DOD Wargames Abrupt Climate Change
January 28, 2004 6:20 PM   Subscribe

The DOD Wargames Abrupt Climate Change: Turning inward, the U.S. effectively seeks to build a fortress around itself to preserve resources. Borders are strengthened to hold back starving immigrants from Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean islands—waves of boat people pose especially grim problems...As the planet's carrying capacity shrinks, an ancient pattern reemerges: the eruption of desperate, all-out wars over food, water, and energy supplies. Wars over resources were the norm until about three centuries ago. When such conflicts broke out, 25% of a population's adult males usually died. As abrupt climate change hits home, warfare may again come to define human life.
posted by alms (22 comments total)
T'ain't no evidence for global warming. It's all a liberal wet-dream to keep hard workin' 'Mericans from drivin' thar SUVs.
posted by drstrangelove at 6:28 PM on January 28, 2004

It sounds like we wouldn't be able to grow anything anyway if it happened (what would we be protecting? dust? ice?)...Mexico/Central America becomes the place to be, I'd think.
posted by amberglow at 6:30 PM on January 28, 2004

A very interesting article, good find.
posted by woil at 7:52 PM on January 28, 2004

glad i am prepared
posted by clavdivs at 8:00 PM on January 28, 2004

I'm surprised that the powers that be in the US have begun to respond to this threat so quickly. As a humble plebian, I've been aware of this threat for only four years or so.

In 2000, I was writing bleakly sarcastic questions to the Boston Globe's "ask the (self appointed) experts" web advice column such as : "I am considering purchasing a home in Mass., but am worried that sudden climage change might reduce it's resale value."

It was a lively little discussion thread populated, mostly, by people convinced I was insane - despite all the links to scientific research I might post - and especially so for the fact that I informed them that the balance of the evidence suggested they soon might turn to cannibalism.

SUV driving suburbanites don't like this sort of talk.
posted by troutfishing at 8:06 PM on January 28, 2004

Especially for the fact that their SUV's will be crushed like bugs by the monster vehicles driven by the clavdivs of that "MadMax of the frozen Northern wastes" era.

Ha ha.
posted by troutfishing at 8:14 PM on January 28, 2004

Mexico/Central America becomes the place to be

Actually, the nation's breadbasket would move to Canada- just like Maple Syrup moved from New England to Quebec over the last 30 years.
posted by crazy finger at 8:27 PM on January 28, 2004

It's interesting (no, make that depressing) that the Pentagon is planning more for global warming than the rest of the administration, which doesn't even want to admit that there might be some truth to it.
posted by drstrangelove at 8:31 PM on January 28, 2004

Perhaps that's what happens when you have made a career out of pragmatic prepardness in the face of life-vs-death decisions.

vs. a political career, which has to stem partly from a kind of idealogical solipsism which assumes that you are right and they are wrong or at least you can do it better. There probably are people out there who are right more often and can do it better. But it's like 80% of the world thinking they're above average drivers.
posted by namespan at 8:42 PM on January 28, 2004

...warfare may again come to define human life

Judging from evidence here daily displayed, for some there never was another definition.
posted by y2karl at 8:59 PM on January 28, 2004

Actually, the nation's breadbasket would move to Canada- just like Maple Syrup moved from New England to Quebec over the last 30 years.
But if we get colder, so does Canada, no? I'd think fertile soil would be found further south than now. (and I thought that it was with warming that Canada becomes the breadbasket)
posted by amberglow at 9:03 PM on January 28, 2004

It's interesting (no, make that depressing) that the Pentagon is planning more for global warming than the rest of the administration, which doesn't even want to admit that there might be some truth to it.

Can you imagine what kind of effect this type of talk (let's say in current elections) could have on our politics, economy,society and on our value of dollar ???


Because of their stupid buying habits many people in America are forced to work as hard as much as possible to pay of their debts (overage US person has less than 15.000 in their accounts, many live paycheck to paycheck) and just simply ignore everything else. It's all about my work, my diet, my family and my new 4*4 truck....that you use to go to work and back on an overcrowded freeway

I think (correct me if I am wrong) majority does not like their jobs and their current living situations. The amount of stress it brings you, your boss being an asshole, government taking big chunks of your taxes to fight wars you don't really understand, not enough time to spend with your kids ??? If you knew (if your politicians started to talk about it openly) that this world is coming to a horrible end would you change anything about your live ?

There are many taboos in our society and talking about the future of this planet is a taboo....

This planet can not sustain the current growth for ever, something will change and rather sooner or later, but you don't need to hear about that....

You thought that America is a big polluter, just wait for China. In 5 years you will have millions more driving SUV's, millions more burning dangerous fuels for their daily "needs".

