The report, titled Joint Operating Environment 2008, states that "the impact of global warming and its potential to cause natural disasters and other harmful phenomena such as rising sea levels has become a prominent - and controversial - national and international concern. Some argue that there will be more and greater storms and natural disasters, others that there will be fewer."
It adds: "In many respects, scientific conclusions about the causes and potential effects of global warming are contradictory."
That last line in particular was singled out at a panel discussion hosted yesterday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, on the topic of climate change and national security.
Sharon Burke, a former Pentagon and State Department official who is now a specialist at the Center for a New American Security, said the report was factually "wrong" and "out of line," saying that there is a wide consensus that human activity, namely the production of greenhouse gases, is responsible for global warming.
Other specialists had similar reactions when they read the report.
"It's very wrong," said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose work was cited in the military report. "The jury is not out" on what is causing global warming, he added. "I don't know where that statement came from, but it's pretty bizarre."
Of course the statement came from fact that the jury is not only still out, but evidence is mounting that humans are not guilty as well.
The Global Warming Petition Project urges Washington to reject the Kyoto international global warming pact because there is "no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate". So far, the Politico reports, more than 31,000 scientists have signed it.
Now where I come from, that many dissenters would say that the science is far from settled, that there is no "consensus" and, well, the "jury is still out".
Emanuel also took issue with the report's assertions about future storm intensity.
"Everyone pretty much agrees that the intensity of events could go up with global warming, although we argue how much," he said in an interview.
Who is "everyone"? For one the National Hurricane Center says he's full of beans.
And anyway, Emanuel's model driven thesis is built upon warming oceans. But since 2003, the oceans have been cooling. So it would seem to me that Emanuel would be saying that, given his theory, storm intensity should be going down in the future, no?
I do love the Pentagon, or should I say, Joint Forces Command's answer:
The Joint Forces Command maintains that it is fully cognizant of the threat posed by climate change, saying the purpose of the report was not to debate what is or isn't causing global warming.
"We are in complete agreement that climate change will be a national security driver in the future," said Rear Admiral John M. Richardson, director of strategy for the command. "We are focused on the implications of climate change. We see what is happening. What is causing it is not in our purview. The commanders have to deal with the effects."
First he called it "climate change", not global warming. Secondly he said he didn't really give a rip what caused it, they were more concerned about dealing with the effects, regardless of the cause.
"Everyone pretty much agrees that the intensity of events could go up with global warming, "
It was always my understanding that winds, storms and such (what we ignorant laymen call weather) were caused by temperature differences; weather is basically just air trying to obey the laws of physics— warm air rises, cold air sinks. This process creates weather. If it were just heat energy content that caused storms, etc., Jupiter would be pretty boring, and that nice big red spot would disappear.