Michele Flournoy. Try google for all.

        Boykoff’s conclusion is actually the only line you didn’t choose to bold in that whole paragraph, which is “uncertainty has been harnessed as an alibi for denial and inaction”. It might fair to say that the military would not disagree.

        This is not the first time they have tried to advise government on climate change — but Bush wouldn’t listen.

        You evidently cannot separate yourself from the ideology of that era.

      • I see Martha point in Boykoff’s conclusion – the military doesn’t let scientific certainty get in the way of acceptance or action.

        It’s the world perception and the new ideology that’s driving this.

      • Dr. Curry. You are correct that regional and average weather changes over various time scales of interest, and that extreme events continue to occur. This is the only payoff from the climate change research program, unless you count not confirming AGW as a payoff. And now that we have confirmed that climate is not constant it makes sense to consider what to do about that.

      • Bad Andrew

        “Skeptics don’t deny that climate related changes are being observed”

        I do. Any actual observation would be weather changes. A climate observation would have to rely on second-hand and old information to draw a conclusion.

        This one of the many problems with climate science. Observation is used when ‘storytelling’ is more appropriate.


      • Any thoughtful observer can see that climate science is quite a step down from repeatable, observable, experimental science. It’s a politically-driven science wannabe. Dr. Curry should be working on making it better, rather posting stories second-hand from English tabloids.


      • Andrew, are you claiming that average weather does not change over time? That climate (30 year averages, say) is constant? If so then I do not agree.

      • David,

        Not at all. Weather changes frequently. That is easily observable.

        But, can you give me an example of an observation of when the “climate changed” for a given location, and what the observable difference was before and after the change?


      • I can give you one of thousands of 100 year temperature observations, most of which have changed over this period, as far as 30-year averages go. Will that do? But I feel like I do not understand your point, as you know these exist. Are you perhaps asking for observable impacts, as opposed to observable climate?

      • David,

        You say that you can give me temperature changes. Great. Temperature is not climate.

        I asked for climate:

        1. The meteorological conditions, including temperature, precipitation, and wind, that characteristically prevail in a particular region.

        Just give me one example of a location where the climate is reported to have changed and what the climate was before the change and what it was after the change.


      • Temperature is indeed climate ,Andrew. More precisely, it is the most commonly referred to parameter in climate. Humidity is probably second. Phoenix is hot and dry. New York is temperate. Fairbanks is very cold in winter, but not as cold as it used to be and that is climate change. There was a step change warming around 1978. These are climates and climate changes. These are words in common use so they have meaning.

        If you have a point perhaps you should try to make it. I am not interested in guessing your meaning.

      • The very localised changes to hydrology in north eastern Australia seen in stream morphology changes. A change from braided to meandering forms after the mid 1970’s. The average streamflow decreased by 65%. It is related to changes in the Pacific – so changes in global temperature and hydrology from the ‘Great Pacific Climate Shift’.

      • climate change is a phrase that is subjective. To say the climate is changing or not changing doesn’t mean much. There are many such words associated with the Greens that are also meaningless like ‘sustainability’.

      • Teddy,

        Yes, when a field of science is based on something lacking in meaning, I’d say that field of science is lacking in relevance.


      • Fortunately there is no such field of science, Andrew. Scientists are not stupid. Climate scientists are studying very specific things, all of which are real. Look at the journals reporting the results. If you don’t think this stuff is important or relevant then you are simply wasting our time, because our goal here is to discuss it in depth.

      • I think the jury’s still out on the social sciences. Need I refer you to Feynman’s rant about the psychologists and the rats and mazes?

      • Bad Andrew

        My goal is to find out what the truth is. And I’m not stopping you from studying anything you want.

        And I didn’t say the *Climate Scientists* were stupid. lol


      • I disagree, although there is always a big difference between the precision of ordinary language and the precision of scientific language. In the context of the climate debate there is a big difference between climate changing and not changing. Think of mile thick glaciers in New York State. That is a BIG difference from today, right?

      • Precisely. :)

        Seriously, that’s a bigger issue than most people appreciate. Until everyone understands that we’re not all talking about the same thing, we’re going to keep running around in circles.

        One of the big reasons why Asian countries are late to the technology game is the imprecision of their languages. The Japanese language is notoriously imprecise, and had to borrow thousands of terms of art from English before they were able to communicate science and technology properly.

        The story of how the Israelis resurrected a language that was dead except for religious purposes and made a scientifically useful language out of it is even more interesting .

      • Bad Andrew


        It seems to me you are the one being imprecise, equating ‘temperature’ with ‘climate’, and appealing to glaciers in New York which have not been observed.


      • We are pretty sure the glaciers were there. They carved out the Great Lakes, or so we think. (There is a lot more to science than observation.) Nor did I equate temperature with climate, in fact I went to some length to state how they are related. What I can’t figure out is what your point is, because you have not stated it.

      • “Skeptics don’t deny that climate related changes are being observed”

        That’s not an accurate statement, Dr. Curry, unless you are working with a new definition of “skeptic” which differs from the common use.

        “Skeptics” do not have a single consistent worldview, and while some have beat a tactical retreat from “It’s not happening — scientists made it up” to “It’s not going to be a problem — scientists are exaggerating the dangers” many “skeptics” have been “left behind” and continue to deny that the world is warming or that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. References available upon request.

      • Robert see my reply to Joshua. Everyone agrees that climate changes; the argument is about what causes it and whether or not humans play any or a significant role in recent changes.

      • Judith Curry

        Everyone agrees that climate changes; the argument is about what causes it and whether or not humans play any or a significant role in recent changes.

        You have said essentially the same thing elsewhere, and I agree 100%.

        Unfortunately climate science got sidetracked from finding answers to these questions by the IPCC, a political rather than scientific body.

        As can be seen from its charter, it was not IPCC’s brief to find out what causes climate to change, but rather to establish the risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation

        The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

        A finding of no significant human-induced climate change with dangerous potential impacts requiring options for adaptation and mitigationwould have meant no reason for IPCC to stay alive.

        In order to secure its very survival, IPCC was essentially forced to concentrate on the human-induced aspects, essentially ignoring or playing down the natural ones.

        This myopic fixation on anthropogenic factors became its fatal flaw, leading not only to a warped and incomplete understanding of what drives our climate but also to the politicization and corruption of the IPCC process and, unfortunately, of a good part of climate science itself.

        You have pointed out the importance of rational skepticism in science, yet precisely this key aspect of the scientific method was crushed by the IPCC process, political representatives and a handful of influential „mainstream“ climate scientists.

        A related aspect of the scientific method, which you have mentioned on another thread, is the need to admit and correct mistakes; this aspect was also squelched by the IPCC process in its all-out efforts to protect the mainstream belief or dogma.

        As a result of the corrupt IPCC process, data which did not support its agenda were ignored while data supporting the party line were eagerly embraced and incorporated. The AR4 report is full of exaggerations, distortions and even outright fabrications, as has been well documented. As might be expected with a corrupt political process, these all go in the direction of making human-induced climate change [and] its potential impacts sound more alarming.

        So back to your statement and the current dilemma.

        It has been well established that „climate changes“, and even that it has warmed slightly over the past 160 years (in fits and starts).

        What has not been scientifically established is what “causes“ these changes and ”whether or not humans play any or a significant role in recent changes”.

        I do not believe that the IPCC, with its current structure and brief, can be salvaged. It has become a political millstone around the neck of climate science, which, IMO can only be rehabilitated if IPCC is abandoned first.

        Some influential “insider” scientists turned activists may also need to be removed from their largely taxpayer-funded positions, to be replaced by more objective scientists.

        Climate science can then start addressing the many open questions regarding causes of climate changes and possible human impact in order to find answers to the questions you have raised.


      • Robert, you are correct that there are many kinds of skeptics, specifically as many as there are steps in the AGW argument, which is a lot. But regarding the reality of warming you may be confusing the unscientific skeptic with the scientific skeptic. Polls indicate that a lot of people who know little of the science say global warming is not happening. They mean AGW is false, not that it is not warming. To them (correctly) GW is a political position, which they reject. It is important to understand how the debate language translates as it progresses into less scientific circles, as it has to since it is primarily a political movement.

        I don’t know of any scientific skeptic who claims to know that it is not warming. Skepticism in general does not make strong scientific claims, as it is more about what we do not know (hence the name skepticism). I myself claim that we do not know that it has warmed, except for the slight warming shown in the satellite record, during the 19980-2001 ENSO cycle. Nor do I think I am being left behind. I think I am out in front.

  2. “Uncertainty is an inherent element of honest science…” Yes, but as we’ve seen, not for dishonest science.

    ” … The military, however, operates under conditions of uncertainty all the time.” There’s not much uncertainty for the military to know if they’re actually in a war. Not so for CAGW.

    • David L. Hagen

      Obama does not appear to know whether Libya is NOT a War , (which would require Congressional Action) OR a Military Action or Mission, in which he does need such approval! How is the military to know what the commander can’t make up his mind on?

      Now what was that about no uncertainty in CAGW?
      Happer notes substantial disagreement.
      Spencer shows evidence that the indirect impact of solar on cosmic rays on clouds:

      the cosmic ray (indirect) forcing is about 2.8 times that of the solar irradiance (direct) forcing. This means the total (direct + indirect) solar forcing on climate associated with the solar cycle could be 3.8 times that most mainstream climate scientists believe.

      The “Catastrophic” part may be a bit overstated!

  3. I find the following in the Guardian article.

    “Climate cranks – many of them the same people perpetually hectoring us about the perils of national security – are choosing to ignore the seriousness of climate change even when the national-security experts they champion are telling us to do just that. Talk about cherry-picking data.”

    First, I am not a climate crank; I am a CAGW denier/skeptic. I am not choosing to ignore anything. I have looked at all the science, and I am convinced that CAGW is a hoax. I dont think there can be any dialogue with this sort of difference of opinion of what the current science tells us.

    Let me draw people’s attention to the latest post from Roy Spencer (www.drroyspencer.com), where he finds actual climate data to support Henrik Svensmark’s theory on GCRs and clouds. With a new report just released, and a report on the CLOUD experiment from CERN supposedly coming out in 2 to 3 months, the evidence supporting Svensmark is becoming very impressive. How places like the Royal Society and the American Physical Society can continue to support the IPCC position that there are no extraterrrestrial forcings other than a slight change in the solar constant, is quite beyond me.

    • The biggest changes in CERES are related to ENSO. The correction applied by Spencer uses Klaus Wolter’s experimental multivariate ENSO index with a 4 month lag and finds a very small residual that might be applied to clouds and cosmic rays.

      These simple regression models are not valid for complex systems – such as ENSO or indeed climate as a whole. I think that the lack of appropraite methodologies has seen science fall back on the inappropriate in an effort to have something to say at all.

  4. Obvious question: where’s this coming from; the bowels of the apparatus, or the top? My guess is both.

    Let’s not forget however that this is the same DoD that allowed 13 of its people to be murdered rather than violate the canons of political correctness. Their priorities aren’t always what you might think they are.

    • As far as I can tell, it is coming from the top, as well as from the Combat Commands who are on the ground dealing with the latest weather catastrophe or food crisis.

      • Which implies that these things are predictable and controllable. Or at least predictable.

        I see the philosophy of management science at work (remember that management science is an outgrowth of military science). Put that together with some TQC theory, and you end up with a powerful incentive to believe that with enough science, all things are knowable. Once all things are knowable, war becomes a chess game where you can know the ending.

