Democracy Has Prevailed.

May 24, 2015

The Tribune-Review Editorial Board Distorts Obama (and Climate Science). Again.

Here's the whole mound of malinformation in today's Tribune-Review:
President Obama used his commencement address to the latest class of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy to once again elevate “climate change” to a “serious threat” to our national security. He even blamed the rise of Boko Haram and Syria's civil war on climate change. Thus, erasing any remaining doubts that this president is the most delusional in our history. What's next, blaming ISIS' Christian genocide on global warming? [Bolding in original.]
In order to unravel we have to back to the source material, the president's speech at the Coast Guard Academy.

Sentence one - [President Obama used his commencement address to the latest class of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy to once again elevate “climate change” to a “serious threat” to our national security.]

Here's how it looks in the president's speech:
Here at the Academy, climate change -- understanding the science and the consequences -- is part of the curriculum, and rightly so, because it will affect everything that you do in your careers. Some of you have already served in Alaska and aboard icebreakers, and you know the effects. As America’s Maritime Guardian, you’ve pledged to remain always ready -- Semper Paratus -- ready for all threats. And climate change is one of those most severe threats.

And this is not just a problem for countries on the coasts, or for certain regions of the world. Climate change will impact every country on the planet. No nation is immune. So I’m here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security. And make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. And so we need to act -- and we need to act now.

After all, isn’t that the true hallmark of leadership? When you’re on deck, standing your watch, you stay vigilant. You plan for every contingency. And if you see storm clouds gathering, or dangerous shoals ahead, you don't sit back and do nothing. You take action -- to protect your ship, to keep your crew safe. Anything less is negligence. It is a dereliction of duty. And so, too, with climate change. Denying it, or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces.
This isn't just Obama preaching.  The Department of Defense has also made roughly the same point in its Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap of 2014.  Here are the first three paragraphs of the report's foreward:
The responsibility of the Department of Defense is the security of our country. That requires thinking ahead and planning for a wide range of contingencies.

Among the future trends that will impact our national security is climate change. Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. They will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe.

In our defense strategy, we refer to climate change as a “threat multiplier” because it has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we are dealing with today – from infectious disease to terrorism. We are already beginning to see some of these impacts
Sentence two - [He even blamed the rise of Boko Haram and Syria's civil war on climate change.]

Yea, with that one, the braintrust is stretching the truth so far they're kilo- or perhaps megaparsecs away from reality.  Here's what the president actually said about Boko Haram:
Understand, climate change did not cause the conflicts we see around the world. Yet what we also know is that severe drought helped to create the instability in Nigeria that was exploited by the terrorist group Boko Haram. It’s now believed that drought and crop failures and high food prices helped fuel the early unrest in Syria, which descended into civil war in the heart of the Middle East. So, increasingly, our military and our combatant commands, our services -- including the Coast Guard -- will need to factor climate change into plans and operations, because you need to be ready. [Emphases added.]
See that?  The president is, more or less, repeating what's already been published by the DOD roadmap (see above).  But if you want to see something more, this is from page 8 of the DOD's 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review:
Climate change poses another significant challenge for the United States and the world at large. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea levels are rising, average global temperatures are increasing, and severe weather patterns are accelerating. These changes, coupled with other global dynamics, including growing, urbanizing, more affluent populations, and substantial economic growth in India, China, Brazil, and other nations, will devastate homes, land, and infrastructure. Climate change may exacerbate water scarcity and lead to sharp increases in food costs. The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world. These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence. [Emphasis added.]
So not so silly an idea, is it?  And yet the braintrust seems to think that mockery is the best response to the president's assertion.

Sentence three - [Thus, erasing any remaining doubts that this president is the most delusional in our history.]

Given how clearly the DOD (THE DOD!!) describes the "serious threat" of climate change, I'll leave it to you to decide who's being delusional - the president or the editorial board of the Tribune-Review.

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