The White House on 21st September released a Presidential Memorandum on Climate Change and National Security. Section 1 states its purpose: “This memorandum establishes a framework and directs Federal departments and agencies to perform certain functions to ensure that climate change-related impacts are fully considered in the development of national security doctrine, policies, and plans.”
The memorandum creates a Climate and National Security Working Group consisting of nineteen federal departments and agencies plus more to be named later. The working group will be chaired by Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Susan Rice and Assistant to the President for Science and Technology John Holdren. The working group, in “close collaboration” with the U. S. Global Change Research Program, is charged with seventeen specific tasks plus producing a broad Action Plan within 90 days and a Federal Agency Implementation Plan within 150 days.
The National Intelligence Council has released a report on Implications for U. S. National Security of Anticipated Climate Change to back up the memorandum. Its ten pages of text are filled with gems of junk science, which are summed up in this ridiculous pontification: “Long-term changes in climate will produce more extreme weather events and put greater stress on critical Earth systems like oceans, freshwater, and biodiversity. These in turn will almost certainly have significant effects, both direct and indirect, across social, economic, political, and security realms during the next 20 years.”
The national security challenges arising from these climate impacts include: “threats to stability of countries, heightened social and political tensions, adverse effects on food prices and availability, increased risks to human health, negative impacts on investment and economic competitiveness, and (get this) potential climate discontinuities and secondary surprises.” I look forward to seeing how the Climate and National Security Working Group is going to plan how to handle potential climate discontinuities and secondary surprises.
Although it is easy to dismiss all this as bureaucratic bilge, President Barack Obama’s latest memorandum builds on a number of earlier executive actions to embed climate policies, programs, and offices into every aspect of the federal government. It has proven very difficult to abolish federal programs of any type once they have offices and employees.