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By Brian Robinson

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At least the military is serious about climate change

The kind of dramatic weather that Washington has been having this winter seems to bring out the loopier sides of the climate-change debate, from which you might deduce that the serious stuff is hibernating.

Not so, it seems. The Pentagon has decided to view climate change as a major global destabilizing force and, as a part of its Quadrennial Defense Review, will direct military planners to keep track of the latest intelligence about climate change, and to factor it into their strategic planning, according to a draft of the review that The Guardian newspaper got its mitts on.

This isn’t exactly a new thing. As the article points out, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed for the military to consider the impact of climate change when she was a senator. But now it’s becoming part of doctrine.

The military has been aware of the threat for some years, however, for the long-term security impact on various areas around the world, and the impact that the kind of energy insecurity that could result from this may have on military operations.

That’s the reasoning behind a new Marine Corps solar energy source for powering computers and communications in the field, which is expected to be deployed with fighting units soon. And that’s just a part of the Navy’s push on alternative energy sources.

The civilian side of government, by the way, is also looking to boost its activities with a proposed new agency, the NOAA Climate Service, that focus on providing government information on climate change.

This all posits a question. Rightly or wrongly the Republican Party – think Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and lawmakers such as Sen. James Inhofe – has become the party of climate-change unbelievers. However, it supposedly is also the party of national defense and strong support for the military.

When it gets a measure of decision-making power back in Congress, what will it say to our military commanders?

Posted by Brian Robinson on Feb 11, 2010 at 9:03 AM

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