The Department of Homeland Security’s Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) is out. Like the Pentagon’s QDR it is supposed to detail future threats and how our government will deal with them. This report, also like the QDR (and the annual assessment of the Director of National Intelligence), includes the obligatory reference to global warming.
The QHSR warns:
[d]ependence on fossil fuels and the threat of global climate change that can open the United States to disruptions and manipulations in energy supplies and to changes in our natural environment on an unprecedented scale. Climate change is expected to increase the severity and frequency of weather-related hazards, which could, in turn, result in social and political destabilization, international conflict, or mass migrations.
One suspects the commercial for climate change is sandwiched into the report for the same reason it is included in the Pentagon’s report. And the inclusion raises the same questions. As we have written before:
1. They don’t come with an accompanying asterisk. The reality is there is no way to forecast the impact of climate change on national security.
2. They don’t tell you that the administration’s plan for dealing with global climate change may be the biggest national security threat of all because of its potential to wreck the US and the global economy and worst of all that is actually unlikely to affect global warming.
3. They don’t acknowledge that the White House is largely using the national security argument to push a political agenda…pushing for passage of bills like “cap and trade” and ratification of treaties like the Law of the Sea.
Furthermore, these reports are supposed to focus on near term threats. Efforts to link global warming to near term climate change been highly debatable. See Glaciergate.
On the other hand, in some cases we know parts of the global environment, such as the Arctic, are changing. The waters in the Arctic are going to become more navigable year round. We need policies to deal with that. That is a reality that is upon us. Nothing we do about our “dependence on fossil fuels and the threat of global climate change” is going to change that reality in the short term.
The kinds of impacts the QHSR is musing on, if they do realize themselves, are many decades in the future–far beyond the report’s planning time line.
Don’t get me wrong. Discussing and debating the course of global climate change is important.
Just, not sure the QHSR is the place to do that.
Homeland Security should worry a lot more about the terrorists that are trying to kill us right now than what the temperature is going to be 50 years.