17 April 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

"About five years ago Kilimanjaro was being used as an icon for global warming. We know now that this was far too simplistic a view."
Kilimanjaro's northern glaciers [Credit: Peter Haynes]So a team of scientists from the University of Innsbruck have told the European Geosciences Union General Assembly.

Based on their scientific research (rather than unfounded speculation), precipitation and not temperature is the key to the Tanzanian peak's future. One of their recent publications concludes that rather than changes in 20th century climate being responsible for their demise, glaciers on Kilimanjaro appear to be merely remnants of a past climate that was once able to sustain them.

Yet again, science finds itself at conflict with currently accepted political dogma.

Evening UPDATE: Given American resistance to what many there dismiss as the religio-political arguments of environmentalists, I rather expected the US military in its report National Security and the Threat of Climate Change to focus on practical issues such as oil dependency and energy security, especially given its acknowledgement that "uncertainty exists and debate continues regarding the science and future extent of projected climate changes" and its claim to be "moving beyond the arguments of cause and effect."  For the most part it does so, but the second of its five recommendations comes as something of a surprise.  For even they maintain that "the path to mitigating the worst security consequences of climate change involves reducing global greenhouse gas emissions."

Their five recommendations are:
  1. The national security consequences of climate change should be fully integrated into national security and national defense strategies.
  2. The U.S. should commit to a stronger national and international role to help stabilize climate changes at levels that will avoid significant disruption to global security and stability.
  3. The U.S. should commit to global partnerships that help less developed nations build the capacity and resiliency to better manage climate impacts.
  4. The Department of Defense should enhance its operational capability by accelerating the adoption of improved business processes and innovative technologies that result in improved U.S. combat power through energy efficiency.
  5. DoD should conduct an assessment of the impact on US military installations worldwide of rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and other possible climate change impacts over the next thirty to forty years.