Warning: The Content in This Article May Be Ancient
February 23, 2008 2:46 PM   Subscribe

the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us A frightening story about a secret Pentagon report to the President leaked and published February 22, 2004. On February 23, 2008 the Web goes wild. 1400 Diggs and still rising. 245 points on Reddit, but the commenters seem to "get it". Clipmarks.com 'clips' the article without the date. The "progressive press" got it the first time. National Debunker asked "where were the US media on the story?" last year. Mark posted it to BoingBoing in 2004, then Cory posted it today (at the moment, still on front page, although the permalink has been deleted).

In spite of its reputation for Bush Bashing, MetaFilter ignores the story both times until a charter member who should know better (and who was convinced Climate Change was a real problem by James Burke in 1989) posts it in a feverish fit of schadenfreude.
Yes, a lot of the 1989 and 2004 predictions are already proven wrong. So, don't take MPDSEA's $100 bet... if something big does happen within 5 years, the Internet may not be here to help you collect, and $100 won't be worth collecting.
In the meantime, let's all point and laugh at Digg.
posted by wendell (37 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: I don't know if people missing an old story is much of a story -- mathowie



 
This is gonna...

Oh, hi Wendell!

posted by miss lynnster at 2:51 PM on February 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I vaguely remember that story, but it broke on a Sunday, right? Yeah, American Idol was on.
posted by psmealey at 2:55 PM on February 23, 2008


I am shocked, shocked to discover that Bush had a fantastically bad idea and ignored all the people who told him so.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:58 PM on February 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


This all goes down in 2020? Eh, I'll probably be dead by then.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:59 PM on February 23, 2008


Yeah, what's up with th permalink deal on Boing Boing?
posted by Relay at 2:59 PM on February 23, 2008


I'll probably be dead by then

You can never be too sure. That's what I was saying in 1985 about 2008.
posted by psmealey at 3:02 PM on February 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah, American Idol was on.

Bzzz. "Desperate Housewives" was the proper reference for a Sunday night show. Thank you for playing. We would also accept "The Simpsons" or "Family Guy" if you want to be really jaded.
posted by smackfu at 3:03 PM on February 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


From what I understand, this paper was just the military running down the repercussions of what would happen if global warming happened, not a prediction that global warming will happen. I think that's an important distinction.

This is along the same lines as war games where they work out an invasion of Canada or Nuclear War in South Asia. It doesn't mean they think it will happen, only that they want to work out plans in the event that it does.
posted by empath at 3:04 PM on February 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


People on the Internet don't read carefully and work themselves into a (late) frenzy. This is news? This deserves a post? Flagged.
posted by twsf at 3:05 PM on February 23, 2008


Look on the bright side: when civilization as we know it collapses, people won't be forced to rehashing 4 year old alarmism to get their blood pumping.

sorry wendell
posted by felix betachat at 3:09 PM on February 23, 2008


Digg is for sheep - film at 11.

This post would be a lot better if you could decide whether it's about the global warming story (interesting, but old) or it's about the gullibility and herd-like mentality of the web (mildly interesting, also old).
posted by dhammond at 3:16 PM on February 23, 2008


I keep thinking that I should abandon my career to become a WTSHTF (popular slang on freaky conservative messageboards for When The Shit Hits The Fan--a general shared understanding that society is going to collapse, for one reason or another) counselor to yuppies. I could help them design and build heavily secured sustainable farms in the middle of nowhere, to which they could hypothetically retreat and live in hippy peace in case of global warming/neo-con crackdown/anarchy/avian flu/zombies/whatever. They'd get peace of mind, I'd get to overcharge them, and, as a bonus, if the proverbial shit really did hit the fan, I'd know the locations of a bunch of secured, sustainable farms I could use!
P.S. Please do not steal my business plan.
P.P.S. If you are in need of assistance in determining a location/layout for your secure, sustainable farm, my services are available at reasonable rates. I promise not to overcharge and/or steal farms from any metafilter user. Just those other yuppies.
posted by agentofselection at 3:19 PM on February 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


also, referring to yourself in the third person in a post about your act of posting the post is a nice touch.
posted by Hat Maui at 3:22 PM on February 23, 2008


The big difference is that BoingBoing in 2008 has at least one, and maybe two, orders of magnitude more readers than BB in 2004.

My blog gets slashdotted and boingboinged. Guess which drives more traffic? BoingBoing seems to have almost as many readers as the BBC's news portal!
posted by cstross at 3:22 PM on February 23, 2008


A bit of the sky just came loose, and knocked me on my noggin.

Now my heart's all aflutter. (But probably because I eat too much butter.)

The apocalypse is nigh, they say? Again? So soon?

Our descendants will be long and thin, living safely on a Chinese Moon, with bones sort of spongy and freedom a historical curiosity; alack.

Clearly I have no alternative but to gorge myself fat.

Get while the getting's good, my pappy used to say, until his creditors came knocking and he had to run away.

No future, no future, no future for you.
No future, no future, no future for me.
posted by CheeseburgerBrown at 3:23 PM on February 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm with empath on this one - from what I recall, the Pentagon study was on the potential impacts of climate change and what challenges it would present from a national security standpoint.

Assuming the scientists are correct, the Pentagon study was an examination of that old tried-and-true human tendency to scramble for resources when there are major disruptions to supply chains/food stocks/arable land, etc. As one might expect, it's not a pretty picture.