At current growth ( and we know we are pushing it really hard) this planet will be in serious trouble within 5-10 years....but I might be wrong.....

Do you like your life ?

Do you live the life of your dreams ?

Will your kids ever have chance to live the live of their dreams ?

Do you care abot the future of your kids ?

Does the ultimate doom scenario scare you or excite you ?

How will the ultimate doom scenario look like ? Like Mad Max or even more violent, more cruel, more crazy ?

posted by bureaustyle at 9:41 PM on January 28, 2004

This scenerio reminds me of China in the 17th-18th Century - while Europe was enduring droughts, famines, and adverse climate changes, China was enjoying bumper harvests. Coupled with unified country and assertive local and national rulers who maintained well-stocked granaries and provided country-wide food assistance to combat possible famines, it was a good time to be Chinese. The future looked bright.

The prosperity of the average Chinese peasant in the middle 18th century was vastly higher than a typical European serf or factory worker newly immigrated into the cities. Then a confluence of factors intervened -- corrupt government, population growth and migrations, and the real kicker - climate change. By 1850 China's social system had collapsed and it endured one of the most catastrophic civil wars in history - over 50 million died -- and it was a war largely over control of diminishing fresh water and arable land.

The US as a young civilisation has enjoyed largely beneficial climate patterns during its birth pangs over the past couple of centuries - it remains to be seen how well it can weather the coming fresh water acquifer depletion and climate changes.
posted by meehawl at 10:10 PM on January 28, 2004

Stay away from that thigh bone. It's mine.
posted by troutfishing at 5:51 AM on January 29, 2004

There are many taboos in our society and talking about the future of this planet is a taboo....-- bureaustyle
The reason "talking about the future of this planet is taboo" is that nobody knows "the future of this planet." If there is any statement it is possible to make that is almost certain to be false, it is a prediction of the future. Many of you guys weren't around for the last cycle of doom scenarios in the late 1970s, but the gullible at all levels of society were hammered on all sides by predictions very much as scary as sudden global climate change. Best sellers were forged from the threat of economic, population, and environmental disaster of every kind. But no prediction on the scale of the kind being made in this Fortune article has ever come true in the history of the world. In fact, the 1980s and 90s were marvelous decades of great weather, economic prosperity, political stability for the good guys and political disaster for the bad guys, and something very much like a golden age -- which virtually nobody predicted. Nobody knows the future. No prediction ever made about anything has ever come true, accept accidentally. All predictions are wrong. That is not to say that something horrible might not happen on a global scale someday, but I can guarantee you this: it will be something nobody predicted. So don't worry about it.
posted by Faze at 9:22 AM on January 29, 2004

Faze is spot on. I knew these idiots who predicted that Iraq had WMD and was giving them away to evil doers and was going to use them soon - very soon - to create mushroom clouds in suburbs all over the U.S. Predictions are SO stupid.
posted by hank_14 at 9:31 AM on January 29, 2004

Oh crap. Someone just told me that some other folks predicted that there were no WMDs in Iraq, and that occupying the country would be more difficult than others suspected. So I guess some predictions are better than others.

It's all so confusing. How will we decide what to believe? If only there were people looking into the complexities of climate change, you know like scientists or something, who didn't get their funding from people who make money polluting the environment, who would gather every once and a while at huge international conferences and have panels about climate change. Yes, international panels on climate change - where is something like that when we so desparately need it?

/um, sarcasm.
posted by hank_14 at 9:36 AM on January 29, 2004

Neither the IPCC nor the DoD is predicting this event. They're just saying that it appears to be one possibile outcome of the present trends in the changing global climate, and we should probably think about what we'll do if it happens.

My plan is to wait for the advancing glaciers to crush my house, throw a party, then maybe go skiing.
posted by sfenders at 9:58 AM on January 29, 2004

It's important to expand on this scenario. For example, the US Navy not too long ago realized that with a lot of the northern polar ice gone, there was a whole lot of under-charted navigable ocean between North America and Russia.

Other considerations which come to mind are major changes to coastline: bye-bye New Orleans, perhaps. Mardi Gras while you still can.
So, as some parts of the world suffer, other currently barren parts will become fertile. England might be buried under snow, but Spain might become jungle.

What are other strange projections and possibilities?
posted by kablam at 10:24 AM on January 29, 2004

hank_14 - I LIKE it !

jfuller - Snowball Earth
posted by troutfishing at 8:57 PM on January 29, 2004

The alternate moral to the "boy who cried wolf" is that the villagers were too dumb to replace the sherpard they didn't trust and too lazy to look out for the wolf themselves.
posted by Skwirl at 2:56 PM on January 31, 2004

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