Viridian Note 00401: British Blowback
Bruce Sterling [
- Key concepts
- Guardian newspaper, Andrew Marshall,
Global Business Network, abrupt climate change,
military implications, Khaki Green
- Attention Conservation Notice:
- a fully annotated
version of a rather silly British newspaper story
about Pentagon climate-change speculations.
Trends in logo design. Man, that stuff's sure fun to
look at, and, uh, ridicule.
The discovery of global warming. The consequences
are all all ahead of us.
(((Boy, this Guardian climate-change story sure
has legs. Everybody and his sister has sent
me one of these things, despite the fact that
we Viridians were hip to this ages ago.
(((This is Peter Schwartz of Global Business
Network whose work is being roundly distorted
on the other side of the pond here. I know
Peter Schwartz – we Viridians even threw a joint GBN/Viridian design contest once. So
story practically qualifies as "Viridian blowback."
(((Blowback is what happens when an intelligence agency cunningly plants a press story
someplace or other, and
then somebody else reprints it and gets it kind of half-wrong, and then the very same guys
who planted it read it with their eyes like two saucers and say "Wow!
There must be something to that after all!" And then
Valerie Plame's husband flies over to the
actual locale with the rumor, and he figures out that the whole story is completely
distorted, so you have
to leak something to your pet right-wing
columnist and try to discredit her. 'Cause,
you know, that was her husband. He must pay!)))
(((Anyway, these Guardian guys, who should
have known better, have cobbled-up a tale
that is rather detached from reality but
is really making the old net-clipping rounds.
That's because their spin is about the malignant
perfidy of the Bush Administration rather
than the actual futurism. But, well, read on.)))
"Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us
(((No, that's not what anybody, in fact, said.
What the report really says is that severe climate
change has severe military implications, a truism
we Viridians have been spouting since 1998.
Because it's dead obvious with a moment's
"Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war
(((It's not a "secret report." Plus, any act of military futurism that doesn't consider
nuclear war is
kind of stupid.)))
"Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years
(((That could be pretty interesting. And if
the warm currents that cross the Atlantic cease
doing that, yeah, it's a logical consequence.)))
(((Of course, at the moment, Britain is not Siberian.
Instead, they are picking piranha fish out of the
- South American Piranha Fished from River Thames
"Threat to the world is greater than terrorism"
(((OF COURSE the threat's greater than terrorism! What's worse: some IRA bombs in London,
or London turned to a giant, rigid popsicle?)))
by Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York
Sunday February 22, 2004
"Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global
catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters. (((Well, at least
the lede is nice.)))
"A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained
by The Observer, (((Mark, Paul, come on now. The big bad report flew over the transom at
you, is that it? It's sitting there on a Greenpeace website!)))
"warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is
plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and
widespread rioting will erupt across
(((If we really suffer a major, sudden shift in Atlantic ocean
currents, yeah, something along that line is pretty much bound to tear loose. That
conclusion requires no massive leap of imagination, although GBN is pretty well second to
none at this stuff.)))
"The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge
of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food,
water and energy supplies. (((Well, that sounds mighty bad and grim, but think about it
– how could that NOT happen with a huge, abrupt climate change? It's completely
logical.))) The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few
experts privy to its contents. (((Abrupt full-scale climate change is also "vastly
eclipses" both World Wars and the Black Death, but, you know, what about that-there
(((Okay, Viridian "experts," here you go; privy
some of those contents, you lot weren't born yesterday.)))
Dot-pdf in here, yee-hah:
Peter Schwartz published a book last summer, "Inevitable Surprises: Thinking Ahead in a
Time of Turbulence" (Gotham Books) that includes this scenario.
Fortune magazine published their own take on the report:
The scenario of a sudden change in Atlantic currents
is well-known. It was on Nova as a public-educational
TV program, even. And such things have indeed
happened. NOAA has a web page on abrupt climate change in the Younger Dryas era:
(((So, well, maybe it's abrupt and maybe it
ain't, but if it's abrupt, we're gonna catch it.
It certainly won't play out exactly
as this GBN pitch wargames it, but this is
the scale of mayhem that's plausible.)))
