It's Monday, it's gray outside and the New York Times penned the following lede:
The Pentagon released a report Monday asserting decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages. It also predicted rising demand for military disaster response as extreme weather creates more global humanitarian crises.
The primary distinction between the Pentagon's current handling of the threat and its attitude in years past is the notable increase in urgency—the term "immediate threat" is invoked twice in the first four paragraphs, which is not a comfort coming from a paper that favors understatement. Read the story, but take a break once you reach the photo of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's puffy, world-weary visage. Go for a walk, or simply put your face down on your desk and let the sensation of the cool pressboard soothe your fraying nerves. It gets worse.
Climate change is not just a threat to seasonably appropriate weather, or even those who prefer their coastal homes not be swept away in the next violent round of elemental attacks. Climate change may have actually begotten ISIS, which sounds alarmist but just keep reading.
“Climate change and water shortages may have triggered the drought that caused farmers to relocate to Syrian cities and triggered situations where youth were more susceptible to joining extremist groups,” Marcus King, a climate change expert at George Washington University, told the paper. The Pentagon itself has drawn a "direct link between the effects of global warming and terrorism."
The report [PDF] outlines a plan for girding the Defense Department's physical presence—including 7,000 bases, installations and other facilities—against rising tides and mutant storms, but of course, such preparations cost money, and there are enough codgy congressional Republicans who still "question the established scientific evidence that human activities are causing climate change" left wheezing around to block it, despite approximately 100 percent of scientists routinely ripping their hair out and screaming in the loudest voice their advanced degrees will allow that we will be fucked to Mars and back if we don't take immediate and drastic action. Water break!
"NYC 2050: Summers in New York City Will Feel Like Alabama," is the headline of another piece from the past few hours, this one on NBC New York. This disturbing revelation was announced as part of a new weeklong project in partnership with WNYC, in which the news outlets will attempt to paint a specific picture of the various ways in which our lives will suck once the grim specter of climate change kicks into fifth gear come mid-century. How will energy companies cope with the skyrocketing demand for energy? How effed will our creaky antique subway be once it's inevitably rocked by the next hurricane? FIND OUT THIS WEEK.
Remember also that the ocean's acidity level has risen 26 percent over the past 200 years, and that all the civil disobedience perpetrated by the city's finest and most accomplished activists last month amounted to little more than an unremarkable blip.