Michael Holliday <[Only registered users see links. ]> wrote in message news:<[Only registered users see links. ]>...
The annual limit for plutonium adds up to somewhere around a third of
a microcurie. A third of a microcurie isn't very much; plutonium is
definitely a very nasty element. Evidently (from your link) these
safety limits are at safe levels - what they are meant for. But
plutonium remains very poisonous. :-/
"Vendicar Decarian" <[Only registered users see links. ]> wrote in message news:<ApYXb.1962$[Only registered users see links. ]>...
For one thing, your logic is completely reversed. I wish people
like you would stop posting to the usenet under the influence of
Oooh, military plans, covert insidious global ruin, "propaganda
industry" (I loved that one!).
Oh well, just another far-left asshole to laugh at when I watch the
"Synthon" <[Only registered users see links. ]> wrote in message
I wasn't aware that Fortune magazine was a "liberal" publication as you
When did that happen? The moment they posted a story that didn't mesh with
your NeoCon/Republican Liedeology?
The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare
The climate could change radically, and fast. That would be the mother of
national security issues.
Monday, January 26, 2004
By David Stipp
Global warming may be bad news for future generations, but let's face it,
of us spend as little time worrying about it as we did about al Qaeda before
9/11. Like the terrorists, though, the seemingly remote climate risk may hit
home sooner and harder than we ever imagined. In fact, the prospect has
so real that the Pentagon's strategic planners are grappling with it.
The threat that has riveted their attention is this: Global warming, rather
than causing gradual, centuries-spanning change, may be pushing the climate
a tipping point. Growing evidence suggests the ocean-atmosphere system that
controls the world's climate can lurch from one state to another in less
decade-like a canoe that's gradually tilted until suddenly it flips over.
Scientists don't know how close the system is to a critical threshold. But
abrupt climate change may well occur in the not-too-distant future. If it
the need to rapidly adapt may overwhelm many societies-thereby upsetting the
geopolitical balance of power.
Though triggered by warming, such change would probably cause cooling in the
Northern Hemisphere, leading to longer, harsher winters in much of the U.S.
Europe. Worse, it would cause massive droughts, turning farmland to dust
and forests to ashes. Picture last fall's California wildfires as a regular
thing. Or imagine similar disasters destabilizing nuclear powers such as
Pakistan or Russia-it's easy to see why the Pentagon has become interested
abrupt climate change.
Climate researchers began getting seriously concerned about it a decade ago,
after studying temperature indicators embedded in ancient layers of Arctic
The data show that a number of dramatic shifts in average temperature took
place in the past with shocking speed-in some cases, just a few years.
The case for angst was buttressed by a theory regarded as the most likely
explanation for the abrupt changes. The eastern U.S. and northern Europe, it
seems, are warmed by a huge Atlantic Ocean current that flows north from the
tropics-that's why Britain, at Labrador's latitude, is relatively temperate.
Pumping out warm, moist air, this "great conveyor" current gets cooler and
denser as it moves north. That causes the current to sink in the North
Atlantic, where it heads south again in the ocean depths. The sinking
draws more water from the south, keeping the roughly circular current on the
But when the climate warms, according to the theory, fresh water from
Arctic glaciers flows into the North Atlantic, lowering the current's
salinity-and its density and tendency to sink. A warmer climate also
increases rainfall and runoff into the current, further lowering its
As a result, the conveyor loses its main motive force and can rapidly
turning off the huge heat pump and altering the climate over much of the
Scientists aren't sure what caused the warming that triggered such collapses
the remote past. (Clearly it wasn't humans and their factories.) But the
from Arctic ice and other sources suggest the atmospheric changes that
earlier collapses were dismayingly similar to today's global warming. As the
Ice Age began drawing to a close about 13,000 years ago, for example,
temperatures in Greenland rose to levels near those of recent decades. Then
they abruptly plunged as the conveyor apparently shut down, ushering in the
"Younger Dryas" period, a 1,300-year reversion to ice-age conditions. (A
is an Arctic flower that flourished in Europe at the time.)
Though Mother Nature caused past abrupt climate changes, the one that may be
shaping up today probably has more to do with us. In 2001 an international
panel of climate experts concluded that there is increasingly strong
that most of the global warming observed over the past 50 years is
to human activities-mainly the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal,
which release heat-trapping carbon dioxide. Indicators of the warming
shrinking Arctic ice, melting alpine glaciers, and markedly earlier springs
northerly latitudes. A few years ago such changes seemed signs of possible
trouble for our kids or grandkids. Today they seem portents of a cataclysm
may not conveniently wait until we're history.
Accordingly, the spotlight in climate research is shifting from gradual to
rapid change. In 2002 the National Academy of Sciences issued a report
concluding that human activities could trigger abrupt change. Last year the
World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, included a session at which
Gagosian, director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in
Massachusetts, urged policymakers to consider the implications of possible
abrupt climate change within two decades.
