Climate and National Security with Admiral David Titley

May 1, 2014

Policy Mic:

We need to step up: And top naval commanders, such as retired Navy Rear Adm. David Titley, think it’s important for the military to meet the challenges of global climate change. The former admiral told Slate‘s Eric Holthaus that the military establishment thinks it’s one of the biggest long-term planning issues that needs to be handled.

“Climate change did not cause the Arab spring, but could it have been a contributing factor? I think that seems pretty reasonable,” Titley comments.

“Let me give you a few examples of how [climate change] might play out … [Here’s one:] We basically do nothing on emissions. Sea level keeps rising, three to six feet by the end of the century. Then, you get a series of super-typhoons into Shanghai and millions of people die. Does the population there lose faith in Chinese government? Does China start to fissure? I’d prefer to deal with a rising, dominant China any day.”

Recognize: Titley also has a few choice words for the majority of Americans who aren’t concerned about climate change — which is about 65% of the country — saying they’re being misled by a “libertarian agenda that tried to convince the public the science was uncertain.”

“Where are the free-market, conservative ideas?” he asks. “The science is settled. Instead, we should have a legitimate policy debate between the center-right and the center-left on what to do about climate change. If you’re a conservative — half of America — why would you take yourself out of the debate? C’mon, don’t be stupid. Conservative people want to conserve things. Preserving the climate should be high on that list.”

Below, excerpt from a TED talk by then Chief Oceanographer of the US Navy, Admiral David Titley.


10 Responses to “Climate and National Security with Admiral David Titley”

  1. Free market works better when we accept the truth of a situation.

    A free market also needs a good government to achieve its highest function. It would not be favoring one niche of a market, but an overall stable market.

    • Free-market theory is based on good (if not perfect) information.

      What we have now is a powerful campaign of DISinformation.

    • rayduray Says:

      Free markets, unfettered of regulation, tend toward chaotic extremes. Any sensible reading of the history of capitalism includes a study of periods of irrational euphoria followed by cataclysmic irrational panics.

      For anyone to believe that markets are stable is the sign of a significantly naive and uneducated mind regurgitating the religious beliefs of the bought-and-paid for economists who infest the Anglo-American system today.

      You’ll do yourself a tremendous favor by applying you mind to reading about how the FRB is today in the business of creating financial bubbles as their only solution toward maintaining the constant growth that is the ideal of the capitalist system.

      If you are honest, you will note that in the 1970s a goosing of the economy with the FRB printing money generally netted about the same improvement to the GDP as was incurred in increasing debt. This monetary tool is no longer as effective as it was 40 years ago. Look at the FRB’s balance sheet. It is a scandal. Since 2008 the balance sheet has ballooned 500% and net economic activity is barely ahead of where it was in 2007.

      We are at the edge of a precipice where no matter what silly financial bubbles the FRB creates, no matter what sort of distortions the FRB, BLS, Council of Economic Advisers and Wall Street try to sprinkle as pixie dust over the benighted believers in “free markets”, eventually even the most intrasigently stupid observers are going to have to admit that the capitalist system is failing vastly more people than it is aiding today.

      Economists will be the last to know.

      “Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” — Kenneth Boulding

  2. […] Policy Mic: We need to step up: And top naval commanders, such as retired Navy Rear Adm. David Titley, think it's important for the military to meet the challenges of global climate change. The for…  […]

  3. redskylite Says:

    Just to reiterate 30% – 40% of CO2 dumped into the atmosphere by our fossil fuel burning, ends up in the ocean where a chemical reaction takes place and acidity is increased, damage to our sea critters is getting more obvious and will worsen if we do not face the problem and change our energy habits soon.

    “In a troubling new discovery, scientists studying ocean waters off California, Oregon and Washington have found the first evidence that increasing acidity in the ocean is dissolving the shells of a key species of tiny sea creature at the base of the food chain.”

    Is it really that difficult ?

  4. rayduray Says:

    National Security My Ass!

    Gentlemen and Ladies,

    Let’s consider reality. While we seem to be still capable of doing so, I’m afraid our U.S. military and the White House have totally lost their grip on reality.

    Ukraine. Does Barack Obama actually know where this is located other than as a square on the Grand Chessboard? I doubt it.

    Read the insane lust in the heart of Zbigniew Brzezinski in his chapter on how the North American based nation of the United States is to subdue greater Eurasia in the 21st Century:

    Obama and his lunatic entourage apparently actually believe this claptrap nonsense.

    We, as a people, need to come to our senses. NATO is not our friend, the U.S .military is not our friend. These overgrown outgrowths of World War II view we citizens as a weak enemy to be parasitized. And stolen from.

    What in god’s name are we doing sending aggressive military forces to the borders of Russia for? What is it that our so-called “leaders(sic)” are hoping to perpetrate in our name?

    For god’s sakes, people. If the idiots in Washington create nuclear winter, we can kiss our hobby horse climate change a long last kiss in the cusp of death.

    Let’s not go there. Let’s not glorify “national security”. All it has led to is us standing on the knife’s edge precipice of war and annihilation.

    We can do better. We must do better. We must not put war-waging maniacs on pedestals.

    • redskylite Says:

      “all war represents a failure of diplomacy” – quote from the late anti-war British politician Anthony Wedgwood Benn.

      Nuclear winter is a worry from the early 1980’s, a time when anti nuclear protests were more prevalent than today. After the cold war disintegrated, the Berlin Wall dismantled and Gorbachev awarded the Otto Hahn peace medal for his contributions to nuclear disarmament of the great powers and “the creation of a fundamentally new political order in Europe”, the phrase was not used so much.

      The military is also used for much good, I was born in a post war defeated country where my father was in a military engineering unit rebuilding bridges and getting the countries transport systems up and running again after the second world war. The U.S C.O.E do great engineering works, both for the military and civilian populations (and I am proud to have worked with them in Saudi) .

      War is just an unfortunate part of life when diplomacy breaks down. A nuclear winter would be anthropogenic geo-engineering scheme on a grand scale that may counter our overdosing the biosphere with carbon dioxide.

      Like the worry of buried methane hydrates being released, I being bad at multi-tasking will concentrate my worrying to Carbon Dioxide, and hope the mad war-hawks behave themselves, and the politicians keep them in check.

      A “nuking the sky” blog post from Nasa

  5. cyhalothrin Says:

    A nuclear winter would be anthropogenic geo-engineering scheme on a grand scale that may counter our overdosing the biosphere with carbon dioxide.

    Wow, the AGW problem solved! Furthermore, the overpopulation problem solved!

    A nuclear winter – sounds like a win-win to me. Good work, redskylite.

    • Too many on the right believe that AGW theory is a cover for a plot to take over the world and then rid it of “excess” population.  I’d avoid feeding that meme, if I were you.

  6. […] 2014/05/01: PSinclair: Climate and National Security with Admiral David Titley […]

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