        Remember, the biggest unknown at Normandy was the weather, which wasn’t kind to the allies. If only Ike had a better weather crystal ball.

    • An article from the Guardian. “Shambolic” — I’ve seen enough. Strike one.
      The military takes orders from the top. If the top wants a green agenda, so does the military. Strike two.
      The military does not do its own climate science. Yet somehow the military make some alleged climate related study and suddenly some see the military as taking sides against the skeptics. Strike three.

  5. For skeptics it’s very apropos. Reminiscent of the novel Catch 22.

    From the Catch 22 entry in Wikipedia:
    In Chapter 39 an old woman relates that soldiers had claimed that the actual text of Catch-22 did not have to be revealed when carrying out orders related to it, meaning that “they have a right to do anything we can’t stop them from doing.” This exchange convinces Yossarian that Catch-22 does not even exist, but because the powers that be claim it does, and the world believes it does, it nevertheless has potent effects. Indeed, because it does not exist there is no way it can be repealed, undone, overthrown, or denounced.

  6. It is rather ironic that on this issue “The Right” is at odds with an institution which it generally supports, while “The Left” which vilifies the military at every opportunity and consider them to be not credible is using them to tout their cause celeb.

  7. The Navy wants all their ships to be nuclear powered. And they need lots of electricity for the coming rail guns. Phasing out oil fueled ships would benefit the pro-nuke officers.

    Even though the following report suggests nukes are too expensive, using “green logic” to make a pro-nuke case will be the backup plan.


    Me, I’m all for hundreds of nuclear powered vessels.

    • The US navy has their own oil field in the US exclusive to them.


      • Every hear of NPRA?
        Naval Petroleum Reserve Alaska
        Set up in the battleship era long before any oil fields were discovered up there.
        Long before the first nuclear ship.
        What does it prove? Nothing.
        What might it argue? Preparing to fight the previous war.

    • Bruce –
      I’m ex- military, as every male in my family has been for the last 100+ years. (Just so the next bit isn’t taken out of context)

      An all-nuke Navy is gonna make one hell of a mess to clean up when some of those ships get damaged/sunk. You think the Japanese reactors are a problem? Try that kind of cleanup at 100 fathoms or more.

      I understand the reasoning, but I also understand some of the problems and some of the weaknesses of the military in terms of future planning. Some of y’all don’t remember the US fighting WWII all over again in Vietnam. Or the wonderful new super weapons that had unintended consequences. But I do cause I got to (had to) test some of them.

      • That kind of a mess isn’t possible 100 fathoms down (though other more benign kinds of messes are). The whole problem at Fukushima was lack of cooling water. That’s not a problem at the bottom of the ocean.

      • ChE –
        At one time we lost a spacecraft with an RTG on board. It took over 20 months, invention of specialized techniques (dolphin training) and about $10 Mil to recover that puppy. There have been other, mostly classified, incidents wrt recovery of nuclear power plants and/or weapons. Until now at least, if it’s nuclear, it has had to be recovered as a matter of policy.

        Now think about a nuclear Navy – and the possibility of a WWII type engagement that ends with multiple ships sunk over a relatively small area. Or worse over a large area. Or really worse, in a US harbor. Let’s just say that recovery would be “interesting.”

        One of the relatively newer requirements laid on project engineering in general is planning for disposal of whatever product is being built, whether spacecraft or naval vessels. But that planning hits a snag when your ship (or your spacecraft) is sunk in deep water. Yes – the Landsat 6 spacecraft sank somewhere in the vicinity of Diego Garcia along with the booster it was still attached to. Fortunately, no nukes, so nobody cared about recovery. :-)

      • The essence of green tech is squandering billions to build bird murdering turbines that only generate millions worth of electricity some of the time.

        Therefore an all nuclear navy is PERFECTLY GREEN. It is wasteful and hypocritically dangerous to the environment and throws away money that could have been spent on more conventional weapons.

        How could you not love it?

      • Yup – business as usual.

      • That’s a self-inflicted problem, isn’t it?

        To be clear, Fukushima started spitting radioactive nasties because and only because of loss of cooling water. If you can keep the rods in contact with water, natural convection will assure that nothing gets hot enough to do what happened in Fukushima.

        what I don’t know is if, say a nuke carrier were hit and sunk, if they have a failsafe system to open the core to the seawater. If the reactor were shut in and sunk, you could have serious issues.

      • Jeff Norris

        I could be wrong but one of the many fail safes is that if the reactor is scrammed the core automatically fills with water. I believe that pumps are used to keep the water level pumped down, so cut the power and the water rushes in.

      • ChE –
        That’s a self-inflicted problem, isn’t it?

        What? The spacecraft? Hmmm – not a good idea to go there. At least not publicly. Let’s just say that that “problem” avoided a future PROBLEM.

        Fukushima started spitting radioactive nasties because and only because of loss of cooling water.

        Sorta. But also because the cores weren’t automatically shut down hard immediately when they went on battery. Gimme those old time safety systems and I’ll show you a problem every time. NOBODY did contingency planning back then like we learned to in later years. Well, almost nobody.

        If you can keep the rods in contact with flowing water, natural convection will assure that nothing gets hot enough to do what happened in Fukushima.

        There – fixed that for you. But also every reactor core has an emergency shut down system – if it works. Some of those can also make other (future) problems though.

        If the reactor were shut in and sunk, you could have serious issues.

        So many scenarios there. The easy one is if they shut the core down hard and the containment isn’t breached. Recovery can then wait as long as necessary.

        One of the many hard ones is if the core isn’t shut down. Then you’ve got something as bad or worse than Fukushima – underwater.

        Another is if the core is damaged (even if shut down) and containment is breached and allowing seawater to circulate. Can you say radiation leakage that “could” make the whole ship “hot”?

        Lots of those kind of scenarios that we REALLY don’t want to have to deal with. But probably will have to someday.

  8. Uncertainty goes both ways – climate change could make things worse or better. Climate change may happen or it may not. The military doesn’t need to be ready for a better or unchanged climate, only a worse one.

    A military buildup into a benign climate is far less bad (“We were ready.”) than failure to build up into a difficult changed climate.

    A bias for action.

    • Actually they also want to know regions where climate change will improve things (e.g. increase agricultural viability), this will impact regional stability dynamics also

      • That may be but that sort of good news is not mentioned in the Quadrennial Defence Review Report section headed Crafting a Strategic Approach to Climate and Energy beginning on page 84.

        Daniel Yergin’s “The Prize” documents the controversy surrounding Britain’s decision to convert its navy from coal to oil — another example of decision making in the face of uncertainty.

      • Back to your “winners and losers”.


    • And don’t forget the claims that the North Pole will be ice free by 2013.

    • Uncertainty goes both ways?


      Uncertainty covers claims in both directions.

      An uncertain detriment is more costly than a certain one, in that if you have the same number of risks over a period of time and the foresight to prepare for them, but the first group of risks has small or no uncertainty and the second a large degree of uncertainty, the preparation costs for the second group are largely wasted and frequently inadequate, while for the first will generally be efficiently allocated.

      Likewise, uncertain benefits are also less efficient. Two groups of benefits, the second the ‘uncertain’ group, will lead to more frequent shortfalls and higher costs, while excess will more often go to waste. Although uncertain benefits generally are better than uncertain detriments, obviously, uncertainty is worse than relative certainty, and in international dynamics, the sudden windfall of a neighbor can by envy or starvation stir ancient or imagined animosity to conquest.

      The undiscovered land is where a stranger dies of what never befalls a local.

      We’re in a span of CO2 not seen in probably ten million years or more, and must discover what that means.

      In undiscovered realms already of technology and population , land use and habitat change, this CO2 needlessly compounds our uncertainties.

      • Bart R

        I can see that you are basically a pessimist.


      • manacker

        We don’t have to pretend lollipops and sunshine where there is no certainty of either.

        We most especially do not have to believe those who promise lollipops and sunshine where there is so much uncertainty.

        Pied pipers of that ilk are called something far worse than pessimists.

        Uncertainty is more like a diode than a teeter-totter; in some ways, uncertainty is not symmetrical. It is not symmetrical with regard to benefits.

        Absolutely we might see many good things in the future.

        Uncertainty does not add to our enjoyment of any of them.

        We will be likelier to find efficiencies in the utility to be obtained of future climate where the climate is less uncertain.

  9. John Crane

    Risk assessment demands accurate, unbiased information. Does the DoD have that?
    Secondly, said accurate, unbiased information must absolutely include the reduction in funding for all other programs (including the DoD) ensuing from the cost of mitigation.

  10. From Wikipedia: ” Jeep is an automobile marque of Chrysler. It is the oldest off-road vehicle (also sport utility vehicle—SUV) brand. It inspired a number of other military light utility vehicles, such as the Land Rover which is the second oldest 4-wheel-drive brand. The original Jeep vehicle that first appeared as the prototype Bantam BRC became the primary light 4-wheel-drive vehicle of the United States Army and Allies during World War II, as well as the postwar period. Many Jeep variants serving similar military and civilian roles [my bolding] have since been created in other nations.”

    The Jules Boykoff opinion piece is too slanted to qualify as journalism, but there may be some validity to its suggestion that the military are subtly engaged in circumventing political obstacles to carbon mitigation through their own efforts to develop cost/effective alternative energy resources.

    Richard Alley (see links above at Comment 69566, particularly Segment 8) expands on this by quoting military sources emphasizing the past history of the military in developing technological improvements that expanded to the civilian sector. As the spokesman points out, this is an example of a cultural change that started in the military sector and spread to become part of civilian culture (racial desegregation under President Harry Truman may qualify as another example).

    Carbon taxes and cap-and-trade are off the political table in the U.S. – at least during the current recession – but without viable alternative energy technology, their potential to effect significant mitigation was limited anyway. With alternative energy technological development subsidized by the military, a political mitigation strategy may become less dependent on an approach that requires unpopular legislation or regulation for the civilian sector to transition from fossil fuels to alternatives over coming decades.

  11. Paul Vaughan

    I advise military evaluators to RIGOROUSLY assess the assumptions of statistical models (not to be confused with physical processes) upon which climate scientists, solar scientists, etc. base estimates of uncertainty. Some of the world’s so called “top experts in their fields” are pitifully hopeless in their ability to see &/or acknowledge untenable statistical model assumptions.

    Paul Vaughan, M.Sc.
    Former Stats Instructor

    • Paul Vaughan

      I want to clarify that I’m not talking about statistical models of physical processes, but rather the statistical models upon which statistical inference (p-values, confidence intervals) is founded.

      • Joe Lalonde

        I find the most common mistake when using statistical models is they then project the trend forward.

        What is not used is projecting the trend backwards to see if the model holds up to what we know of the past.

      • Funny

        I’m finding in most cases inappropriate attempts to project trends at all given what is known of the dataset.

        +/-AGW trends on temperature anomaly records appear, by and large, illusory below 30 year averages, due the chaos in the system.

        We have so few independent 30 year periods as to limit us to very speculative statistics (especially given that there are multiple known types of signals in the data and large error bars) in the case of the sorts of trends most people wish they could see.

        A conservative statistician would consider of the following two plots, as an example of the constraints on our data:


        The first plot is somewhat too ambitious, at just under 18 years per datapoint; the second plot, 30 years per datapoint for trend-line analysis, is acceptable, but due the way the toolset works, cuts off more recent data. (Perhaps there’s a way a more skillful user could include the later data in favor of dropping the earlier, but who has time to master every webtool?)

