Guest column: Is climate change a national security risk?

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The Central Oregon Military Officers Association of America at its recent dinner meeting heard from Gordon Molitor, a member of the Citizens Climate Lobby, who spoke about climate change as a national security risk.

In his presentation, Mr. Molitor, who is neither a scientist nor a military veteran, cited several Department of Defense studies that purport to warn of impending disasters and security challenges due to climate change.

Mr. Molitor, a longtime community and environmental activist from Portland, dutifully recited the usual climate alarmist talking points: more frequent and more extreme weather events, glacial melt, cities and coastal areas at risk from climate change and sea level rise, melting ice in the Arctic creating a new ocean, drought, carbon dioxide increasing at the fastest rate in history and the canard parroted by all climate alarmists— 97 percent consensus of scientists about catastrophic climate change. The latter claim is invariably used as a way to shut off debate by portraying skeptics as deniers.

In one particularly dramatic graphic, Mr. Molitor depicted the effects of rising sea levels on the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area. Home to a large naval station and other military installations, Hampton Roads is a low-lying coastal area bordering the Atlantic Ocean, the Chesapeake Bay and several rivers.

Mr. Molitor illustrated how much of Hampton Roads would be inundated by a 3-meter rise in sea level. A 3-meter rise would indeed be catastrophic, causing massive flooding and dislocation of military facilities and local inhabitants. However, even the UN International Panel on Climate Change, which has routinely overstated temperature increases and sea level rise using flawed models, does not predict a sea-level rise of the magnitude shown by Mr. Molitor.

At the end of his talk, Mr. Molitor asked COMOAA to urge its national organization to declare climate change as a national security threat. He also encouraged participation in CCL, a group that is pushing for legislation to place a “fee” on fossil fuels (otherwise known as a carbon tax) in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

When I questioned both Mr. Molitor and his associate, Ms. Siedler, of the CCL’s Bend chapter about the scientific basis for their claims after the presentation, both said that they are confident of the science and noted their reliance on IPCC data. I told them that I prefer to rely on evidence presented by reputable climate scientists like Dr. Gordon Fulks.

The science of climate change does not support the alarmist claims such as those cited by Mr. Molitor. As mentioned in previous columns, the climate is no more catastrophic now than in the past, carbon dioxide has been substantially higher in the past, previous warming periods were warmer than the current one and human emission of carbon dioxide is only 4 percent of the total.

Though no doubt well-meaning, both Mr. Molitor and Ms. Siedler are wrong in their assumptions about climate change. They are part of an effort by the climate alarmist cabal to force local, state and federal governments to spend billions chasing the chimera of climate change and to generate more revenue for their pet projects by imposing a carbon tax. This tax will accomplish little in the way of reducing carbon emissions but will result in economic hardship and redistribution of funds from businesses to climate activists.

Fortunately, the members of COMOAA had the benefit of a presentation on climate change by Dr. Fulks, an eminent astrophysicist and climate scientist, a few months ago. Few, if any, were persuaded by Mr. Molitor’s unscientific arguments.

Regrettably, the climate alarmist crowd has the big megaphone with the mainstream media, which supports its efforts. Until recently, the government did too. Under President Donald Trump, a more realistic assessment of the national security threat posed by climate change is being implemented, and voices like that of Dr. Fulks have gained prominence in the debate.

By Paul deWitt

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