Such jeremiads are beginning to reverberate more widely. Billionaire Gary
Comer, founder of Lands' End, has adopted abrupt climate change as a
philanthropic cause. Hollywood has also discovered the issue-next summer
Century Fox is expected to release The Day After Tomorrow, a big-budget
disaster movie starring Dennis Quaid as a scientist trying to save the world
from an ice age precipitated by global warming.
Fox's flick will doubtless be apocalyptically edifying. But what would
climate change really be like?
Scientists generally refuse to say much about that, citing a data deficit. B
recently, renowned Department of Defense planner Andrew Marshall sponsored a
groundbreaking effort to come to grips with the question. A Pentagon legend,
Marshall, 82, is known as the Defense Department's "Yoda"-a balding,
bespectacled sage whose pronouncements on looming risks have long had an
outsized influence on defense policy. Since 1973 he has headed a secretive
think tank whose role is to envision future threats to national security.
Department of Defense's push on ballistic-missile defense is known as his
brainchild. Three years ago Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld picked him to
lead a sweeping review on military "transformation," the shift toward nimble
forces and smart weapons.
When scientists' work on abrupt climate change popped onto his radar screen,
Marshall tapped another eminent visionary, Peter Schwartz, to write a report
the national-security implications of the threat. Schwartz formerly headed
planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group and has since consulted with
ranging from the CIA to DreamWorks-he helped create futuristic scenarios for
Steven Spielberg's film Minority Report. Schwartz and co-author Doug Randall
the Monitor Group's Global Business Network, a scenario-planning think tank
Emeryville, Calif., contacted top climate experts and pushed them to talk
what-ifs that they usually shy away from-at least in public.
The result is an unclassified report, completed late last year, that the
Pentagon has agreed to share with FORTUNE. It doesn't pretend to be a
Rather, it sketches a dramatic but plausible scenario to help planners think
about coping strategies. Here is an abridged version:
A total shutdown of the ocean conveyor might lead to a big chill like the
Younger Dryas, when icebergs appeared as far south as the coast of Portugal.
the conveyor might only temporarily slow down, potentially causing an era
the "Little Ice Age," a time of hard winters, violent storms, and droughts
between 1300 and 1850. That period's weather extremes caused horrific
but it was mild compared with the Younger Dryas.
For planning purposes, it makes sense to focus on a midrange case of abrupt
change. A century of cold, dry, windy weather across the Northern Hemisphere
that suddenly came on 8,200 years ago fits the bill-its severity fell
that of the Younger Dryas and the Little Ice Age. The event is thought to
been triggered by a conveyor collapse after a time of rising temperatures
unlike today's global warming. Suppose it recurred, beginning in 2010. Here
some of the things that might happen by 2020:
At first the changes are easily mistaken for normal weather
variation-allowing skeptics to dismiss them as a "blip" of little importance
and leaving policymakers and the public paralyzed with uncertainty. But by
there is little doubt that something drastic is happening. The average
temperature has fallen by up to five degrees Fahrenheit in some regions of
North America and Asia and up to six degrees in parts of Europe. (By
comparison, the average temperature over the North Atlantic during the last
age was ten to 15 degrees lower than it is today.) Massive droughts have
in key agricultural regions. The average annual rainfall has dropped by
30% in northern Europe, and its climate has become more like Siberia's.
Violent storms are increasingly common as the conveyor becomes wobbly on its
way to collapse. A particularly severe storm causes the ocean to break
levees in the Netherlands, making coastal cities such as the Hague
In California the delta island levees in the Sacramento River area are
breached, disrupting the aqueduct system transporting water from north to
Megadroughts afflict the U.S., especially in the southern states, along with
winds that are 15% stronger on average than they are now, causing widespread
dust storms and soil loss. The U.S. is better positioned to cope than most
nations, however, thanks to its diverse growing climates, wealth,
and abundant resources. That has a downside, though: It magnifies the
haves-vs.-have-nots gap and fosters bellicose finger-pointing at America.
Turning inward, the U.S. effectively seeks to build a fortress around itself
preserve resources. Borders are strengthened to hold back starving
from Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean islands-waves of boat people
pose especially grim problems. Tension between the U.S. and Mexico rises as
U.S. reneges on a 1944 treaty that guarantees water flow from the Colorado
River into Mexico. America is forced to meet its rising energy demand with
options that are costly both economically and politically, including nuclear
power and onerous Middle Eastern contracts. Yet it survives without
Europe, hardest hit by its temperature drop, struggles to deal with
from Scandinavia seeking warmer climes to the south. Southern Europe is
beleaguered by refugees from hard-hit countries in Africa and elsewhere. But
Western Europe's wealth helps buffer it from catastrophe.
Australia's size and resources help it cope, as does its location-the
conveyor shutdown mainly affects the Northern Hemisphere. Japan has fewer
resources but is able to draw on its social cohesion to cope-its government
is able to induce population-wide behavior changes to conserve resources.
