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The Phony Climate War
Peter Smith • 12 Dec, 2021 • 4 Min Read
Steady on, boys.
President Biden is on record as saying that top Pentagon officials consider climate change to be the "greatest threat" to America’s national security in the coming years. Go figure. Military men mistaking hot days for onrushing barbarian hordes?
It is a truth universally acknowledged that some aging or retired military men (not all, I rush to say) go soft in the head, so to speak. And, if it isn’t universally acknowledged, it should be. I took a tour in Israel in November 2014, organised by Shurat HaDin. The tour had a military and intelligence bent. At one point we stood near the “Green Line” (the border in 1967, prior to the Six-Day War) at Alfei Menashe. Tel Aviv was a mere 16 km away as the crow or armoured shell flies. It’s obviously an indefensible border for Israel. A retired general was speaking to us. Wars don’t solve anything, he said.
Being a troublemaker, I queried, what about WWII? He was obviously annoyed with me and retorted that WWII was an exception. I just about resisted piping up with, how about the Six-Day War? What I took away is that you don’t necessarily want retired generals fighting your wars lest they’ve become deluded peacemakers in the face of implacable enemies or, worse, woke.
Talking of woke, General Mark Milley, struggling with his white rage, is not yet retired, sadly. David Morrison, chief of the Australian Army from 2011 to 2015, whose forte was diversity and inclusion, is retired, thankfully. Regrettably, neither stands out from the crowd these days among senior military men, former and current. Assertive masculinity has taken a bit of a hit among the top brass in Western armies in modern times. Colonel Jessup need not apply. For our survival, we can only hope that China is not slipping behind in the diversity, inclusion, and transgender-surgery stakes.
The forgoing is a bridge to my lack of surprise to find a new climate group popping up in Australia, populated mostly by former senior commanders in the army, navy and air force. Australian Security Leaders Climate Group (ASLCG) is its moniker. “Missing in Action” is the title of its first report, issued in September this year.
Who is missing in action? Why Australia; which, according to the report, “has repeatedly ignored the risks and is ill-prepared for the security implications of devastating climate impacts at home and in the Asia-Pacific.” Much hype follows; e.g., “responding to the climate threat is fundamental to the survival of the nation.” But it’s the lies rather than the rhetorical hyperbole which got my attention.
Maybe I’m old fashioned. Military types may turn into shadows of their former gung-ho selves; they may even become susceptible to wokeness and green Kool-Aid. I don’t expect them to speak with forked tongues. Yet there it was staring at me:
Today, unimaginable new climate extremes confront us: record-breaking droughts and floods, cruel heatwaves, unstoppable bushfires, broken infrastructure, and coastal inundation. Worse is expected to come.
A wild thought. If man-made catastrophic climate change is so compelling, why do they have to make up lies about it?
I will take the ASLCG falsehoods in turn; mostly with reference to the experiences of the United States and Australia. I won’t turn to graphs and trends and the like. I’ll just pick out some teaching events. Events which might broaden the historical perspective of these born-again climate warriors; and, maybe, even deter them, and others like them, from telling porkies quite as brazenly as they seem inclined to do. First to droughts.
According to NOAA, “the 1930s ‘Dust Bowl’ drought remains the most significant drought – meteorological and agricultural – in the United States’ historical record.” According to National Museum Australia, “the ‘Federation Drought’ from 1895 to 1903 was the worst in Australia’s history, if measured by the enormous stock losses it caused [moreover] South-Eastern Australia experienced 27 drought years between 1788 and 1860, and at least 10 major droughts between 1860 and 2000.” From ten-a-penny droughts to flooding plains.
The Mississippi Flood of 1927 is “one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States.” In Australia on 24 June 1852, “a catastrophic flood swept through the New South Wales town of Gundagai… The disaster is still the deadliest flood in Australia’s recorded history.” To heat waves...
The period from 1930 to 1936 brought some of the hottest summers recorded in the United States. “For the Upper Mississippi River Valley, the first few weeks of July 1936 provided the hottest temperatures of that period, including many all-time record highs.” Despite the Australian Bureau of Meteorology trying to scrub the inconvenient measurement from history, the highest temperature ever recorded in Australia was 51.7°C in Bourke, in outback NSW, on January 3, 1909. How much CO2 was around then?
On bushfires, I’ll stick with Australia. You will might recall that “Australia ablaze” set the Hollywood set abuzz during the 2019-20 Australian summer. Here’s Bjorn Lomborg: “Fires burned 10 percent of Australia's land surface on average every year in 20th century… this century 6 percent [and in] 2019-20 [less than] 4 percent.” Those pesky inconvenient facts again, undoing lies.
On broken infrastructure, let’s go to Galveston in 1900 and to the greatest natural disaster in the history of the United States. Evidently, former military men are in need of a history lesson and a geography lesson too when it comes to inundation. To wit, the plight of sinking Pacific Islands never fails to bring out the begging bowls at annual COPs. Inconveniently, recent research by the University of Auckland, “found atolls in the Marshall Islands, Kiribati and the Maldives archipelago have grown up to eight percent in size over the past six decades, despite sea level rise.”
It's a case of never mind the truth when it comes to the phony climate war. The retired military brass wants to see Australia “mobilising all the resources necessary to reach zero emissions as fast as possible.” Apparently, the cause is so flimsy that only propaganda will rally the troops. Incidentally, I haven’t nearly picked up all of the make-believe. Prime example: “In vulnerable countries, governments have collapsed and civil wars have erupted, forcefully displacing millions of people looking for a safe haven.” They must live in an alternative universe or in a Walter Mitty world. And to think, we might once have depended on them in time of a real war -- or will have to again.
After a career in economics, banking and payment-systems management, Peter Smith now blogs on the topics of the day. He writes for Quadrant, Australia’s leading conservative online site and magazine. He has written Bad Economics, of which, he notes, there is much.