With that said, it was not a prognostication about the veracity of climate change claims, it was an examination into what might occur on the geopolitical stage as a result of climate change. Adjust your "dates of doom" to be +/- anywhere between 25 and 100 years.
posted by tgrundke at 3:24 PM on February 23, 2008


If the shit really does hit the fan, though, numbers in a bank account next to your name are not going to matter a bit. Neither are skills like banking and lawyering. Best thing you do can do is counsel people to get in shape and learn useful skills like farming, administering first aid, surviving in the wilderness, etc.
posted by psmealey at 3:26 PM on February 23, 2008


Yeah, what's up with th permalink deal on Boing Boing?

My guess? It was purposely deleted so folks finding the link in search aren't clued into what many have come to realize over the past year: Boing Boing is really, really late on pointing to stuff. They linked the Barack Obama is Your New Bicycle site just today, and only after someone pointed out to Xeni Jardin that the Hillary Clinton version of the site wasn't the first.

Boing Boing is almost completely irrelevant at this point, aside from the gobs of uninformed, mostly moronic traffic they deliver.
posted by dhammond at 3:26 PM on February 23, 2008


web not nearly as fast with the news as it'd like to believe; film in ... a while.
posted by bonaldi at 3:31 PM on February 23, 2008


"Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world..."

Well, fucking do it, then. Christ. I keep charging my credit cards to the max hoping that next month I won't have to make the payment, and you assholes keep letting me down! Loose the fire! Release the Kraken!

BRING IT ON!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:46 PM on February 23, 2008 [4 favorites]


Since this thread was derailed from the beginning I might as well post my local weather guy's blog. Outside of being a generally interesting blog about weather, it's also a one long refutation of anthropogenic global warming that is presented in a fairly reasonable way.
posted by 517 at 3:56 PM on February 23, 2008


> Digg is for sheep

Kicks are for trids.
posted by jfuller at 3:57 PM on February 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


In spite of its reputation for Bush Bashing, MetaFilter ignores the story both times

*ahem* - tranquileye posted it to MetaFilter, back on 22nd Feb 2004.

That was one of three results for a search on "pentagon climate change" in MetaFilter posts. I remembered the original leak, and guessed I'd probably heard about it here. Poor research, wendell.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:58 PM on February 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Digg? Reddit? WTF? Is this a story about Ron Paul?
posted by Artw at 4:06 PM on February 23, 2008


Adjust your "dates of doom" to be +/- anywhere between 25 and 100 years.

OMG! It might have already happened 25 - 100 years ago!?!?!
posted by fairmettle at 4:16 PM on February 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Digg? Reddit? WTF? Is this a story about Ron Paul?
Ron Paul is the only candidate who has a real plan for global warming! Only he will stop global warming by bringing back the gold standard!

and he's got a blimp
posted by Flunkie at 4:21 PM on February 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dry hair is for squids.
posted by flabdablet at 4:22 PM on February 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


Blimps are for bids.
posted by Krrrlson at 4:32 PM on February 23, 2008


Ron Paul has a blimp? Aw, I wasted my vote! And now there's global warming!
posted by dirigibleman at 4:32 PM on February 23, 2008


mr_crash_davis writes "Release the Kraken!"

For everything else, there's Mastercard !
posted by elpapacito at 4:34 PM on February 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Surely this [time].
posted by Poolio at 4:41 PM on February 23, 2008


Ok, I have a sustainable farm. If you tell me how to secure it, I might let you know where it is. Also, I intend to grow a lot of marijuana - there'll bound to be a strong market for it.
posted by DenOfSizer at 4:48 PM on February 23, 2008


I remember this from back in the day. It is indeed a hypothetical, but it's still worth the excitement it's belatedly getting.

The point is that 1) the Pentagon does seem to think that climate change has a reasonable degree of likelihood and more important that 2) "the threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism".

These are significant points. It shows a rational person would put a lot of weight on combating the threat of climate change because of the extremely high risks of failure. Further comments unneeded.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 4:49 PM on February 23, 2008


Please everyone reread empath's comment above. The Pentagon has legions of people whose job it is to sit around and wonder what if. This is a "what if global warming was as catastrophic as everyone says". I assure you there are reports in the pentagon about what would happen if aliens visited the earth, if the moon spun out of its orbit, if we got hit by an asteroid etc. It's like a library of every conceivable script treatment that could be turned into a Michael Bay film. This does not mean that the Pentagon knows something top secret about global warming.
posted by Pastabagel at 5:26 PM on February 23, 2008


Despite the weird rehash by "Cory" (sleep deprivation?) via "Kevin", "Mark" was obviously right to note this originally. According to this, by 2020 everything goes to shit and drowns in sweltering heat. This is obviously true because "Ridley" and "Phil" showed us exactly how much it would be raining in late 2019.
posted by meehawl at 5:31 PM on February 23, 2008


Let's put it this way:

Bush and Cheney take orders from two groups of people: energy industries and war profiteers.

If a Pentagon report says that resources will be scarce and that the human species will be plunged into endless wars as a result of climate change, that just means more profits for energy industries and war profiteers.

All this report means is that it's time to invest in the stock market again. Do your patriotic duty, good Americans!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:57 PM on February 23, 2008


"You can never be too sure. That's what I was saying in 1985 about 2008."

Yeah, me too actually. I think my sense of urgency is broken now.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 6:26 PM on February 23, 2008


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