Climate Alarmists Misrepresent Pentagon Report

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Appeared in papers across the United States
A worst-case scenario report—long-buried in the bowels of the Pentagon—has been dusted off by global warming enthusiasts in a last-ditch effort to persuade the United States to repent and sign the costly Kyoto Treaty.

The report by two west coast futurologists, who specialize in conjuring up dire disasters, was completed last year and read by Pentagon planners. The planners promptly decided its scenario was about as likely as an invasion by Martians.

The 22-page report laid out an Apocalypse Now script predicting the likely impact of the most cataclysmic climate change imaginable: Floods of Biblical proportions, droughts that turn flush farmlands into deserts, typhoons that swamped low-lying coastal cities.

Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall, both emphasized that they were asked to assume the very worst consequences that would arise from the very worst global warming scenario—one that would increase the Earth’s temperature by some 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next five decades. “This was not a repressed secret report or a prediction of imminent doom,” says Schwartz, who once ran scenario planning for Royal Dutch Shell in London. He said Greenpeace and other critics who seized on the leaked report and portrayed it as a scientific study “got it all wrong.”

Greenpeace, the radical activist group based in Amsterdam, splashed its report on its website with a headline worthy of the National Inquirer: “Weather of mass destruction bigger threat than terrorism.” Papers in London and other major European cities trumpeted Greenpeace’s bizarre interpretation on their front pages as well.

An English magazine proclaimed, “Now the Pentagon Tells Bush: Climate Change Will Destroy Us.” Other newspapers and newswires weren’t far behind. A Florida paper wailed “Climate Change Could Cause Global Woe,” while a wire service headline proclaimed: “Dramatic climate change could become global security nightmare.”

The reality, of course, is far different from the spin put forth by eco-activists and the sensationalist media. There are no references in the report, and there’s no environmental or economic modeling—the report is purely an interview-driven by a Jules Verne “what if” exercise in speculation.

And the report doesn’t blame man-made greenhouse gasses—the environmentalists’ bete noir—for global warming. It merely asks: “What if we see a repeat performance of pre-historic climate changes?”—focusing on a rapid climate shift that happened 8,200 years ago.

A second key area of Greenpeace’s alarmist distortion is its claim that the report calls for “immediate action”—implying that such actions involve curbing energy use and thus, reducing emissions of carbon dioxide. In reality, there is little discussion of man-made carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions in the Pentagon report. In fact, greenhouse gas controls are nowhere to be seen in the report’s seven recommendations, which focus on improving our understanding of climate; taking no-regrets actions to secure food and water supplies for the future; exploring adaptation strategies useful if climate begins to change rapidly; and “geo-engineering” approaches to controlling the climate.

The Schwartz-Randall climate report, indeed, is a purely speculative exercise in “readiness planning” for extreme climate changes of the sort seen in reconstructions of ancient temperatures. Many scientists saw the hyping of the Pentagon report as an “eleventh-hour” gesture by die-hard environmentalists to salvage the sinking Kyoto Treaty on climate change, which already has been rejected by the United States and Australia and is about to suffer the same fate in Russia.

The treaty would force the United States to reduce its current energy consumption by some 30 percent—a move that would decimate the economy and plunge the country into a deep recession.

Ironically, rapidly emerging nation’s like China, India, Indonesia, Brazil and Mexico—projected to be the biggest producers of greenhouse gasses at the end of this century—are excluded from the Kyoto treaty.

Fortunately for Americans, the Bush Administration already understands this. And, hopefully for Canadians, surging public opinion against the Kyoto treaty here, may force new Prime Minister Paul Martin to embrace economic reality and abandon environmental mythology, too.

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