Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"The Political Consequences of Climate Change"

The lates issue of Survival includes an article by Paul Herman, of the National Intelligence Council, and Greg Treverton, of RAND, about the political and strategic consequences of climate change. Here is a link to the article (subscription required).

On first read, this is a smart and cogent analysis of the issue, that doesn't go into the hyperbole that often comes on this issue. Here is a quote:

"Over the medium term, however, climate change is not likely to
involve simple causality and a stark, one-to-one correspondence. Climate
impacts may be all but imperceptible for states already beset with acute
ongoing problems, such as Afghanistan, North Korea and Zimbabwe."

I agree with their perception that those hyping the security implications of climate change can sometimes go over the top, but unfortunately it seems that's the only way to be heard. In our competetive media marketplace, it seems the only way a new study on climate change can be heard is if it predicts gloom and doom. Those that predict a slow, almost imperciptible erosion of living standards and a marginal, but important, effect on foreign policy will be inevitably ignored by the mainstream media.

So, we're in a 'catch-22.' You can't get noticed if you present a reasoned, scholarly view; but you can't present a reasoned view, if you want to bring attention and importance to this debate. How do we overcome this?

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