Climate variability, extremes and change have always been a security issue!

Written by M. Glantz. Posted in All Fragilecologies

Published on September 22, 2009 with No Comments

The “hot” news in a New York Times front page article that climate change will affect national security is really “very old news in a new article”. the NDU (National Defense University in the USA) that did this study, also published its surveys and studies on climate change impacts on agrculture (now referred to as ‘food security’ or as ‘food insecurity’) from 1976-79 (3 assessments) and in 1974 (January) foresighted Dr. Walter Orr Roberts, founder of NCAR [NB: deposed in 1973 in a palace-like coup]), held a conference at the Rockefeller Foundation on “climate and international conflict”. I was invited to attend the conference, having serendipitously just met Walt Roberts: Stephen Schneider and Edith Brown Weiss among other young researchers were there.

Today, it seems that the ‘pet’ perceived impact of climate change (!) has become drought and famine in Darfur, Sudan, because UN Secretary General Ban  Ki-Moon said that the root cause of the genocide in Darfur was climate change. But, as history clearly shows  droughts have plagued that region forever and — add to that — the  civil war in the Sudan [between the Arab (Muslim) North and the Black (animist or Christian) South] has been ongoing and genocidal since 1955. Lastly, Tad Homer-Dixon has been writing about climate change and national security since, as I recall, the early 1990s (he still does) from the University of Toronto.

so, the  recent New York Times article  is proof perfect of the science or military community’s NIH syndrome (not invented here) … until the military (or scientists) says it is a security issue, it is not, DESPITE the library shelves full of recognition of this fact since the 1970s. Clearly, climate and weather extremes have long been recognized as a major security issue (Napoleon in moscow and a century and a half later, Hitler. Carter found out when he wanted to free iran hostages and seasonal dust storms killed that attempt.) It appears that some people in positions of authority who have probably studied history still seem not to understand its lessons.

As American novelist Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “and so it goes”.


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