"'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,'
concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.' (((First
of all, Andrew Marshall isn't "the Pentagon." If you've ever been inside the Pentagon,
you can see from the very doorknobs and carpets that the thing is one vast gaggle of
competing cliques. But if "warfare defines human life," that may mean destruction for
civil society, but it doesn't mean destruction for the Pentagon. We'll
all be the Pentagon, probably including the frozen, numbed remainders of
"The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration,
which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. (((Only if you assume that
the Bush Administration is capable of humiliation, which it isn't. No "weapons of mass
destruction"? How 'bout a "climate of mass destruction"? Hey, we're right back in
business!))) Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who
has insisted national defence is a priority. (((The guy doesn't read, folks. British
Prime Ministers read,
but over here, we gave that up. It got in the way.)))
"The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence
adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking
over the past three decades. (((Yes he has. Too
bad he's eighty-something.))) He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at
transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
"Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate
to a US national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant (((oh
come on))) and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the
California-based Global Business Network. (((God bless 'em! They're
doing their best!)))
"An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is
'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be
considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a
rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions. (((That would be Bangladesh,
presumably. They always catch it.
Imagine a planetary Bangladesh. Well, that's the story.)))
"Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a
large body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit its
policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. (((Yes, the Bush Administration
is a Lysenkoist regime. Don't like the facts? Make something up!
Who's gonna stop us? We've got all the guns and all the money!)))
"Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), said that suppression of the report for four months was a further
example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.
"Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts
could prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a real and happening
phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United States to sign up to global
treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change. (((Dream on. They'd literally rather
die. The neocons are more anti-global than Serbia.)))
"A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White
House to voice their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying drive to get the
US to treat the issue seriously. (((They do treat the issue seriously: they are oil
company people and regard it as a major threat to the enterprise.))) Sources have told The
Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the issue when faced
with complaints that America's public stance appeared increasingly out of touch. (((Well,
they know that they are lying. That's why they flinch some. But then again, they lie
about all kinds of scientific issues, repeatedly:)))
(((And they know they lie, because they do it as a policy.)))
"One even alleged that the White House had written to complain
about some of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief
scientific adviser, after he branded the President's position on
the issue as indefensible. (((Also, they make it a policy to always hit anybody who hits
them. This King guy was getting Plamed there. They Plame anybody they can. It's what
they think tough guys do.)))
"Among those scientists present at the White House talks were
Professor John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to the German government
and head of the UK's leading group of climate scientists at
the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's internal fears
should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to accept climatic change. (((Look,
Prof. Schellnhuber: it's the oil biz, okay? They don't do "tipping points.")))
"Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office – and the
first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism (((yawn)))
– said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important
document indeed.' (((Oh what hokum. It's a cool document, but these meteorologists must
live in Cloud-Cuckoo Land. The can't even get weather people to say "Global Warming"
aloud on CNN.)))
"Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former
chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon's dire
warnings could no longer be ignored. (((Oh yes they can.)))
"'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? (((Yes.))) It's going be hard
to blow off this sort of document. (((No.))) It's hugely embarrassing. (((Only if you are
rational and fully aware.))) After all, Bush's single highest priority is national
defence. (((Sorry no: getting re-elected has the ultimate priority.)))
"The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it
is conservative. (((Tell it to DARPA, TIA, and the Office of Special Plans.))) If climate
change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. (((No he
doesn't, and even if he does act, it doesn't mean he'd do anything you'd approve of.)))
There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the
Pentagon,' added Watson. (((Career soldiers didn't put us into
those oil fields of Iraq.)))
'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and
across the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. (((Hoaxes work
great if you've got Fox News and a majority in both houses of Congress.))) It's pretty
scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue,' said Rob Gueterbock of
Greenpeace. (((It's ten times scarier when Bush and his government agree on
"Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher
population than it can sustain. (((No problema, dudes -- Russia will be down to a nice
roomy 100 million by 2050, weather violence or no weather violence.))) By 2020
'catastrophic' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to
overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions
brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that
could soon be repeated. (((Famine, disease, death – you got three Horsemen of the
Apocalypse right there. You scarcely even need War. My own suspicion is that, under
these conditions, you'd find a militarized, heavily rationed, khaki-green GI population
spending most of its time in "operations other than war." Stuff like stacking
"Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change
would create global chaos. 'This is depressing stuff,' he said. (((Oh come on you big
baby – we're not even living it, yet.))) 'It is a national security threat that is unique
because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.'