        That’s what we have for +/-AGW Anomaly trendology: four to seven data points.

        Any trend analysis for +/-AGW anomaly more granular than this does not rise to much of a confidence level, and ought be deprecated.

      • Joe Lalonde


        As you have found temperature sets are unreliable.
        Temperatures cannot predict any weather events or changes so another type of proxy has to be used that does not include temperatures to understand this planets changes.
        I have been using salt deposits to understand the physical planetary changes. These can be carbon dated and the oldest known deposit is a billion years.
        These can give an understanding of landmass heights and how much water has been lost over the years. Calculation landmass rise is minimal as current science is incorrect in how much land rise there is as if you use their data, then at a billion year, the land was a million meters lower. ???? Now does that make sense?

      • Joe Lalonde

        I find the temperature sets reliable enough for the purpose they were originally designed to fulfill.

        It’s the statistical processing people like Girma pretend mean anything, or the somewhat better but still exaggerated (in tone of assurance) IPCC conclusions mentioning only temperature anomaly, I’m finding laughable.

        Combined with fifty or more other non-temperature indicators — some better, some no better — the IPCC +/- AGW position is likelier than not, though still not very well specified.

        To me, I’m satisfied with the idea that we’re at very high CO2 levels, and ACO2E at current levels is an unwarranted risk, most especially given my anti-subsidy, pro-Capitalist poleconomic philosophy.

        As for your salt deposits, really, nothing I’m interested in at all, so can’t help you with that question.

      • Joe Lalonde


        Salt has a great deal to do with many factors on this planet from density changes to the inhibiting of radiation into the oceans.
        The density helped to prevent the water from flying off this planet when it was rotating faster. Considering the concentration changes are currently greater on the ocean surface.
        So, salt does have a significant role.

  12. I’m not seeing mention that this military effort is, no doubt, for planning purposes. That is one of their jobs. To plan for possible scenarios, some probable, some not so. I’m sure there are plans for how the U.S. Military might invade Canada. Just because there is such a plan does not mean anyone has ever had an interest in doing so. Certainly the likelihood of Canadians needing help from US military troops these days is very low!

    It is right and proper that the U.S. military, especially with it modern humanitarian support role, should make plans based upon theoretical climate changes. Have performed the planning, they will know what is needed to be prepared should their participation be needed. Planning is cheap, even for unlikely scenarios. Action would not be initiated without formal commands issued, with the approval of the federal legislature.

    • Gary – If you view the Richard Alley videos (see my several comments above), it appears that they are investing considerable money and effort into protection against potential adverse climate change impacts, and that this has become a priority item in the QDR for the first time. You are right that it is contingency planning, but the military is taking the contingency quite seriously.

      • Fred, you seem to be reading a lot into these reports. The issue is not whether the military is studying the use of LED light bulbs or experimenting with solar and wind generators, or even working on reducing their fuel costs. It is what they are planning in case of political unrest and/or humanitarian support mission requests that is the big issue. Climate impacts on regional levels are very important for that planning. Talking to climate scientists seems like a good first step to see what information is available and how it might be used.

        I am pretty sure that the U.S. Navy is not planning to move their bases up hill very soon, though they might look at what might be necessary if they ever needed to. Of course, they would also think about what might be needed to move them down hill.

      • Gary – I would largely agree, although the Richard Alley interviews with Navy sources indicate that they are concerned with sea level rise as a threat to a number of their coastal naval bases.

      • Since sea level rise is variable, some locations getting more than the global average and getting less, it’s entirely possible both have to be considered.

  13. Mike Keller

    The military is being directed by civilian authorities to go along with the wishes of the Obama “green” mafia. As an American, I deeply resent military preparedness being threatened by a bunch of political inspired crap. Our limited resources need to be spent on providing our forces with the best means to defend our country. That does not include wasting valuable resources on the “green” agenda.

    To be blunt, “climate change” is not the mission of the US military. The mission is to protect the country from our enemies. Period.

    • So far, most wars have been fought on a place that has a climate.

      When my father’s regiment captured Mt. Suribachi, they were accompanied by a contingent of scientists from what we now call NOAA. They erected a scientific device right next the American flag you see being raised in Joe Rosenthal’s iconic photograph of the 2nd flag raising on Iwo Jima. They did this while there was still shooting around Suribachi. Pretty gutsy scientists. The military has a long history of cooperation with scientists.

    • I haven’t read the comments yet, so this might be late. I’m acquainted with some of the people in the responsible area of one service branch. They include high ranking scientists that strongly concur in GW/AGW and some who strongly don’t. But the relevant point, as Judith implied, is that the military is not advocating one way or the other. But they have to accept its possibility with maybe extraordinary impacts and be prepared (plan) for a military response. Not too unlike (though probably more comprehensive) the invasion plans for Guinea — or any other place on the face of the earth. They also have to account for how possible GW effects might affect their operation. The Guardian is confusing military preparedness with advocacy, which the US military does not do..

      • Actually, what Gary W said…

      • RobB agrees with Rod B. I was a military planner until recently and an environmental factor such as climate is merely one planning consideration amongst many. Some people are reading far too much into this.

  14. It has all already happened and there’s no indication it’ll be any different this time around. Wasting of money in pointless security analyses is almost the rule. And if they want to know about regional climate change they’ll be better off using the nearest RAND() function.

  15. Pooh, Dixie

    Jules Boykoff writes:

    “clear-eyed calculations based on the best available climate science.”
    “climate disruption and its offshoots like food shortage, water depletion and massive migration.”
    “climate-minded national security gurus to testify.”

    In my opinion, Mr. Boykoff is in over his head.
    1) Professional military study history. They would be familiar with such “offshoots” as historic characteristics of major shifts to cold, and perhaps predicted shifts to warm. The offshoots can occur in shifts to hot or cold. Mr. Boykoff appears unfamiliar with the rains that brought crop failures in France, followed by revolution. That was concurrent with a major shift to cold, but a repeat is not part of CAGW doctrine.
    2) The primary focus of military intelligence is what can happen, not what will happen (Midway and Ultra excepted). Focus is on the adversary’s capabilities, not his plan. If climate change is a threat, then also consider the Nordic invasions, the French Revolution, the marches on Moscow (both) and the Battle of the Bulge.
    3) Mr. Boykoff also exhibits a bias toward CAGW as the threat, using phrases such as “best available climate science” and “climate-minded national security gurus”.

    Dr Curry’s DOD Proposal re: “extreme weather events, climate variability and change, and their implications for regional security” might well address consequences of shifts to either hot or cold.

    If the research on long-period climate oscillations pans out, we may be due for cold. One mechanism might be Svensmark’s (talk about long-range weather forecasting!).

  16. Ok, who are the lose cannons in the DOD?

    CNA Corporation and two special assistants.
    If these infiltrators are changing our defence strategy, blaming it on “Climate Change” (there has been no real change to any climate), eject!

  17. steven mosher

    Look, in DoD style planning one is not trying to select likely cases.
    We would typically look at a wide variety of scarenarios and then
    plan for the worst. So, lets plan for a one front war at fulda gap.
    NOOO, its way scarier for a two front war, lets plan for korea and east germany at the same time.

    This scarenario drives the force structure. It drove the design of weapons
    down to the last millimeter. Of course, it never materialized. who knew we would need robots to search roads for IEDs. The reasonableness of the scenario had little to do with whether it was used or not. DID IT DRIVE THE FORCE STRUCTURE AND DRIVE THE MISSIONS.

    Same with climate change. You sit in a room. you play what if games.
    If a path in these games is a driver, then its important.
    Another way to look at it is that it is “worse” case planning.

    Dragon Kings, are not allowed in these planning sessions. Cause you cant defeat them.

    • steven mosher

      I think your point is also confirmed by the fact that the DoD still has an open contingency plan for an invasion by aliens.


      • steven mosher

        I’ve been to the desert on a horse with no name. hehe.

      • That’s the second best nonsense lyric ever….next to

        “MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark, all the sweet green icing flowing down…”

        which, if you think about it, is probably attributable to global warming….

      • ha I was refering to a place in the desert. But I love that line as well

  18. Is the following statement valid?

    Almost all organizations that depend on government funding for their survival support man made global warming.

    • It is largely true and the heart of the political AGW problem. Dangerous AGW has been official US Federal policy since 1992, when we joined the UNFCCC. Every Executive Branch Department and Agency endorses it, most do so strongly, and they proceed accordingly, including DOD. AGW is everywhere in the Federal Web complex (go see) and deeply entrenched in day-to-day policy. The result is if you compete for Federal funding (as I do) you keep your skepticism to yourself.

      Things may change a little with a skeptical House, but it would take at least a decade of concerted policy effort to actually eliminate the AGW bias in the Federal system. First we would have to get a skeptical President, one who made this a priority. In the meantime the fact that DOD or any other Federal agency takes dangerous AGW seriously should come as no surprise, and is of no importance to the debate.

  19. Do you think the US military would be interested in research of climate implications of military activity?
    * aircraft and contrails and warming
    * explosive detonations on CO2, aerosols, clouds, etc

    On the other hand, they could work on cloud seeding to cause cooling…..

  20. The military is a large organization that will have views on climate change reflective of society in general. The one view that will be reflective of the specialized mission of the military and would garner support regardless of individual views on climate change is the view that it would be an advantage to not have to rely on defending long supply lines in order to maintain operational effectiveness. I hope they have great success with their testing and that it leads to technological improvements that will benefit society as a whole. I do know they won’t be powering their Abrams tanks with solar panels if it means they can only go 3 mph and then only on sunny days since that would limit their ability to perform their mission. The mission of industry is to be cost effective. If it isn’t cost effective in the US then the industry will move to other nations where it is cost effective. Perhaps those who are so excited about the military planning for climate change scenarios missed the part where they stated the loss of an industrial base as a major concern to future military preparedness. If renewable energy isn’t cost effective it also isn’t strategically viable.

    • The one view that will be reflective of the specialized mission of the military and would garner support regardless of individual views on climate change is the view that it would be an advantage to not have to rely on defending long supply lines in order to maintain operational effectiveness… I do know they won’t be powering their Abrams tanks with solar panels if it means they can only go 3 mph and then only on sunny days since that would limit their ability to perform their mission.

      Excellent thought that I’ll expand on slightly. They may just power their vehicles with alternative sources if that can be done without significant detriment to operational capability. The reason would not ideological, but (as you touched on) logistical. Removing the need to transport, store and distribute fuel would be a military revolution on the order of the repeating rifle.

  21. I spent most of the 1980s working with DOD, or as I affectionately call it, the wacky world of weapons. I like big issues and the arms race was the biggest game in town, until we won the cold war and it all went away.

    Several commentors above have mentioned contingency planning. There is also a genre called vulnerability assessment, which does not necessarily involve planning. Here worst case scenarios, including the outlandish, are the rule. CAGW is a perfect fit for this kind of analysis. I have no doubt that the Navy has done extensive vulnerability assessment for various sea level rise scenarios. The State Dept is funding what amount to climate change vulnerability assessments in developing countries around the world. These may well have military implications. This stuff is everywhere one looks. It is a great game and a lot of people are playing it.

    But I do not see anyone actually doing much of anything based on these studies. Studies are not action. The basic point is that studies that assume AGW are largely irrelevant to the debate over AGW. In the meantime, dangerous AGW remains official US policy. That is the real problem. The policy is ahead of the science.

