The Goliaths of Doom
|"No one will believe you."
"That is exactly as it is meant to be"
"But tell them anyway. Tell them once.
Then tell them they have been told and leave."
- The Voice of Salavi,
- Chichimeca story from Ancient Mexico
For years, I have been called a gloom and doom environmentalist. It has not been easy making predictions about collapsing fisheries, water shortages, resource wars and over-population.
People don't like to hear about negative things even when these negative things are a direct threat to their survival.
Better to deny reality than to face reality is a prevalent attitude throughout the world.
But now things are about to rapidly change and ecological Cassandra's like me will soon be taken much more seriously.
On Sunday February 22, 2004 the British newspaper the Observer published a frightening report from the Pentagon.
The headline read:
Now the Pentagon Tells Bush: Climate Change Will Destroy Us
Secret Report Warns of Rioting and Nuclear War; Threat to the World is Greater than Terrorism
The article was written by Mark Townsend and Paul Harris from New York. This is the text:
Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters.
Key findings of the Pentagon Report · Future wars will be fought over the issue of survival rather than religion, ideology or national honor.
A secret report, suppressed by US defense chiefs and obtained by The Observer, 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 the world.
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. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.
'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'
The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defense is a priority.
The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defense adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defense 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 and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
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.
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 Center for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's internal fears should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to accept climatic change.
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 - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.'
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.
'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's single highest priority is national defense The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,' added Watson.
'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. It's pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue,' said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.
Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. 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.
Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global chaos. 'This is depressing stuff,' he said. '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.'
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.
'The consequences for some nations of the climate change are unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels would be worthwhile.'
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.
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 Defense's push on ballistic-missile defense
Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference, 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.'
Symons said the Bush administration's close links to high-powered energy and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate change was received skeptically in the Oval Office. 'This administration is ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy and oil companies,' he added.
Comments by Captain Paul Watson
And so we have it. Of course this report and more to come will be ignored by most of the world's media. No one likes to hear bad news and no one wants to hear news of ecological devastation. Most of the world is absorbed with trivialities, primarily with being entertained.
As the Canadian poet Leonard Cohen once wrote, "we are locked into our suffering and our pleasures are the seal."
My predictions have been dismissed as wacky and extremist for two decades, despite the fact that I have been proven right so many times. In fact I feel that I have been cautiously optimistic.
In 1978, I predicted a loss of 50% of Africa's elephant population by 1988. I was wrong, the loss exceeded 65% and has fallen even more since then.
In 1983, I predicted the collapse of the Grand Banks Cod fishery by the year 2000. It collapsed in 1992.
In 1990, I predicted that we would lose 70% of the world's large fishes by the turn of the century. According to the 2003 Pew Foundation report, we lost 90%.
In 1995, I predicted the loss of coral reefs worldwide by 2100. This week, a report from Australia warned that the Great Barrier Reef of Australia will be a dead zone in fifty years.
Over the years that I was labeled an ecological Cassandra, I always tried to point out that yes Cassandra was a doom and gloom prophet but unfortunately she was right. Troy fell as she foretold that it would.
I have some new predictions to put on the record.
Within twenty to thirty years, the United States will invade Canada to control water for drinking and hydro-electric generation. Dams will be constructed in Canada against the will of the Canadian people.
Within thirty years, a major war will break out in Antarctica over control of Antarctic resources. The last great unexploited continent on Earth will be ravaged.
Within thirty years, after three decades of oil wars, oil production will be approaching exhaustion despite the invasion of every known oil deposit on Earth. Human population numbers which grew because of the availability of oil will crash because alternative energy resources will not be able to handle nine billion people.
Within thirty years, most of the world's temperate and boreal forests will be lost to fires caused by global warming.
Within thirty years, there will no longer be a commercial fishing industry in any of the world's oceans. The fish will be gone, victims of over-fishing, pollution, and global warming.
Over the next three decades, viruses will jump from disappearing species to humanity causing major pandemics. This has already started with SAR's, West Nile Fever, Ebola, Hanta virus, and AIDS. Tuberculosis and malaria will continue to be the major plagues of the under-developed world.
By 2030, the Earth will begin to feel the consequences of what Canadian environmental writer Robert Hunter calls Thermageddon - the consequences of global warming.
I could go on and on but these few predictions paint the picture. Most people would be more interested in my predictions for the world series next year or the year after, than for these gloomy topics.
The priority threats in the 21st century are global warming, diminishment of viable eco-systems, mass extinction and extirpations of species of plants and animals.
The root cause of all these disasters is escalating human population growth. As human populations increase there will be less of everything else.
Oh, I forgot, human population growth has nothing to do with environmental problems. I'm sure I've heard a few so-called environmental leaders say this but then they are just plain and simply - idiots.