Ben Buchwalter

Pentagon Pushes for Climate Action
February 17, 2010, 8:58 pm
Filed under:, Environment, Military | Tags: , ,

Earlier this month, the Pentagon released a report warning that climate change would threaten more than just our coast lines if Congress did not act quickly to delay or reverse environmental degradation. Climate change could even put American troops serving abroad at risk. The announcement seems surprising, but it’s consistent with two decades of military dogma on the environment that was largely ignored by the Bush administration. I broke down the unrequited friendship between the earth and the military for

Good working relationships between the Pentagon and concerned climate scientists dates back to the early years of the Clinton administration, which implemented a program that urges the DOD to share classified satellite photographs of the Arctic Ocean with climate scientists.

In 1992, then-Senator Al Gore floated the idea with representatives from George H. W. Bush’s CIA and DOD, and as vice-president, he implemented the program along with Leon Panetta — Clinton’s chief of staff at the time — and departing CIA director Robert Gates. Bush II disbanded the program in 2001 but the New York Times reported earlier this year that the Obama administration plans to resurrect it.  “Decision makers need information and analysis on the effects climate change can have on security,” said CIA Director Panetta in a press release when the agency opened a center on climate change and national security last fall. “The CIA is well positioned to deliver that intelligence.”


Daily Mail Bends Science to Support ‘Global Cooling’
February 2, 2010, 11:50 pm
Filed under: Environment, Media, Mother Jones | Tags: , , , ,

Climate change deniers pop up all over the place. But they’re rarely part of the Nobel-winning International Panel on Climate Change. So when Professor Mojib Latiff of the IPCC was quoted in Britain’s Daily Mail as a convert to the “global cooling” hypothesis, it raised eyebrows. Well it turns out that’s not what he said at all. I wrote a summary of the controversy that got picked up on the front page of the Huffington Post and the lead of HuffPost’s Green page. Here’s an excerpt:

But speaking to the Guardian yesterday, Latif pushed back hard against the Mail, saying that the tabloid took his comments out of context to make an editorial statement. “It comes as a surprise to me that people would try to use my statements to try to dispute the nature of global warming. I believe in manmade global warming. I have said that if my name was not Mojib Latif it would be global warming,” he said. “There is no doubt within the scientific community that we are affecting the climate, that the climate is changing and responding to our emissions of greenhouse gases.”

This is a predictable misstep for the Mail, which has a conservative streak and recently published a set of denialist stories, including Sunday’s David Rose report “The Mini Ice Age Starts Here,” and a special investigation on the Climategate emails last December.

CA Climate Strategy: Learn to Adapt
January 9, 2010, 3:57 pm
Filed under: Environment, Mother Jones | Tags: , , ,

August 5, 2009

Now that we have to get our asses in gear and deal with climate change, there’s some serious disagreement about how to prepare ourselves for what’s coming. When the California Natural Resources Agency released its Climate Adaptation Strategy in August 2009, I expected the debate between adapters and mitigaters to flare up. But my sources said that there’s much more agreement in the environmental community now than in past decades. Most everyone, they said, agrees that we must mitigate and adapt — essentially brace for impact. From MoJo’s Blue Marble:

California’s strategy is one of only seven adaptation-specific plans currently in the works.  But it highlights the transition from a widespread campaign to stop climate change to an effort to brace for the impacts that are nearly guaranteed within the next few decades. “It used to be that you’d get slapped in the face for talking about adaptation,” says Tony Brunello, the deputy secretary of climate change and energy for the CNRA. “It was seen as doing nothing and taking away from mitigation efforts.”

But that view changed once climate change became a hot button national issue, embraced as reality by scientists and most American politicians. Brunello notes that the adaptation strategy has not been bogged down by the usual reluctance toward adaptation becuase California has a reputation as a leader on climate change legislation. But, he says, “we are only playing with half a deck. People have to start paying attention the the effects that are already going to impact California.”