All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change.

Updated: Jan 14, 2020

Michael T. Klare. Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 20019

--- A Review by Harry Strharsky

Photo by Guduru Ajay bhargav from Pexels

During these modern times in public life when up is down and our political discourse is fraught with misrepresentation, lies and deception, the Environmental Protection Agency, Interior and Energy Departments, among others, have acceded to reverse environmental protections and not to refer to “climate change” or “global warming” in their policy discussions; Michael T. Klare makes a strong argument that the U.S. Department of Defense deserves credit as an exemplar in acknowledging climate change as an increasing threat to our national security.

The “all hell breaking loose” is an end game scenario where our armed forces need to confront various global warming related crises overseas while at the same time hampered by severe climate effects to its many bases and facilities at home. Faced with the need for multiple, concurrent deployment decisions the military could be stretched beyond its capacity and suffer institutional collapse, thus making climate change an existential threat to the Pentagon itself.

This scenario, of course, will not be arrived at imminently. It is the end result of what Klare details through several chapters identifying increased dangers of complex emergencies and disruption what he has termed “the climate ladder of escalation.”

The DoD’s realization that climate change is a distinct threat to national security was not arrived at overnight. It comes after more than a decade of research and analysis by members of the military and intelligence agencies. “The military’s altered perspective can be traced back to the 2007 publication of ‘National Security and the Threat of Climate Change,’ the first major study to view global warming as a security concern.” It continues through hundreds of Pentagon and intelligence agency reports, studies, directives and statements to two Department of Defense Climate Change Adaption Roadmaps to the most recently adopted U.S. DoD Reports on Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense, January, 2019.