    • Joe Lalonde


      That brings up another problem then of suppression of any science that does not fall into the AGW funding formula. These independents are out on their own researching strictly for knowledge and the thrill of discovery.

      I see a great many mistakes in current science as it is based on gases in a box and not on a circular planet with varying degrees of interaction with different sources. The mindset in all science is that it is settled to the current theories. Technological changes are NOT reviewed or included as now traditional teaching and carriers are established.

    • John Carpenter

      The military plans to defend against any and all percieved national threats, so naturally “climate change” when viewed as a threat would need to be evaluated in all its permutations to national security. Please remember the US Military is the single largest funded branch of government… and they are always looking for more ways to recieve funding. The threat of dangerous climate change fits perfectly into this scenario and becomes a buzz word for them to include in their overall defense narrative. It plays into the theme of a ‘national climate initiative’ like a hand in a glove with all the candy that comes along with ‘studying’ the problem.

      “But I do not see anyone actually doing much of anything based on these studies. Studies are not action.”

      The military is notorious for this type of activity, especially among the retired military personel who become ‘consultants’ for the military. They know how the system works, who to lobby in congress and how to funnel the money. I’ve seen this firsthand with the DoD and their missions to reduce/eliminate the use of hazardous materials on weapons platforms. In the little corner of surface engineering technologies I work in, I am aware of tens of millions of dollars spent funding companies trying to replace one type of coating in particular. Many of the processes developed are not even close to being able to replace the coating, yet they continue to recieve follow-on DoD grants seemingly never ending. Nobody wants to give up programs that keep money flowing in.. and so they continue funding even when it is obvious there will be no solution to the problem. There are scores of companies whose income is solely from DoD sponsored SBIR and ESPTC grants. They produce nothing but studies and reports and very rarely a solution to a problem.

      Please consider this also becomes another potential lucrative funding source for the DoD.

      • Joe Lalonde


        The rude awakening is when the government will have no choice but to cut funding hugely or face bankruptcy and/or possibly a war due to the debt that cannot be paid back to the lending countries.

    • We now have ‘policy based evidence’. This is the ridiculous situation we have arrived at!

  22. I wonder if they will consider the risks (political/economic that drive many wars) that the present CAGW derived policies may cause…

    Ie what happems when China/Indi/Africaa refuse to stop increasing emmission – ie they pursue economic growth and their citizens demands for improved (western) living standards. China and India show all intentions of burning as much coal as they can for electricity generation.

    Will their be economic carbon sanctions be backed up by force in the future?, etc,etc.

    Meanwhile another Physics Professor (princetown , cf Prof Jonathon James – Oxford) ) has something to say about CO2


    via Bishop Hill (and Watts Up)

    Princeton physicist Will Happer wonders what the optimum level of carbon dioxide is:

    “We conclude that atmospheric CO2 levels should be above 150 ppm to avoid harming green plants and below about 5000 ppm to avoid harming people. That is a very wide range, and our atmosphere is much closer to the lower end than to the upper end. The current rate of burning fossil fuels adds about 2 ppm per year to the atmosphere, so that getting from the current level to 1000 ppm would take about 300 years—and 1000 ppm is still less than what most plants would prefer, and much less than either the nasa or the Navy limit for human beings.”

    The Hockey Stick Illusion is mentioned too:

    “The IPCC and its worshipful supporters did their best to promote the hockey-stick temperature curve. But as John Adams remarked, “Facts are stubborn things, and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” The hockey-stick curve caught the attention of two Canadians, Steve McIntyre, a mining consultant, and an academic statistician, Ross McKitrick. As they began to look more carefully at the original data—much of it from tree rings—and at the analysis that led to the hockey stick, they became more and more puzzled. By hard, remarkably detailed, and persistent work over many years, consistently frustrated in their efforts to obtain original data and data-analysis methods, they showed that the hockey stick was not supported by observational data. An excellent, recent history of this episode is A. W. Montford’s The Hockey Stick Illusion.”



    Of course he has form so is obvioulsy an exxon funded ‘deniar’ (sarc off)
    When do I get my cheque ;) !

  23. Judith

    The Guardian article by Jules Boykoff starts off:

    Federal legislation to combat climate change is quashed for the foreseeable future, scuttled by congressional climate cranks who allege the climate-science jury is still out.

    “congressional climate cranks”?

    “allege the climate-science jury is still out”?

    This is starting to sound like polemic rather than serious reporting.

    Boykoff continues with his description of what happened at a 2006 “climate conference” he attended:

    we learned the communications director for climate curmudgeons, Senator James Inhofe (Republican, Oklahoma) had elbowed his way onto the rostrum. Bleating bias – the panel skewed toward the widely held scientific consensus that climate change is real and humans are causing it – the infiltrator proceeded to hijack the panel.

    “communications director for climate curmudgeons”?

    “elbowed his way”?

    “bleating bias”?

    “hijack the panel”?

    This is worse than polemic, Judith, it’s rubbish.

    The rest is about a purported new “military-climate complex” reminiscent of the Eisenhower warning, but anything else the author has to say is meaningless after this silly introduction.

    Bjørn Lomborg has already warned us of a “climate-industrial complex”, so this may simply be the natural extension to another power group. After all, climate has become a multi-billion dollar big business and the Pentagon needs to get a slice of the pie.

    My advice: Throw this article in the garbage can where it belongs and check some more reliable sources for the emergence of a new “military-climate complex”.


    • You are aware of the Guardian’s political orientation, aren’t you? They don’t call it “Al-Guardian” for no reason. Britain’s newspapers are a lot more openly political than America’s.

      • ChE

        Yes. Although I live in Switzerland and not the UK, I am aware of the Guardians political tilt. Who else would tolerate a Moonbat?


  24. For both sceptics or AGWs it is the long term data that tell the facts:

    • vukcevic

      [This got posted in the wrong place, so am re-posting]

      The long-term record you posted shows that there is no statistical correlation between either Central European or Arctic Temperatures and CO2 emissions.

      So what is causing these major multi-decadal oscillations in the temperature?


  25. It is the military’s job to respond to crises.

    Military intelligence, backed by CIA, attempts to identify potential future crises requiring military response.

    In this case, the military has been handed a “potential crisis” = disastrous climate change, so the Pentagon’s knee-jerk reaction is to formulate a response plan.

    (It’s second knee-jerk reaction is to request funding to finance this plan.)

    “Millions of climate refugees fleeing from poor nations” and the resulting political instability represents a potential security threat to the USA.

    “Sea levels rising by several meters” represents another.

    “Crop failures caused by climate change and resulting famines” yet another.

    Is it any wonder that the Pentagon jumps on these purported potential crises (without doing any real due diligence on their likelihood or basis)?

    After all, the Pentagon has had an “alien invasion plan” for years.

    Go figure.


    • Max, but the military would be derelict if they did not at least consider those scenarios.

      • I’d like to see what they’re working on to counter the threat of the Romulan Cloaking Device.

      • Jeff Norris

        You joke but we are already working on it.

      • Rod B

        I agree with you that the military should consider all possible threats to national security, including an invasion by aliens or catastrophic human-induced (or natural) climate change.

        That does not mean that this constitutes a validation of that threat as a likely occurrence, as is being implied by some here regarding AGW.


  26. The long-term record you posted shows that there is no statistical correlation between either Central European or Arctic Temperatures and CO2 emissions.

    So what is causing these major multi-decadal oscillations in the temperature?


  27. Military intelligence, backed by CIA, attempts to identify potential future crises requiring military response.

    In this case, the military has been handed a “potential crisis” = disastrous climate change, so the Pentagon’s knee-jerk reaction is to formulate a response plan.

    (It’s second knee-jerk reaction is to request funding to finance this plan.)

    “Millions of climate refugees fleeing from poor nations” and the resulting political instability represents a potential security threat to the USA.
    The military has a plan for what to do if Canada attacks the USA and another one for what to do if the USA invades Canada.

    Is either scenario likely ?

    Planning for possibilities is what they do and what they should do.

    There was a study a few years ago predicting 50,000 climate refugees by 2010 which was wrong by 50,000 refugees.

    As long as bogus threats are manufactured the military should have a contingency plan.

    • Yet I just heard last night on PBS that one unit of the UN is claiming over 100,000 deaths every year already since 2000!

      • RodB –
        PBS only pays attention to those deaths that fit their agenda/story line – like climate change related. But somehow they miss the 781,000 malaria-related deaths in 2009 (and that’s down from about 10 mil in 2000). Gotta wonder if that number was any less in 2010. Haven’t seen those numbers yet.

  28. I worked as an engineer in a company which developed military hardware during the cold war.

    Anyone who undertook a study which stated the the Soviet Union was a paper tiger and that [by corollary] the money spent to contain them was wasted would have been shot on sight.

    It is not in the best interest of the military to minimize threats, or even to be conservative about them. The more radical the contingency the more lavish the funding.

    Claiming that the military’s planning for CAGW indicates that they believe in it is seriously wishful thinking by the alarmists.

    • steven mosher

      yes, but since you were there like I was you know that the threat was inflated to drive force structure and weapon design

      • Hmmm, those who benefit from government spending to deal with a particular threat, inflate that threat so that the government will increase their funding. Now where have I heard that before?


        How much alphabet soup do you want?

      • Joe Lalonde

        Good One!!! :-)

      • Gary M

        You articulated what many of us have been thinking.

  29. Those of the left hate everything the American military and intelligence community do. Until they see some agreement with their own beliefs. Then, suddenly, they claim “see – even those hard-headed, far-thinking men of the American military are doing it!”

    No surprise here – this is standard operating procedure for those who despise the American military and the CIA. And of course the Guardian is home to just such people. On the next page, they’ll be telling you that the Joint Chiefs and the head of the CIA should be tried for crimes against humanity for assassinating bin Laden.

    • So your point, Mark, if I’m getting you, is that “leftists” are not allowed to agree with the military or praise them for anything, because fanatical right-wing militarists “own” agreeing with the military.

      I’m not sure that follows.

  30. “Skeptics don’t deny that climate related changes are being observed; “

    Except when they do.

    For example, post after post at WUWT ridiculing the very notion of climate “changes.” Unusual climate phenomena identified by some as “climate changes” are regularly attributed at WUWT to natural variability, and as such are not viewed as “changes.” Any conclusion that the are “climate changes” is called “storytelling” by the AGW cabal promoting self-interests and “One World Government.”

    One of the problems is that the goalposts are constantly being moved back and forth from “Skeptics don’t deny climate changes, only the attribution,” to “Skeptics don’t deny AGW, only the degree to which it is occurring,”even as there is an underlying attack on the very notion that there are any phenomena that can legitimately be attributed to “climate change.”

    And another one of the problems, Judith, is that you seem to only demand accountability from from one “tribe.”

    SOME “skeptics” match with your statement, Judith, and some don’t. When you fail to distinguish between “skeptics” of different sorts (e.g., “skeptics” and “deniers”), your arguments remain problematic.

    • Climate changes owing to both forced and internal variability. The causes of forcing can be either natural or anthropogenic. So there are numerous different causes of climate change. Nobody at WUWT says climate does not change. The issue is the attribution of the change, i.e. natural vs anthropgenic

      • Again you are pretending that there is a consistent “skeptic” viewpoint, which is manifestly untrue. You are also shifting your ground: numerous “skeptics” DO deny that “climate related changes are being observed” which you have transformed into saying “climate does not change” which is a radically different assertion. They may believe that the climate can change while denying that changes are being observed (as many in fact do.)

