Climate Changes -- Washington Freezes
(This story originally appeared in WhoWhatWhy.com)
This is the third and final of a three-part series on climate change. See Part I on climate change impacts already happening in Florida, and Part II on how the Pentagon and the oil industry know the North Pole is melting (and why), but are still acting as though global warming is not real, not a threat, and is nothing to worry about, even as they try to profit from it.
To the list of “things the NSA is interested in”, we need to add Climate Chaos. The latest release of documents obtained by National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden, published in Denmark’s newspaper Information, shows that the NSA spied on negotiating teams for the countries participating in the 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen. At that conference, widely declared a failure, the US was accused of playing hardball by refusing to agree to any set limits on carbon emissions. The new spying revelation raises serious questions about whether the US government is really interested in reaching any international agreement to limit global warming—or prefers to monitor and handicap those who actually might want to do something constructive.
More recent evidence that the Washington establishment is fiddling while Nome melts appeared at a January 23 conference in Washington on climate change sponsored by the influential Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a think tank founded during the Cold War.
That conference, “Global Implications of a Rapidly Changing Arctic,” featured three speakers—all key advisors to policymakers—including White House science advisor Dr. Brendan Kelly, assistant director of polar sciences at the Office of Science & Technology, Dr. Martin Jeffries, program officer and assistant science advisor at the Office of Naval Research, US Arctic Research Commission, and Rear Admiral Jonathan White, oceanographer and navigator of the US Navy.
What these three said during the conference was not as remarkable as what they did not say.
Organizer and panel moderator Heather Conley, a senior fellow at CSIS, acknowledged in an interview with WhoWhatWhy the absence of any discussion at the event about what was causing the polar region to heat up so dramatically, or what might be done to slow the pace of melting, which is likely to render the Arctic Ocean ice-free in summer months as soon as 2016. As she put it:
“You’re absolutely right that there is a paradox that climate change is transforming the Arctic and freeing up exploitation of more oil and gas that will make climate change even worse, but here we’re focused on ‘How do we deal with this change?’ We’re not talking about causality.”