Forecast Says Climate Change Changes Everything

by lizard

My second to last article from the Missoulian I can access on my phone this month without paying to subscribe is a really interesting article about a UM professor deemed a “super forecaster” by the CIA:

Karen Ruth Adams stood before a Model United Nations class at the University of Montana on Tuesday, preparing students for careers in public policy, international affairs and high school teaching.

While far away from Washington, D.C., this academic environment is fitting for Adams, a professor of political science and scholar who has earned a reputation for predicting world events before they happen.

Given her skills, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity and its Good Judgment Project recognized Adams as a “super forecaster.” It’s a lighthearted term with serious implications, capable of changing how the U.S. intelligence community tracks crises around the world.

“The project is a think tank that’s affiliated with the Central Intelligence Agency,” Adams said Tuesday before class. “IARPA is a think tank known for doing innovative research that gets weeded out through competition and analysis, and different agencies of the U.S. government can pick it up if they’re interested.”

This seems like a more passive version of the Human Terrain System—an attempt to use social sciences to improve the poorly-defined military campaign in Afghanistan. From Wiki:

The Human Terrain System (HTS) is a United States Army, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) support program employing personnel from the social science disciplines – such as anthropology, sociology, political science, regional studies and linguistics – to provide military commanders and staff with an understanding of the local population (i.e. the “human terrain”) in the regions in which they are deployed.

I wonder what Karen Ruth Adams thinks about the “threat multiplier” of climate change. We already know what the Pentagon thinks. Here is an article from Fox news for the conservative regulars here:

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday described climate change as a national security threat — at a time when the U.S. military is battling the Islamic State in the Mideast, responding to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, and monitoring tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

The Defense secretary addressed the issue during a speech in Peru, as the Pentagon released a comprehensive report on the “national security” challenges posed by rising global temperatures and “extreme weather events.”

Hagel described climate change as a “threat multiplier,” saying it “has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we already confront today — from infectious disease to armed insurgencies — and to produce new challenges in the future.”

It’s hard to tell if this actually Chuck Hagel’s views being represented in this article. It’s entirely possible Al Gore kidnapped Chuck Hagel, then used CGI technology to sucker even Fox News into reporting on climate change like it’s a real thing.

Climate change actually is a totally real thing guaranteed to significantly exacerbate global conflicts. The Pentagon knows this, and is preparing accordingly.

Naomi Klein also knows this and she was even nice enough to write a book about how this changes everything:

If global warming is a worldwide wake-up call, we’re all pretty heavy sleepers. It’s telling that 20 years after the United Nations acknowledged the threat of human-driven climate change, we’re still basically at a loss for how to get going on the solution. In fact, we’re spewing more greenhouse gases than ever. Why is that? Ask 10 people — 10 self-identified environmentalists, even — and you’re likely to get 10 different answers.

The real reason, argues journalist Naomi Klein in her new book, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate,” is the one thing that the political right has right: Transitioning quickly to a low-carbon society is going to hurt. Contrary to the mission statements of win-win industry partnerships championed by some green groups, Klein writes, wrangling greenhouse gas emissions to within a scientifically recommended level will not be painless. The issue unearths no less than “a much broader battle of worldviews,” she says — “a process of rebuilding and reinventing the very idea of the collective, the communal, the commons, the civil, and the civic after so many decades of attack and neglect.”

In other words, the root of the carbon problem is capitalism, says Klein. Or at least the kind of unfettered, absolutist “disaster capitalism” that was the target of her previous effort, “The Shock Doctrine.” In that sense, the aptly titled “This Changes Everything” might be seen as the third volume in Klein’s controversial and thoroughly researched challenge to neoliberal ideology.

The essence of her argument is that taking on climate change is a fleeting opportunity to right structural wrongs in political and socioeconomic systems that have stood largely unchallenged for decades. Given the problem’s size, Klein says, the only way forward is radical change. So the political right’s willingness to sow doubt about long-settled science and denounce climate moderates as nefarious communists belies not a willful ignorance so much as a recognition of the issue’s real scope.

Klein, as usual, hits the mark.


  1. mike

    Naomi Klein, LMFAO.