      • Judith, You write ” The issue is the attribution of the change, i.e. natural vs anthropgenic”

        Has the recent work reported by Roy Spencer on the Svensmark effect (GCRs affect clouds) changed your mind on the balance between natural and anthropogenic effects? If so, how much?

      • Re the Svensmark effect, this is on my list of known unknowns. I refer to this generally in my draft “uncertainty monster” paper (will resume working on the revisions to that paper once my proposal is submitted) as a significant reason in support of my thesis that the “very likely” statement in the IPCC attribution statement is over confident

      • Thank you for your reply, but you have missed my vital point. Has the Spencer paper changed your mind as to how important Svensmark is?

      • No i do not pretend there is a consistent skeptic viewpoint. But I have not come across a serious skeptic that denies that average global temperature has increased since 1970. I have never stated that climate does not change; it changes from season to season and from year to year, and on longer time scales as well. Climate is always changing; the issue is understanding the mechanisms for the change.

      • Joe Lalonde


        Climate was never made to be predicted long term.
        The variables are designed for an ever changing solar system with a slowing down and spreading out of material from the center.
        Even the water on this planet disappears into space very slowly.

        So, looking for that temperature pattern will never be correct due to the constant changing factors.
        As far as current science is concerned, these are not understood or included. Even the lack of understanding in the physical rotation and the structure of a round planet are still currently classed into science fiction.

      • Climate is always changing; the issue is understanding the mechanisms for the change.


        But developing this understanding will not be an easy quest.

        While this should not stop us from trying to learn more, there will always be much more that we do not know than there is that we do know.

        We just have to be realistic and humble enough to admit it.

        And we should try to keep politics and policy completely out of the science.


      • Is there a consistent non-skeptical viewpoint? Is there no difference between someone that argues for a climate sensitivity of 6C and one that argues for a sensitivity of 2C? This argument that skeptics should all have the same view on everything defies logic. The fact of the matter is if it was a scientific argument the people that argued for a sensitivity of 2C would be aligned with those arguing for 1C against those arguing for sensitivities of 5C and 6C. It is only because it is a political argument that the line of demarcation has been drawn in the current location.

      • No they are ‘denying’ that any there is any solid evidence of climate change to be due to man vs natural or even just not weather.. (on the back of a warming trend over the last couple of hundred years or more presumably not all AGW?!)

        Actually many climate scientist would argue over whether any ‘changes’ are actually weather or climate.

        ie a certain group rush out to say any event is an example of climate change – ie russian heatwave – then months later other scientists say acually it wasn’t – just weather, nothing out of the normal – with the politically correct caveat tagged onto the end to say – we MIGHT see more of these events due to climate change ( the more honest ones might even say man made climate chanege – ie not to confuse natural with AGW), they no doubt say this because they don’t want to be seen as ‘deniars’ or to have their funding dry up.

        Remember weather is not climate – Climate is much HARDER than that, and weather is hard ;)

        I’m just tired of ‘alarmist statements immediately following any extreme weather event, (Katrina, Queensland, Russai, Pakistan, etc) that it is proof of AGW, and that there is worse to come.. It is distastful in the light of real human suffering, and ultimately totally counterproductive, when analysed that the events fall into natural frequecies and variation and cannot be attributed to AGW.

        A small group of scientists and lobby groups and alarmists perhaps are staring to come across to the public as no better than those proclaiming the ‘Rapure’ today, and the comparison between CAGW and this are being made.


        “Perhaps Camping’s real crime is that he has got the date of the Rapture wrong. After all, according to the green writer Andrew Simms’ countdown to doom, which is published monthly in Brooker’s own newspaper the Guardian, we have 67 months left to save the world. Camping you idiot! The world’s not going to end this Saturday – it’s going to end in December 2016!”

        Simms of course is rather influential in UK AGW politics…


        “Andrew SimmsNef Bio: 10:10 Campaign Board Member, New Economic Foundation (NEF), Greenpeace UK board member, co-author of The Green Deal Report, founder of the 100 Month initiative, Trustee of TERI Europe(alongside Rajendra Pachauri, Sir John Houghton and Sir Crispin Tickell)

      • Robert

        It is the very nature of rational skepticism (itself an integral part of the scientific method) that rational skeptics do not agree in lock-step consensus with one another.

        Coming back to rational skeptics of the “dangerous AGW” hypothesis:

        Some may be rationally skeptical of IPCC claims on late 20th century acceleration of sea level rise.

        Others may be rationally skeptical of IPCC claims the the UHI effect has had an insignificant impact on the surface temperature record .

        Still others may be rationally skeptical of the IPCC claim that all natural forcing factors are essentially insignificant (less than 8% of anthropogenic forcing).

        Yet another group may be rationally skeptical of the IPCC claim that the warmth of the second half of the 20th century has been unusual for at least 1,300 years.

        So these three groups are all rationally skeptical of the overall IPCC position on “dangerous AGW”, yet each is so in its own different way.

        That is the nature of rational skepticism.


    • “Natural variabilty” IS climate change!

      No progress until we stop the Orwelian speak. It’s a no win.

    • And true believers regularly are silent when the most transparent apocalyptic trash is posted and promoted because it strengthens the profile of AGW in the public square.
      What every skeptic I am aware of, when allowed to speak in complete sentences and paragraphs says is that the climate is not doing much, that climate has always changed, and that it is not changing in the dangerous ways predicted by the AGW community.
      Skeptics are accountable to show that the AGW consensus, that the Earth is undergoing dangerous climate change, is false.
      This has been done.
      You can dissemble and seek distractions demanding skeptics offer a competing theory, but why should we bother?
      We have pointed out that each and every initiative promoted by the AGW community is a complete and utter failure.
      We have shown that the data behind the consensus is crap.
      We have shown that historically the manifestations of climate- the weather- is doing nothing it has not done historically.
      You are just whining.

  31. What I see as a bigger international threat is that the climate gurus from around the world met once again behind closed doors, at the “Nobel Laureate Symposium for Global Sustainability” in Stockholm this week, and signed the Stockholm Memorandum, which prescribes a population reduction as one of the key measures to combat climate change. This was handed over to the UN High-Level Panel, and will be on the agenda at the UN Rio Summit next year.

    This video includes a crucial confrontation between some protesters outside the meeting and the participants.

  32. “However, I have looked at all the relevant U.S. military docs on climate change, and as far as i can recall, they do not mention mitigation and CO2 stabilization”

    If you are evaluating this statement: “national security officials have been offering dire warnings about the perils of climate disruption and its offshoots like food shortage, water depletion and massive migration,” then you should also review the analysis provided by our intelligence services, which have looked at climate change, and are part of the “national security apparatus.”

    I don’t know if it would change your conclusions, but it’s important to recognize that “national security officials” include multiple civilian agencies.

    • Climate disruption does not necessarily equal anthropogenically forced climate change. Much of what is of concern to the military is extreme weather events (e.g. Pakistan floods) driven by natural climate variability and random weather roulette (concerns about sea level rise and the opening of the Arctic Ocean are linked more closely to AGW)

      • Jeff Norris

        Dr. Curry
        Admittedly I am putting on my Dr. Evil hat but don’t think the military is not interested with the potential of unnatural climate variability and the possibility of fixing the roulette wheel.
        Recomendation from the CNA report linked in Mr. Boykoff’s article
        1. Get Involved in th e Geoengineering Debate
        A lingering but critical policy question for
        DOD is what its role should be in discussions
        concerning geoengineering, i.e. the intentional
        manipulation of the climate, which is often
        discussed as a means to counter the effects of
        the climate change generated by human activity.
        This issue involves U.S. bilateral and multilateral
        relations, domestic science and technology
        policy and an array of other security issues.
        Perhaps most starkly, it involves the potential of
        a single nation to intentionally manipulate the
        air and sea environments globally.
        The security issues at stake are today not even
        well defined or fully explored but key questions
        Does the United States consider • deliberate,
        unilateral and intentional manipulation of the
        climate a threat to the global commons, and
        if so, how are U.S. greenhouse gas emissions
        • Will the international community even know
        when and how another country engages
        in geoengineering if that country does not
        declare it publicly?
        • Who is responsible for negative climatic effects
        of geoengineering on other countries and how
        should those repercussions be addressed?
        • If the international community embraces
        geoengineering as a means for addressing
        climate change, who will fund, direct and provide
        oversight for research, development and


        I am sure you are not a Belt way bandit but the Military has no problem funding (rightly so) what –if scenarios.

      • Dr. Curry,
        I would suggest that the entire topic of ‘climate disruption’ is one more appropriate for a science fiction novel,or maybe even a series of novel.

  33. The US military is made up of individual people. It is also governed by a large bureaucracy. In that large bureaucracy, you will find individual conservatives, progressives, moderates, independents, CAGW supporters, lukewarmers, atheists, creationists, pretty much any belief set you can name. The fact that some progressive civilian analysts and some officers are CAGW adherents should be a shock to no one. But converting the views of a few members of that large community to the views of “the military,” is just as nonsensical as attributing the views of some progressive bishops and cardinals as the views of “the Catholic Church.”

    As a rule, the enlisted ranks are more conservative than the population as a whole. But the officer ranks (and analysts) are much less so. The officer ranks are much more politically responsive to the prevailing winds, because promotion for senior officers is controlled by…politicians. So people shouldn’t get all excited when some officers, staffers and civilian analysts come out with an opinion that supports or undermines their position.

    As to Judith’s comment that “I don’t see skeptics at war with the military over considering this risk…” – that is accurate. Considering and planning for risks, even unlikely risks, is what military planners do. I suspect we have detailed plans for the invasion of Lichtenstein, but I doubt there is any serious risk of those plans being needed.

    So what if some colonel hoping to be promoted to general, or some analyst hoping for renewal of his contract with this administration, supports the progressive line in their analyses. That’s what progressives do, wherever you find them. Progressive CAGW proponents in the military will use their positions to provide ammunition for appeals to authority for their comrades in the political and journalist communities. That is all the Guardian article shows.

    As a skeptic, I am not much swayed by appeals to authority, particularly to authorities expressing opinions outside their area of expertise. So I am not much concerned by this issue at all.

  34. William Norton

    Don’t be impressed by DoD commisioning a “Global Warming” study. They study everything all the time. And no it wasn’t “Climate Change” they were studying; it was more like “Global Warming” as in An Inconvienient Truth, and the facts of that scenario have moved on considerably since the study was commissioned.

    Also, keep in mind that the majority of people working for DoD are civilians not military. The people that have written about the admirals and generals not going against the the political class are correct. They would step back and let the scientis and politicians have a go at each other until something important is said. So far, that has not been the case, and there is no reason for the uniformed military to do anything.

  35. It’s a little (though not terribly) OT for this thread, but I’d like to comment on the CAGW buzz and excitement over the Stockholm Symposium mentioned above by Michael. Basically the symposium says that we are so close to imminent catastrophe that they declared a new geological epoch, called the Anthropocene. But I have two major concerns or questions. One is that it seems they are using climate change only as a tool or entry, and what they really support is a global government with everyone pretty much equal. Some selected quotes from their Memorandum:

    “Unsustainable patterns of production, consumption, and population growth are challenging the resilience…. ….inequalities between and within societies remain high, leaving behind billions with unmet basic human needs and disproportionate vulnerability to global environmental change.”

    and, “….environmental sustainability is a precondition for poverty eradication, economic development, and social justice.”

