In September and October Tokyo withstood major blows from 2 typhoons which would have been category 5s if the typhoon scale went that high. Yet despite these blows, Tokyo and surrounding environs were relatively unscathed. Considering that typhoons and earthquakes are part of life in Japan, the people of Japan have made a collective agreement to prepare for the inevitable disasters.
In contrast, we see not only California but much of the western US enduring more frequent and more intense wildfires. As climate change gets worse, the fires get worse. We have known about the coming climate change for over 50 years, we have been warned. We have done nothing to prepare for what is coming.
Many have heard that we have 11 years left before we reach climate change tipping points. We have already passed many tipping points. Evidence of climate change shows itself in the streets of Miami, the forests of the west and the incredibly hot summers of Asia and Australia where the Darling river has pretty much dried up as they head into another summer.
So while headlines on the huge scandal in our government grab our attention and focus, according to a study produced by the US Army War College, climate change will be the catalyst for some dramatic changes in the US and the world in the next twenty years or so. The study was commissioned by the Pentagon to measure whether the US military would be able to function in the coming chaos.
As it is now, the military will not be able to function in the coming chaos, the report concluded. The countries various systems are so interconnected that as one collapses we will have the literal domino effect.
One simple excerpt pretty well sums the study up:
Changing levels of rainfall put the U.S.’s energy grid at risk. Over 7.3 billion people currently inhabit the planet, a little more than half of which live in cities.82 In the United States alone, ten cities contain more than one million people, and more than 35 with a population of over 500,000.83,84 The power grid that serves the United States is aging and continues to operate without a coordinated and significant infrastructure investment. Vulnerabilities exist to electricity-generating power plants, electric transmission infrastructure and distribution system components. Power transformers average over 40 years of age and 70 percent of transmission lines are 25 years or older. The U.S. national power grid is susceptible to coordinated cyber or physical attacks; electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks; space weather; and other natural events, to include the stressors of a changing climate.85,86
Effects of climate abnormalities over time introduce the possibility of taxing an already fragile system through increased energy requirements triggered by extended periods of heat, drought, cold, etc. If the power grid infrastructure were to collapse, the United States would experience significant
• Loss of perishable foods and medications
• Loss of heating/air conditioning and electrical lighting systems
• Loss of computer, telephone, and communications systems (including airline flights, satellite networks and GPS services)
• Loss of public transportation systems
• Loss of fuel distribution systems and fuel pipelines
• Loss of all electrical systems that do not have back-up power87
For those who have been paying attention, the conclusions of this report should hardly be surprising. I remembered that the Bush II administration spent a good amount of effort to bury a similar study in 2007 and 2008. In attempting look that study up, I discovered that this new study is but one in a long list of military climate impact studies that go back to the late Reagan and early Bush I administrations.
As far as I remember most of these studies have seldom seen the light of day. We certainly have not acted on any. Now we are facing the literal sword of Damocles with the very worst possible person we could possibly get heading the government.
Climate change will definitely affect Iowa, especially the agricultural sector. We need representatives in our statehouse and at the national level that understand what is truly happening, not someone who regurgitates talking points.