China's huge population and food demand make it particularly vulnerable. It
hit by increasingly unpredictable monsoon rains, which cause devastating
in drought-denuded areas. Other parts of Asia and East Africa are similarly
stressed. Much of Bangladesh becomes nearly uninhabitable because of a
sea level, which contaminates inland water supplies. Countries whose
already produces conflict, such as India and Indonesia, are hard-pressed to
maintain internal order while coping with the unfolding changes.
As the decade progresses, pressures to act become irresistible-history shows
that whenever humans have faced a choice between starving or raiding, they
raid. Imagine Eastern European countries, struggling to feed their
invading Russia-which is weakened by a population that is already in
decline-for access to its minerals and energy supplies. Or picture Japan
eyeing nearby Russian oil and gas reserves to power desalination plants and
energy-intensive farming. Envision nuclear-armed Pakistan, India, and China
skirmishing at their borders over refugees, access to shared rivers, and
land. Or Spain and Portugal fighting over fishing rights-fisheries are
disrupted around the world as water temperatures change, causing fish to
migrate to new habitats.
Growing tensions engender novel alliances. Canada joins fortress America in
North American bloc. (Alternatively, Canada may seek to keep its abundant
hydropower for itself, straining its ties with the energy-hungry U.S.) North
and South Korea align to create a technically savvy, nuclear-armed entity.
Europe forms a truly unified bloc to curb its immigration problems and
against aggressors. Russia, threatened by impoverished neighbors in dire
straits, may join the European bloc.
Nuclear arms proliferation is inevitable. Oil supplies are stretched thin as
climate cooling drives up demand. Many countries seek to shore up their
supplies with nuclear energy, accelerating nuclear proliferation. Japan,
Korea, and Germany develop nuclear-weapons capabilities, as do Iran, Egypt,
North Korea. Israel, China, India, and Pakistan also are poised to use the
The changes relentlessly hammer the world's "carrying capacity"-the natural
resources, social organizations, and economic networks that support the
population. Technological progress and market forces, which have long helped
boost Earth's carrying capacity, can do little to offset the crisis-it is
widespread and unfolds too fast.
As the planet's carrying capacity shrinks, an ancient pattern reemerges: the
eruption of desperate, all-out wars over food, water, and energy supplies.
Harvard archeologist Steven LeBlanc has noted, wars over resources were the
norm until about three centuries ago. When such conflicts broke out, 25% of
population's adult males usually died. As abrupt climate change hits home,
warfare may again come to define human life.
Over the past decade, data have accumulated suggesting that the plausibility
abrupt climate change is higher than most of the scientific community, and
perhaps all of the political community, are prepared to accept. In light of
such findings, we should be asking when abrupt change will happen, what the
impacts will be, and how we can prepare-not whether it will really happen.
fact, the climate record suggests that abrupt change is inevitable at some
point, regardless of human activity. Among other things, we should:
.. Speed research on the forces that can trigger abrupt climate change, how
unfolds, and how we'll know it's occurring.
.. Sponsor studies on the scenarios that might play out, including
social, economic, and political fallout on key food-producing regions.
.. Identify "no regrets" strategies to ensure reliable access to food and
water and to ensure our national security.
.. Form teams to prepare responses to possible massive migration, and food
.. Explore ways to offset abrupt cooling-today it appears easier to warm
than to cool the climate via human activities, so there may be
"geo-engineering" options available to prevent a catastrophic temperature
In sum, the risk of abrupt climate change remains uncertain, and it is quite
possibly small. But given its dire consequences, it should be elevated
scientific debate. Action now matters, because we may be able to reduce its
likelihood of happening, and we can certainly be better prepared if it does.
is time to recognize it as a national security concern.
The Pentagon's reaction to this sobering report isn't known-in keeping with
his reputation for reticence, Andy Marshall declined to be interviewed. But
fact that he's concerned may signal a sea change in the debate about global
warming. At least some federal thought leaders may be starting to perceive
climate change less as a political annoyance and more as an issue demanding
If so, the case for acting now to address climate change, long a hard sell
Washington, may be gaining influential support, if only behind the scenes.
Policymakers may even be emboldened to take steps such as tightening
fuel-economy standards for new passenger vehicles, a measure that would
simultaneously lower emissions of greenhouse gases, reduce America's
reliance on OPEC oil, cut its trade deficit, and put money in consumers'
pockets. Oh, yes-and give the Pentagon's fretful Yoda a little less to worry
Back to the carbon dioxide issue? If CO2 triggers cooling by
shutting down the circulation of the Gulf stream perhaps the
solution will be to burn more carbon based fuel not less.
After all in the distant past, the fan palms grew in Greenland.
Perhaps humans can restore that environmental regimen.
"Vendicar Decarian" <VD@Pyro.net> wrote in message