    “Unequal distribution of the benefits of economic development are at the root of poverty.” [well, DUH!]

    “Consumerism, inefficient resource use and inappropriate technologies are the primary drivers of humanity’s growing impact…”

    and finally this well meaning but non sequitur, “Greatly increase access to reproductive health services, ….aiming at empowering women.”

    Doesn’t sound like a scientific assessment of radiation transfer and the like to me.

    I also am curious about the participants. While many are renowned scientists (though very few from climate science) others are, for selected examples: Swedish Diplomat [and former weapons inspector], Nobel Prize winner in Literature, President of WWF International, Photographer and film producer, Mayor of Stockholm, EU parliamentarian, Professor of Social Sciences, …..

    AGW proponents snidely lambaste other groups that express skepticism in the main because most in the group(s) are not climate science gurus. I guess this is not a problem if the group is on the right side.

    • There’s been an international gatherin’ of Nobel Prize winnin’ climate skeptics to lambaste? I didn’t know that.

  36. “AGW proponents snidely lambaste other groups that express skepticism in the main because most in the group(s) are not climate science gurus.”

    If by “not scientists” you mean “plagiarists, liar, and hysterical right-wing mouth-breathers” then, yes, they tend to be the subject of some friendly hilarity when they flaunt their passionate and strident ignorance. Genuine “skepticism,” while an incredibly rare quality in in the AGW-denying crowd, is always welcome.

    • charmed.. how not to persuade people ;)

    • Robert, et al, Yes, “Genuine “skepticism”…. is always welcome.” But the AGW crowd decides who is and who is not a genuine skeptic. If he is a non-climate physicist even with a Nobel, like Ivar Giaever, it’s not good enough; nor for the 72 or so Nobels who signed the infamous Project Petition (I’m going on slightly fuzzy memory here). If he is a full-fledged climate scientist he is almost by definition a liar and not good enough, e.g.Lindzen. Folks like Curry (almost) and Spencer do get accepted but the CAGW advocates hate it and it drives them absolutely bonkers. (I don’t know but I would wager that Curry and Spencer have been called liars from time to time, but just not often enough to make it stick,)

      • Bad Andrew

        And you don’t need to be a climate scientist to see how poorly the “science” is presented. You just have to not have abdicated your own judgement.


  37. Iran accuses the West of ‘stealing’ rain….

    AGW or not this is what the military will have to deal with because irrational thinking related to climate…

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Europe ‘stealing Iran’s rain’

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has accused Western countries of plotting to “cause drought” in Iran by using high tech equipment to drain the clouds of raindrops.

    “Western countries have designed plans to cause drought in certain areas of the world, including Iran,” Mr Ahmadinejad said in the city of Arak in Markazi province.

    “According to reports on climate, whose accuracy has been verified, European countries are using special equipment to force clouds to dump” their water on their continent, he said. ”

    The Telegraph is a MSM newspaper of the non tabloid kind – sort of the anti-Guardian, but with Louise Gray and Geoffrey Lean, very much part of the AGW media consensus (whilst also employing Booker and Delingpole!)

  38. people like Robert are always useful…they show how dangerous it would be to leave the world in the hands of warmists.

  39. Sorry, Judith; but I fail to see why an article by a completely biased author who’s stated goal is to advocate a position and not learn about an issue is a “must read” The military does contingency planning for a very wide range of potential issues/concerns. That is their job.

  40. Hoi "Bodge" Polloi

    The military, however, operates under conditions of uncertainty all the time. Like scientists, they wade through the unknown to assess varying degrees of risk. As CNA Corporation put it, military leaders “don’t see the range of possibilities as justification for inaction. Risk is at the heart of their job.”

    US Military need to go to war, it’s their business. However, their war on Eyerack was as bad prepared as their war on the “deniers”. Do I hear Weapons of Mass Destruction here?

  41. ‘Although it has failed to produce its intended impact nevertheless the Kyoto Protocol has performed an important role. That role has been allegorical. Kyoto has permitted different groups to tell different stories about themselves to themselves and to others, often in superficially scientific language. But, as we are increasingly coming to understand, it is often not questions about science that are at stake in these discussions. The culturally potent idiom of the dispassionate scientific narrative is being employed to fight culture wars over competing social and ethical values. Nor is that to be seen as a defect. Of course choices between competing values are not made by relying upon scientific knowledge alone. What is wrong is to pretend that they are.’ Prins and Rayner 2007.

    I am sure that many take a perverse pleasure in the climate wars – but it is hardly dispassionate science. You should take it as a matter of faith that science is partial, conditional, provisional and quite often wrong when reaching overarching conclusions from limited and often conflicting data. There is far too much certainty from both sides of war of values.

    There is fundamental uncertainty even in such widely a accepted verity as the theory of evolution. Imagine a universe in which the arrow of time – the assumption that the past is no more, the future is unformed and the evolving present is all there is – is not a valid representation of time. That, for instance, moments existed eternally strung out like like Christmas lights in space and time. This concept derives from time dilation in the special theory of relativity and is indeed what Einstein came to believe in his later years.

    ‘Since there exists in this four dimensional structure [space-time] no longer any sections which represent “now” objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three dimensional existence.’

    As the maths and observations shows – we are all on our own timelines – and one might wonder what that implies for an evolutionary theory conceived in strict Newtonian simultaneity rather than in a 4 dimensional space/time continuum. We continue to experience ‘happening and becoming’ – but that time itself seems complicated.

    I expect that I have violated a cultural shibboleth here. That shows that the biological science – like climate science – has been invested with cultural values and is not simply science at all. There seems far too much certainty on both sides of the cultural divide – and this unfortunately limits the potential for creatively limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

    One side seems preoccupied with creating a new economy and society. Utter and scary nonsense – we have seen where that has gone and they are astonishingly naive if they think that can work or that it will be allowed to. The other side seems intent on concluding that there is no risk at all from changing the composition of the atmosphere. Ignorant? Hubristically arrogant? Nonsensical? There is no real sense in which there is no anthropogenic effect but we are assured on the basis of an obvious ‘argumentum ad ignorantum’ that it is all going to be fine. So go the climate wars – naive idiocy compounded by ignorance and arrogance.

    • apologies, got caught in spam

    • “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…here I am…stuck in the middle with you…”

      I’m not agreeing with the Chief, I’m just stuck on song lyrics after Mosher’s Horse With No Name comment….

      Must be nice to be the only smart guy on the planet. Talk about hubris…Chief is channeling Hitchens again.

  42. Every dollar the DoD spends on concerns about climate catastrophe is a dollar that could have spent more productively.

    • Joe Lalonde

      That same saying could be said for many current agencies, subsidies, etc.

      It just is what is the interest of the public that will keep the hook in their mouths.

    • They seem to disagree.

      • I will bet the military back in the days of eugenics studied the implications as well, and that it involved paying academics good money as well.

      • War, in a way, is eugenics in action. Since the WW1 days, they start with an IQ test.

      • JCH,
        So intelligence and aptitude tests are a benefit of eugenics?
        I would suggest that if this your justification for the military funding the latest in social manias, AGW, you are very closer to scraping the bottom of the barrel.

  43. Every contingency has already been considered, planned and paid for by the people who need to be protected from themselves. After almost twenty years of busy effort by our betters their agenda continues to move forward. Soon a small additional tax will be paid, for life. Now the people of the world only need to give up their freedom for sustainability. We are told…


    * When the term “Governments” is used, it will be deemed to include the European Economic Community within its
    areas of competence. Throughout Agenda 21 the term “environmentally sound” means “environmentally safe and
    sound”, in particular when applied to the terms “energy sources”, “energy supplies”, “energy systems” and “technology”
    or “technologies”

    What’s could be better than, ‘safe & sound’?

  44. “Everyone agrees that climate changes”
    Yes, there were big changes in the past (little ice age, etc.), but not everyone agress that climate is changing rapidly, right now, and in a determined and sustained direction (warming).
    Nor are big contemporary weather catastrophes (floods, droughts) unprecedented, i.e. proof of climate change.

    The military’s role isn’t to prepare for all risks, just those risks that are related to military attacks on the nation, like assesing the weaponry and military capabilities of potential enemies. It usually does a poor job of it, and is utterly unprepared for new wars.
    I think their preocupation with climate change is ridiculous.

    • In military history there are a large number of negative outcomes resulting from being unprepared for climate/weather. WW2’s most expensive weapon system was rendered largely ineffective for its intended purpose because of unfamiliarity with the jet stream. They had to figure out a different way to use it, which, luckily, succeeded.

      And I think Bull Halsey would have a bone to pick.

    • “The military’s role isn’t to prepare for all risks, just those risks that are related to military attacks on the nation..”

      Said like someone who has no idea what the responsibilities of an officer are to those who serve under them, or to their position.

      There are many and significant risks to a military in peacetime unrelated to attack on the nation, from petty acts of mere theft like those of contractors who inflate military costs with illegitimate charges to the many hazardous materials the armed forces handle and store in the routine performance of their preparedness.

      The US military has its eye on risks pertinent to its duties other than foreign invasion? Shame on those who think that wrong.

      And while we all would wish the role of police force to the world were not the lot of the US armed forces, the use to which American lives were put, it is not yet the day today that the nation has withdrawn from the world, either; pretending otherwise by blinkering those who the people of the USA command into harms way from the conditions they will certainly need preparing for too is a shameful act.

      • Bart R

        we all would wish the role of police force to the world were not the lot of the US armed forces

        As a Swiss I might add, maybe so, but still rather have it be the US armed forces than those of China, for example.


  45. Let’s start at the beginning.

    The vast majority of the military budget is devoted to ‘potential threats’.

    The Chinese could potentially invade Japan, the Canadians could potentially invade Michigan. The Mexicans could potentially invade Texas.(well they have, but not with guns, just illegal immigrants)

    There is no end to the things that could ‘potentially’ go wrong in the world and require an ever growing defense budget to potentially deal with.

    The defense department has a mountain of paper documenting all the things that could potentially go wrong, then it is up to our elected representatives to decide which ones to address because an ‘unlimited military budget’ is not an option.

    • Jeff Norris

      If you are saying the Military tries not to drive policy you are correct and we should all be thankful that the spirit of Cincinnatus is still prevalent in our Military. Proponents are finding encouragement in the Military’s acknowledgement of Climate Change as a threat but fail to see how consistent the military’s outlook would be absent Climate Change. If you take an objective look at what the Military is saying with regard to mission preparedness you would see the ideas of Low Intensity Conflict*, humanitarian assistance, and resource protection as their short term focus. Essentially this is the same focus the Military has had for the last 25 years. You can substitute Islamic Fundamentalism, Communism or Fascism for Climate Change and the potential consequences and therefore the force structure would not change.
      The military’s public embrace of Bio Fuels is a little more complicated. I think it is a combination of long term planning and political favoritism best summed up by these quotes made by Thomas W. Hicks, deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for energy.
      “If there are incentives from government to move things, to scale up in industry, then it could happen much more quickly.”
      “This is a role that the government has played in the past, in terms of moving markets, helping to mature markets.”
      I do not agree with that sentiment but as the saying goes, if it is stupid and it works then it is not stupid.

