Pentagon downplays report on climate change that it commissioned
WASHINGTON (AFP) Feb 24, 2004
The US Defense Department downplayed a report on climate change that it had commissioned, saying it was speculative and shrugging off its call to make the issue a top political priority.

"The Schwartz and Randall study reflects the limits of scientific models and information when it comes to predicting the effects of abrupt global warming," said Andrew Marshall, an influential Pentagon adviser who ordered the study carried out.

"Although there is significant scientific evidence on this issue, much of what this study predicts is still speculation," he argued.

According to Britain's The Observer, US military officials censored an alarming report because the issue of global warming could wind up thrust into the US presidential campaign ahead of the November vote.

Environmental activists charge Bush with downplaying the importance of global warming noting his opposition to the Kyoto Protocol aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Pentagon report predicts that "abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies," The Observer reported.

The report, quoted in the paper, concluded: "Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life.... Once again, warfare would define human life."

Its authors -- Peter Schwartz, a CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of Global Business Network based in California -- said climate change should be considered "immediately" as a top political and military issue.

It "should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern", they were quoted as saying.