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U.S. military prepares for the coming conflicts triggered by climate change

Homeland Security News Wire
The popular debate surrounding “global warming” is rife with emotion and has paralyzed U.S. policymakers; military planners, however, remain divorced from the emotional content of the topic, looking at possible future scenarios and conducting planning to address the associated challenges and threats arising from sharp changes in climate

As Pakistan continues to struggle with flood devastation, U.S. national security experts are considering the long-term effects of the disaster. Among the concerns are the Pakistan government’s stability, opportunism by extremist groups providing relief to flood victims, and the impact on the U.S. war effort in neighboring Afghanistan, where U.S. forces depend on smooth supply lines through Pakistan.

… Baker writes that catastrophic floods or increasing desertification can pose severe challenges for local populations and national governments and may carry regional or even global ramifications. What is more, if these irregular challenges go unchecked, they could lead to large-scale international conflict as states compete for dwindling resources, populations migrate en masse, or governments seek to deflect domestic pressure onto neighbors.
(9 September 2010)

Climate Change Crisis ‘Can Be Solved by Oil Companies’

Michael McCarthy, The Independent/UK
Climate change can be solved in a snap by making oil, gas and coal companies take responsibility for burying all the carbon dioxide emitted by the fossil fuel products they sell, one of Britain’s leading young climate scientists said yesterday.

Government attempts to try to get millions of people to change their behaviour through taxes and incentives were doomed to fail, said Dr Myles Allen, head of the Climate Dynamics Group at the University Oxford, and an increasingly influential voice in the climate debate.

It would be much more efficient, he said, simply to make all producers of carbon-based fuels accountable for the disposal of the carbon dioxide their fuels ultimately give off, as a condition of remaining in business. Successful climate change policy would involve less government, not more.

… Dr Allen’s contention is that if the big oil companies and other fossil fuel producers were forced themselves to implement CCS – or go out of business – its adaptation would be much quicker and much more widespread, and far more efficient than the current government policy of trying to deal with emissions from millions of consumers.

He told the conference: “Carbon comes into Europe through a couple of dozen pipes, ports and holes in the ground. It goes out through hundreds of millions of flues and exhaust pipes. Yet European climate policy is all about controlling the flow at the point of emission. It’s like blowing air into a sponge and trying to slow it down by blocking up the holes.”

… Mme Voynet was not comfortable with the idea of taking climate policy away from governments and handing it over to the oil companies.

She said Dr Allen’s argument was interesting but the solution was not nearly so simple as he made out. And she said it would be “demobilising” – it would make millions of people feel they had no personal responsibility for the fate of the planet, if responsibility had been handed over to industry.
(27 September 2010)
I don’t think it’s a good idea to push carbon sequestration (CCS). There are signs that it will never be a viable technology. In a talk to the ASPO-USA conference in Sacramento, David Hughes suggested instead 1) more efficient coal plants 2) conservation. -BA

How global warming is aiding – and frustrating – archaeologists

Robin McKie, The Observer
Archaeologists have gained an unexpected benefit from global warming. They have discovered melting ice sheets and glaciers are exposing ancient artefacts that had been covered with thick layers of ice for millennia.

The discoveries are providing new insights into the behaviour of our ancestors – but they come at a price. So rapid is the rise in global temperatures, and so great is the rate of disintegration of the world’s glaciers, that archaeologists risk losing precious relics freed from the icy tombs. Wood rots in a few years once freed from ice while rarer feathers used on arrows, wool or leather, crumble to dust in days unless stored in a freezer. As a result, archaeologists are racing against time to find and save these newly exposed wonders.

A perfect example is provided at Juvfonna in Norway, where reindeer hunting gear used by the Vikings’ ancestors has been found littering the ground as the front edge of Juvfonna’s ice sheet has retreated.
(26 September 2010)