      *Low intensity conflict is a political-military confrontation between contending states or groups below conventional war and above the routine, peaceful competition among states. It frequently involves protracted struggles of competing principles and ideologies. Low intensity conflict ranges from subversion to the use of armed force. It is waged by a combination of means, employing political, economic, informational, and military instruments. Low intensity conflicts are often localized, generally in the Third World, but contain regional and global security implications.,

  46. Harold Pierce Jr

    JC: Get and study a recent world atlas. After a short while you will learn that:

    1. There are few humans on the earth.

    2. Humans occupy a small portion of the earth’s surface.

    3. Humans have a modified irreversibly from its orginal state a quite small portion of the earth’s surface by construction of urban areas, dams, highways, etc.

    4. About 50% of humans live in urban areas.

    5. Humans are leaving the countyside in ever increasing numbers and moving to urban areas.

    6. Vast land areas are still unoccupied by humans, e.g., Canada, Siberia, Australia, deserts, moutain ranges, polar regions, etc

    7. Humans can have no effect on “climate” because the vast majority of them live in poverty.

    I don’t want to read or hear anymore foolish comments that humans are affecting global climate.

  47. The US military is really the Bankster’s military.

    So to the degree that they Banksters have a vested interest in AGW, so does the US military.

    Skeptics also need to be careful about saying inconvenient things about the US dollar or they will end up like DSK.

  48. The greatest threat to America’s national security now is the lock-step, consensus federal “scientific -technological elite” that former President Eisenhower warned in 1961 might one day take control of public policy:

    Lock-step, consensus federal science prevented the US military and the US Department of Energy (DOE) from understanding the violently unstable nature of the energy source that powers the Sun and causes eruptions and flares from ordinary stars like the Sun and from pulsars [1-4].


    1. Stuart Clark, “The Sun Kings: The Unexpected Tragedy of Richard Carrington and the Tale of How Modern Astronomy Began” [Princeton University Press, 2007] 211 pages


    2. “Superfluidity in the solar Interior: Implications for solar eruptions and climate,” Journal of Fusion Energy 21 (2002) 193-198:


    3. “Neutron Repulsion”, The APEIRON Journal, in press, 19 pages (2011):


    4. “Crab nebula: The crab in action & the case of the dog that did not bark,” PhysOrg.com (16 May 2011)


  49. The military is not a credible source for climate risk analysis because: 1. It tends to try to please the civilians in power; 2. It has no reason to look at those that will benefit from climate change because good results would tend to negate the risk of conflict. Thus, the military’s analysis is not comprehensive; 3. The military would probably oppose any actions that would weaken the economy (such as CO2 restricitions or a carbon tax) because a weakened economy and manufacturing base tends to weaken the military, particularly the outsourcing of manufacturing capacity to foreign countries.


    • Actually the military is interested in places that will benefit from climate change, since that could change the dynamics of regional stability also

      • I don’t pretend to be an expert in this area, but if you have direct knowledge of the military studying the effects of beneficial climate change, I will stand corrected. However, it is difficult for me to understand why the military would put the same effort into beneficial climate change as it would put into harmful climate change. It seems that conflict, not circumstances that would tend to reduce conflict, would be the primary focus of military studies.


      • It could be argued that melting the arctic could allow for more resources to be tapped and so there is getting to be more land claims. However, I think that reasoning is mostly false, because even if it doesn’t melt there will be more claims due to demand and growth.

      • I received this input from a DoD officer re comments on a pre-proposal. If Northern China and Russia are going to have more favorable climates, this could strengthen both countries economically and politically, with security implications for the U.S. and the west.

      • Simple concept really…predicting the loser(s) gives you insight on who the potential aggressor(s) might be. Predicting the winner(s) tells you who the potential victim(s) might be. Having a handle on both is useful for planning.

      • You mean that DoD plan to invade Canada that we hear rumors about? :)

  50. @curryja | May 22, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Reply

    “Actually the military is interested in places that will benefit from climate change, since that could change the dynamics of regional stability also”

    Could you make up your mind. Is the warming going to be significant or not?

  51. I find it most prudent that our military is preparing for social, political, economic, and other disruptions that are likely in the years ahead, REGARDLESS OF THE CAUSES. With the tightly interconnected world of 7+ billion people, I think we can assume that there will be many Black Swan events as the systems to maintain those 7+ billion people become ever more complicated and subject to breaking down it a catastrophic way. These may, or may not be related to AGW or anthropogenically caused climate disruption, but it really doesn’t matter, for the results will be the same…mass migrations, food shortages, rising tensions between nations.

    Preparing for climate disruption is the perfect way for preparing for a general list of potential Black Swan events and does in fact, keep our nation militarily prepared for those inevitably negative surprises lurking ahead…natural or human caused.

  52. Ian Blanchard

    As someone who would like to think of themselves as a rational sceptic, it seems sensible for the US (and UK) miltary to base their thinking on the following:

    1 – In the short term (say next 5 to 10 years), it is most probable that any climate changes will have little effect (i.e. any changes will be slow and progressive), but extreme weather events will still occur, and these will be more detrimental in the developing world. As the western world depends on there continuing to be a good supply of fossil fuels from the Middle East and other parts of the developing world, there will always be a necessity to plan for all eventualities in this area (NOTE – I know the US purchases relatively little of its oil from the ME, but if this was not available there would be more competition for supplies from other sources). Of course, weather and climate events are only one of several considerations in these regions, and probably rank a way down the list of risk factors when compared with political and religious instability.

    2 – For future planning, it is more likely the world will be warmer rather than colder even if you exclude potential human-caused forcing (i.e. based on a continuation of the current overall trend, which has been broadly similar for a couple of centuries).
    Add to that the plausibility of some human-caused warming (CO2 does interact with photons of outgoing LW radiation, and all else being equal this should lead to some increase of energy within the lower atmosphere). The uncertainty is whether this, when applied to the real world, is a trivial effect (say the lowest outlier position), if there is a couple of degrees warming coming (an average position, where warming will have some observable effects within a decade or two) or 5+ deg C (the highest outlier position, where significant and rapid change would occur, and where detrimental effects probably significantly outweigh beneficial ones). Based on this, the longer term planning should probably be based (from the available evidence) on an assumption of a measurable increase in temperature over the next 15-20 years, with the uncertainty being in the range ‘slight cooling’ to ‘ significant warming’.

    3 – Some consideration of low probability, large effect events, whether this be Hansen’s ‘tipping points’ where there is rapid run-away warming, or of ‘Day After Tomorrow’ style cooling because of slowing of the North Atlantic Conveyor (would shelve the plans to invade Canada, but would necessitate increased protection of your northern border to protect from an influx of Quebecois ;-) ). Of course geological history suggests that neither run away warming nor catastrophic cooling (within the time scales of years to several decades) are anything other than highly improbable (without some catastrophe such as a major asteroid strike), but it is the job of military planners to have some contingency for all eventualities.

    • Ian, this hits the nail on the head, with the addition that there can be large regional variability associated with natural internal climate variability

      • Ian Blanchard writes ” – For future planning, it is more likely the world will be warmer rather than colder even if you exclude potential human-caused forcing (i.e. based on a continuation of the current overall trend, which has been broadly similar for a couple of centuries).”

        I wonder where you get this idea from. To quote Herman Kahn “Nothing would be more surprising that that nothing surprising is going to happen”

        Have you read Livingston and Penn? Do you follow their measurements of sunspot magnetic field strength and contrast? Do you know that if the trend continues, sunspots are likely to disappear by around 2020? Did you know that the sun is just entering the first of two loop-the-loops around the barycenter? Did you know that there is a discussion among solar scientists as to whether to call, the upcoming solar grand magentic minimum the Eddy Minimum or the Landscheidt Minimum? Did you know that people are arguing when (and not if) the grand solar minimum occurs, whether it will be a Dalton or Maunder type minimum?

        My guess is that the answer to all these questrion is no.

      • “… ‘slight’ cooling to ‘significant’ warming…”

        Descriptions like that would not be helpful to a planner and neither will the vaguely overhyped global average. Slight cooling in the Hawaii is different than slight cooling in Siberia.

        Precipitation and minimums and maximums are more of a concern than warming for military (and most other types of planning) except where and when freezing point occurs.

        The military (and society) are really more interested in the specific forecasts and information – information regarding refugees, disasters, weather impacts, agricultural impact, disputes over resources like water or land or natural resources, economics, sea levels and stuff like that. Otherwise it’s just a cargo cult.

      • Ian Blanchard

        Although I’m a bit out of my depth with regard to astrophysics (being from an Earth Science background), I have followed enough of the discussion to know that some serious people are expecting a significant solar minimum. I also think that some sceptics have too readily seized on this as evidence of future cooling in the same way that the strong advocated of cAGW seize on any and all extreme weather events as evidence of ‘climate change’.

        I was always told that common sense is to (slightly) favour the continuation of the current trend unless there is serious evidence of a change in direction – at the moment all there is is speculation backed by guesswork.

        If you are sceptical (as all scientists should be), you have to be sceptical both ways, and not give the things that support your biases a free pass. At the moment, I think the solar stuff and the Svensmark cosmic ray theories are interesting and merit further work and observation – in time these will either be supported or otherwise by the observational evidence, but at the moment are really a ‘wait and see’ situation.

  53. Sorry if I have failed to grasp the import of this thread but what has the activity/opinion of the military got to do with the the accuracy of “climate science” predictions? That’s all I’m interested in as a lay person.

    Are the military supposed to be more prescient than others? This would put them on a level with the IPCC according to some. Uh, really? Oh, dear!

    What about “Military Intelligence” a contradiction in terms which we love to point out in the UK!

    • correct, i agree that activity/opinion of the military has nothing to do with the accuracy of climate science predictions. I inferred that Boykoff was using the military action to provide support for mitigation policies.

  54. Judith,

    Looks like we’re in broad agreement, as that’s music to my ears as well, since as I often argue, the existing uncertainty surrounding the generic knowledge makes the risk larger.

    I was puzzled though when you wrote:
    “I don’t see skeptics at war with the military over considering this risk (…); rather I see some skeptics at war over the CO2 stabilization policies.”

    I think that is indeed the real issue for most skeptics. But many chose to then argue the science and risk that comes with it. Which comes across as arguing against stabilization policies by using the science as a proxy.

    • Bart, nice that we can agree! Its about risk. We can disagree about the magnitude and the likelihood of the risk, but it is still there. Addressing this uncertain risk with stabilization policy won’t sell unless the economics, politics, technologies, and unintended consequences are sorted out in a favorable way.

      • Judith,

        Whereas I’m afraid that you’re right with the pessimistic outlook that mitigation policies may fail unless they have important co-benefits, it probably won’t do enough to keep the risk at manageable levels (in my outlook at least).

        If all non-climatic effects of a mitigation measure have to be positive, you put a lot of conditions on the measures to take. If you combine that with a estimate of low risk of climate change, you come into the lower left quadrant of this simplified scheme I drew:

        no regret, no priority.

    • Bart V,
      The conclusion of your first paragraph is not suported by facts, but is a pure conjecture.
      Skeptics do not argue the science so much as point out that the science does not support the popular conclusions.
      ‘Stabilization policies’…..please show us any that have made any difference at all.

  55. “The title is misleading also. I don’t see skeptics at war with the military over considering this risk (I would like to hear from the skeptics on this one); rather I see some skeptics at war over the CO2 stabilization policies.”

    That’s it, on the nose. I describe myself as a “skeptic” because I am not persuaded that the risks of GHG-induced climate change are large. That does not mean that I think they ought to be ignored–just that I think the rational response to them is very different. More specifically, given the low probability that it seems ought to be attached to such a risk, the massive costs of CO2 suppression/mitigation do not seem at all warranted. On the other hand, further study has vastly lower cost, and other potential upside, even if, as I expect, we find out that the Earth’s climate is quite stable due to negative feedbacks.

