Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Return to Yesterday's Post

I need to update my comments in yesterday's blog post. There have been two comments, each of which I should address in turn.

First, unintentionally mischaracterized Bernard Finel's take on the question of how climate causes conflict. Most of what he writes about in the post is the important point that anybody can cherry-pick information, using different dates to get the results they're looking for. The more important point, that climate change doesn't necessarily cause conflict, I agree with Dr. Finel about. I quote him below.
"The point isn’t that climate change causes conflict anyway. The point is that
climate change is likely to exacerbate existing conflicts. The end of the Cold
War was clearly a more significant influence on trends in conflict than climate
change has been thus far."

Suffice it to say, I agree with that statement. I must have I gotten caught up with arguing about the quoted material, and did not complete my thought process when composing yesterday's post. I hope that this corrects the record.

Secondly, James Jay Carafano (quoted in the Flash Point blog post) writes "dude the climate is always changing". Today's New York Times' Op-Ed piece "Ben Franklin on Global Warming" bears this out. I think he's trying to make the point that climate change isn't caused by human action (and I think he's on the wrong side of the science here). We don't go into the question of whether climate change is man-made or not around here, but from a planning and security perspective, that doesn't really matter. Climate change is likely to be a driver of conflict around the world (though far from the only one) in the 21st Century. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the security community to plan for it. More on this point in a later post.

Also, in hindsight, I was far too glib and condescending about Heritage's positions on climate change. Though I've often not agreed with them (but I very often do), I shouldn't have made such a statement without any support, and I've deleted it from the post.

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