(((Then get some control, fella. Like, for instance, cut the emissions and build a
"Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent
a disaster happening. 'We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could start
tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,'
he said. (((Okay, fine – then we've got the rest of history to work our way out of
"'The consequences for some nations of the climate change are
unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels would be worthwhile.'
(((Yeah, sure, but not if you sell fossil fuels.)))
"So dramatic are the report's scenarios, Watson said, that they
may prove vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is known to accept
climate change as a real problem. Scientists disillusioned with Bush's stance are
threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon report in his campaign. (((Scientists
will be made to pay for that temerity, too, whether they become Democratic political
operatives or not.)))
"The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will
aid Kerry's cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank
dedicated to weighing risks to national security called the Office of Net Assessment.
Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast experience, he is credited with
being behind the Department of Defence's push on ballistic-missile defence. (((Boy,
some sparkling scientific credibility for ya.)))
"Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference,
(((it's like watching the Exxon Tiger eating a chicken))) said that the suppression of
the report was a further instance of the White House trying to bury evidence of climate
change. 'It is yet another example of why this government should stop burying its head in
the sand on this issue.' (((When will people get it that the Bush team does this on
purpose? It's like thinking that they "bury their heads in the sand" about evolution.
They don't care about the fact of climate change any more than Enron cared about
bookkeeping. You get your hands on the money and the power. Then you just hoax your way
out of it afterward. Maybe that only works in the short run, but in the long run, hey,
you can put Ronald Reagan on Mount Rushmore.)))
"Symons said the Bush administration's close links to
high-powered energy and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate change was
received sceptically in the Oval Office. 'This administration is
ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy and oil companies,' he
added. (((They're a "handful" of companies, but the biggest on earth. They control the
world's largest industrial enterprise. Oil underpins most everything that spins, rolls
or emits heat. There may not be a whole lot of people in the oil business, but it's
the planetary business, and for the Bush Administration, it's
their own business.)))
(((Now for the exciting part.)))
"Key findings of the Pentagon
Sunday February 22, 2004
"Future wars will be fought over the issue of survival rather than religion, ideology
or national honour.
"By 2007 violent storms smash coastal barriers rendering large parts of the Netherlands
inhabitable. Cities like The Hague are abandoned. In California the delta island levees in
the Sacramento river area are
breached, disrupting the aqueduct system transporting water from north to south.
"Between 2010 and 2020 Europe is hardest hit by climatic change with an average annual
temperature drop of 6F. Climate in Britain becomes colder and drier as weather patterns
begin to resemble Siberia.
"Deaths from war and famine run into the millions until the planet's population is
reduced by such an extent the Earth can cope.
"Riots and internal conflict tear apart India, South Africa and Indonesia.
"Access to water becomes a major battleground. The Nile, Danube and Amazon are all
mentioned as being high risk.
"A 'significant drop' in the planet's ability to sustain its present population will
become apparent over the next 20 years.
"Rich areas like the US and Europe would become 'virtual fortresses' to prevent
millions of migrants from entering after being forced from land drowned by sea-level rise
or no longer able to grow crops. Waves of boatpeople pose significant problems.
"Nuclear arms proliferation is inevitable. Japan, South Korea, and Germany develop
nuclear-weapons capabilities, as do Iran, Egypt and North Korea. Israel, China, India and
Pakistan also are poised to use the bomb.
"By 2010 the US and Europe will experience a third more days with peak temperatures
above 90F. Climate becomes an 'economic nuisance' as storms, droughts and hot spells
create havoc for farmers.
"More than 400m people in subtropical regions at grave risk.
"Europe will face huge internal struggles as it copes with massive numbers of migrants
washing up on its shores. Immigrants from Scandinavia seek warmer climes to the south.
Southern Europe is beleaguered by refugees from hard-hit countries in Africa.
"Mega-droughts affect the world's major breadbaskets, including America's Midwest,
where strong winds bring soil loss.
"China's huge population and food demand make it particularly vulnerable. Bangladesh
becomes nearly uninhabitable because of a rising sea level, which contaminates the inland
O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O
THEN THE FUN
O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O