    • lizard19

      mike I think you are suffering from a condition known as cluster commenting. it usually flares up late at night and is exacerbated by the use of alcohol. it’s ok, there’s help. all you have to do is start by admitting you have a problem ;)

  2. steve kelly

    LMFAO. I had to look that one up.

    Now that you’ve presumably reattached your ass, how about sharing your thoughts on “…Klein’s controversial and thoroughly researched challenge to neoliberal ideology.”

    One possible suggestion: Neoliberalism does not equal capitalism.

    “Neoliberalism is the antithesis of democracy.”
    Henry A. Giroux

    • lizard19

      it doesn’t matter what the polls say, the issues people do care about will be impacted by climate change. climate change has been a factor in unrest in the Middle East, it will displace large amounts of people, which will impact immigration and make it more difficult to contain diseases like Ebola.

      like I said, it changes everything.

      • Craig Moore

        Nice grasp of the obvious. The earth continually experiences climate cycles and dramatic events. There has never been stasis.

        • lizard19

          your head-in-the-sand climate change denial is duly noted, Craig. I’m sure those at the Pentagon are just exaggerating what is clearly just some natural cycle that humans have nothing to do with.

        • JC

          The earth also has experienced many extinction events. And we’re in the early phase of one right now.

  3. steve kelly

    Would you ask a 5th grader to read Tolstoy and comment on the conplexity and contradictions in Russian culture? Is it not equally insane to discuss science with the scientifically illiterate?

    “Approximately 28 percent of American adults currently qualify as scientifically literate, an increase from around 10 percent in the late 1980s and early 1990s, according to Miller’s research.” Jon Miller, Michigan State University, 2007

    Debating global warming has become a political/social/cultural wedge issue selected to distract us from discussing root causes and appropriate treatments. Why not address root causes instead of spinning wheels on symptoms all the time?

    I think neoliberal ideology is simple enough for most people to comprehend. It is a global root cause that gets to a lot of symptoms affecting a lot of people. Oui, ou non?

  4. Mike’s right. LMFAO.

    “In reading Naomi Klein’s new book, This Changes Everything –
    a friendly-looking tome with a sky-blue cover – I couldn’t help but recall what Whittaker Chambers’ remark, in reviewing Ayn Rand’s classic that, “(f)rom almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: “to the gas chambers — go!”” This is a book that will seduce many people with its tales of various indigenous people standing up against further development and its surface-level commitment to humanitarian aims, but it is also the work of profound evil. This is a totalitarian book that aims to advance totalitarian aims in the guise of combating a supposed emergency. As Klein herself admits, she herself truly began to engage with these issues only when she realized that the aims of environmental radicalism provided a rationale for the adoption of ultra-left positions more generally. In writing this book, Klein has done the world a profound service in a surely-unintended fashion: she has set out in crystal-clear fashion the slightly-hidden agenda that lies behind most so-called “environmental” initiatives: the destruction of capitalism and Western Civilization.

    If you think my last sentence was hyperbolic, you should read the book yourself. In it Klein advocates a program that would see a radical redistribution of wealth, not only from the “1% to the 99% within the advanced industrial nations, but on a global basis. She approvingly quotes one academic as, “envision(ing) that “hours of paid work and income could converge worldwide at substantially lower levels than is seen in the developed countries of today.””-Yoshida

  5. steve kelly

    Among the probably thousands of Yoshidas, which one are you (channeling) pretending to know something about today, Swede?

    • Right now I’m channeling Saul Alinsky.

      * RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)

      * RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.” There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions. (Pretty crude, rude and mean, huh? They want to create anger and fear.)

  6. Craig Moore

    The number of natural disasters in the past year was the lowest for ten years, not more. The proceeds from the “World Disasters Report 2014” produced by the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) published in Geneva on Thursday. Accordingly, last year 337 natural disasters were recorded, almost half of the peak level 2005 The death toll stood at 22’452, well below the average for the decade of 97’954 victims.

    Most people, therefore, were killed in floods, followed by storms. The two largest natural disasters were the typhoon “Haiyan”, the Philippines killed, followed by floods due to the monsoon in June in India with 6054 deaths in 7986 people November 2013.

    The dead were also detected in technological disasters. Again, the number stood at 6711, well below the average of the decade. Most of the victims were in the collapse of a building in textile factories in Bangladesh, where 1,127 people died.

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