    • I should point out, however, that funding further study with the likes of the the hockey team seems to be a complete waste, since it seems to produce results ranging from bias confirmation, at best, to junk science, to outright corruption. The entire industry needs the wake-up call that Dr. Curry appears to be trying to send.

  56. There’s a recent paper in Sociological Quarterly that seems relevant to this debate, part of a symposium issue on the Politics of Climate Change (April 2011) (a commentary on McCright and Dunlap 2011 in the same issue). (free access) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/tsq.2011.52.issue-2/issuetoc

    In her paper “Climate Change, Public Opinion and the Military Security Complex” Joane Nagel argues that US public opinion “doesn’t matter much”, what does matter is that business (specifically the insurance industry) and the military both take climate change seriously. I was taken aback by the attitudes displayed by the author, as exemplified by the following quote:

    “…aside from our personal pique at a significant proportion of our fellow citizens’ smug certainty in the face of their often vast ignorance, should we care much what they think about climate change? After all, the reality will come crashing in on us soon enough. Does it really matter what the deniers think? Based on my recent research into gender and climate change, in particular masculinity and the militarization of climate change (Nagel 2010), my conclusion in response to the question is, no, it doesn’t matter much what Americans think about climate change. This is not to undermine the importance of understanding the conservative mobilization under way in American politics, but it is to note a very interesting gap that seems to be widening between individual attitudes and institutional responses to climate change in the United States. I am not referring to a gap between science and the public or between the political left and the political right. The disconnect is between the public opinion trend toward skepticism and the firm embrace of climate change by some of the most conservative institutions in the United States and the world: business and the military.”

    Nagel notes that “It turns out climate change as a security problem is good news for the continued relevance of the U.S. military” (p206), and her stance seems to be that this can only be a good thing, as is the re-insurance industry’s insistence that higher insurance premiums are inevitable. I would have thought that the self-interest of both of those groups was obvious, but then, I am not a sociologist.

    • Anyone who thinks the the US military is in need of help to remain relevant is equally inept in history, international affairs and human nature.

    • Smugness is usually inversely proportional to the odds of someone being correct.
      AGW believers demonstrate an incredible amount of smugness.

    • When an author starts off with, “my recent research into gender and climate change” you can stop right there and save a lot of time! Gender and Climate Change??!!??!!

      For what it’s worth: There is a minority chorus starting over at RealClimate that also thinks the best tactic is to totally ignore skeptics, other than a smaller subset that think we all should be prosecuted.

      • This one sounds similar to a number of threads Dr. C. has thrown up here:


        The political impasse over global warming legislation stems from obstacles in the mass media arena, public awareness, electoral politics as well as governmental policy. Advocates of global warming policy have to be simultaneously successful in all four major public arenas to prevail. This article provides an overview of the obstacles in each public arena in the United States highlighting the broader context in which McCright and Dunlap’s analysis of polarized public opinion operates. Global warming advocates have had their greatest success in the media arena but are checked by the rise of a conservative counter-campaign as well as media reporting norms, which have contributed to polarized public opinion and limited salience of the issue. Global warming never ranks in the top issue list to which electoral candidates attend, giving it little priority in national electoral contests. Although the House of Representatives passed the Waxman-Markey Bill in 2009, the bill died in the Senate and will not resurface until the Democratic margin is again large enough to overcome opposition vetoes. At the same time, major legislation has often incubated on the margins of these public arenas for significant time until a political crisis removes the normal obstacles to such major “watershed” legislation. For global warming, the long march through American public arenas appears to have begun.

        Where have we heard this before; the problem isn’t the science, it’s the communication.

    • Doing speculative threat assessments is not the same as taking climate change seriously, much less a “firm embrace.” For the military to take AGW seriously would mean taking expensive action, on the order of the expensive mitigation or adaptation steps the rest of the government is also not taking. It would mean rebuilding facilities, or weapon systems, ships, etc., or redeploying troops, building new bases, etc., NONE of which is being done. So far as I know, nothing serious is being done about climate change, nothing whatever. Playing the military card is a joke at best.

  57. Paul Vaughan

    Solar max interrupts the semi-annual heat pump. The frequency of pump outages controls multidecadal oscillations. Interannual spatiotemporal chaos makes this difficult or impossible to see using LINEAR methods.

  58. Here’s what the QDR actually says about climate change:

    “Crafting a Strategic Approach to Climate and Energy

    Climate change and energy are two key issues that will play a significant role in shaping the future security environment. Although they produce distinct types of challenges, climate change, energy security, and economic stability are inextricably linked. The actions that the Department takes now can prepare us to respond effectively to these challenges in the near term and in the future.

    Climate change will affect DoD in two broad ways. First, climate change will shape the operating environment, roles, and missions that we undertake. The U.S. Global Change Research Program, composed of 13 federal agencies, reported in 2009 that climate-related changes are already being observed in every region of the world, including the United States and its coastal waters. Among these physical changes are increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the oceans and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows.

    Assessments conducted by the intelligence community indicate that climate change could have significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to poverty, environmental degradation, and the further weakening of fragile governments. Climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity, will increase the spread of disease, and may spur or exacerbate mass migration.

    While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world. In addition, extreme weather events may lead to increased demands for defense support to civil authorities for humanitarian assistance or disaster response both within the United States and overseas. In some nations, the military is the only institution with the capacity to respond to a large-scale natural disaster. Proactive engagement with these countries can help build their capability to respond to such events. Working closely with relevant U.S. departments and agencies, DoD has undertaken environmental security cooperative initiatives with foreign militaries that represent a nonthreatening way of building trust, sharing best practices on installations management and operations, and developing response capacity.

    Second, DoD will need to adjust to the impacts of climate change on our facilities and military capabilities. The Department already provides environmental stewardship at hundreds of DoD installations throughout the United States and around the world, working diligently to meet resource efficiency and sustainability goals as set by relevant laws and executive orders. Although the United States has significant capacity to adapt to climate change, it will pose challenges for civil society and DoD alike, particularly in light of the nation’s extensive coastal infrastructure. In 2008, the National Intelligence Council judged that more than 30 U.S. military installations were already facing elevated levels of risk from rising sea levels. DoD’s operational readiness hinges on continued access to land, air, and sea training and test space. Consequently, the Department must complete a comprehensive assessment of all installations to assess the potential impacts of climate change on its missions and adapt as required. In this regard, DoD will work to foster efforts to assess, adapt to, and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Domestically, the Department will leverage the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, a joint effort among DoD, the Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency, to develop climate change assessment tools.

    Abroad, the Department will increase its investment in the Defense Environmental International Cooperation Program not only to promote cooperation on environmental security issues, but also to augment international adaptation efforts. The Department will also speed innovative energy and conservation technologies from laboratories to military end users. The Environmental Security and Technology Certification Program uses military installations as a test bed to demonstrate and create a market for innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies coming out of the private sector and DoD and Department of Energy laboratories.

    Finally, the Department is improving small-scale energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at military installations through our Energy Conservation Investment Program. The effect of changing climate on the Department’s operating environment is evident in the maritime commons of the Arctic.

    The opening of the Arctic waters in the decades ahead which will permit seasonal commerce and transit presents a unique opportunity to work collaboratively in multilateral forums to promote a balanced approach to improving human and environmental security in the region. In that effort, DoD must work with the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security to address gaps in Arctic communications, domain awareness, search and rescue, and environmental observation and forecasting capabilities to support both current and future planning and operations. To support cooperative engagement in the Arctic, DoD strongly supports accession to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

    As climate science advances, the Department will regularly reevaluate climate change risks and opportunities in order to develop policies and plans to manage its effects on the Department’s operating environment, missions, and facilities. Managing the national security effects of climate change will require DoD to work collaboratively, through a whole-of-government approach, with both traditional allies and new partners.”

    IMHO, this statment on climate change isn’t very profound and it is about what I would expect the DoD, being politically astute to say given the emphasis of the current administration.

    On the other hand, being a huge consumer of energy, the DoD’s concerns over availability of energy in future conflicts is a very serious issue. Especially since DoD currently purchases about 50% of the fuel from non-US sources.

    • Agreed, this is basically green boilerplate, stuff that can be found throughout the Federal system. Nothing concrete, serious or expensive. There is no there there.

      • David –
        this is basically green boilerplate

        Precisely. I finally got time to read Boykoff’s piece. It reads like what it is – a propaganda piece to buck up the faithful by claiming that the US military is on their side. And truthfully, that should scare them to death.

        More – it reads like what it is – an anti-military writer’s interpretation of what has been written by organizations who “claim” to have some influence with the military. Do they? Good question.

        The QDR – is it any surprise that someone slipped in some words on the subject given the attitude and staffing of the present administration? It would be far more surprising if something like that were NOT in there.

        As for the other references he provides, ALL of them are apparently to reports by “green” organizations that claim to be advising the US military. My brother spent 27 years in the US military, 9 years with NATO in Europe and is still working with companies that actually DO provide advice and services to the US military at the highest command levels. And he’s not familiar with the outfit that says this in their report –

        The predicted effects of climate change over
        the coming decades include extreme weather
        events, drought, flooding, sea level rise, retreating
        glaciers, habitat shifts, and the increased spread
        of life-threatening diseases. These conditions
        have the potential to disrupt our way of life and
        to force changes in the way we keep ourselves
        safe and secure.

        I’m also familiar with some of the names on that report – and I’m not impressed.

        Those words and much of what follows were taken straight out of the environmentalist’s handbook on interpretation of the IPCC report – and most, if not all of them have been proven wrong or at the very least, warped beyond reality.

        I’ll repeat – I’m NOT impressed. And I doubt if the US military is either.

      • somebody please ask DeepClimate to check for plagiarism. It’s “boilerplate” stuff, anyway…

  59. The problem is that the alarmist members of the so-called Consensus insist that “uncertainty” requires us to act.

    Unfortunately what is needed in order to evaluate the merits of any action is understanding of “risk” – that measure (both measurable and measured) of likelihood of identifiable scenarios. Why do we need that? In order to weigh the expected costs and benefits in a world where we have limited resources and must make trade-offs (e.g. lots of intermittent wind power at the cost of less health care, transport or communications infrastructure, or even simple holidays and bottle sof beer on a hot day).

    And there lies the point of criticism of most so-called Skeptics. The available literature is teeming with unknowns (quite possibly unknowables), to the extent that even after spending tens of billions of dollars on formalised modelling of this Consesnsu hypothesis (dangerous climate change) we cannot even demonstrate the ability to produce a robust zero dimension climatic forecast. In fact, quite the opposite – the efficacy of the modelling as proven in forecasting is inconceivably and irredeemably trashed.

    Ironically, what this excercise of the Military beaurocracy demostrates is indeed risk mitigation on the parts of the generals concerned who commissioned this work, except it isn’t the climate related risk.

    It is known to you and me as covering your a**e and it costs them nothing.

  60. Robert of Ottawa

    Judith, there is no such thing as a “must read article” in the Guardian. It is a leftist rag that only prints politically, and predictably, correct articles leftist tracts.

  61. I read the military’s planning documents some time ago. I thought they were interesting. Too general to come up with a real plan for different parts of the US. I read it as being more of an answer to “What kind of a world would we be living in if”.

    Military upper echelon depends on political approval, and there is a tendency to kiss up and make some brownie points for the next promotion.