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New Book: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change

Recovery Efforts Continue In Hurricane-Ravaged Florida Panhandle

Debris litters Tyndall Air Force Base following Hurricane Michael on October 17, 2018 in Panama City, Florida. Many U.S. military bases are in locations vulnerable to storm damage and sea-level rise.

Tomorrow, November 12, Professor Michael T. Klare’s book “All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change” will be published. In advance of that publication, Professor Klare was interviewed by Rolling Stone to discuss it. Here are a couple excerpts:

The idea of ‘All Hell Breaking Loose,’ in the title of your book, what does that mean for the military?

They see their job as defending this country from foreign threats and that is what they are trained to do. ‘All Hell Breaking Loose’ is a condition they fear in which they will be unable to conduct that mission, to do their job, because they will be so caught up in protecting this country against climate change threats or addressing its impacts on other countries around the world that are collapsing because of the effects.


Can you quickly walk us through the ‘Ladder of Escalation’ model that you use for this book?

I take this concept from the Cold War era of nuclear escalation that says we go from small-scale events to increasingly serious ones. The military sees that with climate change as well. They already see an increase in extreme storm events that affect their allied countries and require a military response providing aid — and in the U.S. itself, like in Florida or Puerto Rico. But they look into the future and see increasingly severe events like extreme droughts bringing about the collapse of entire nations. They see that happening potentially in places like Nigeria and Pakistan, leading to mass chaos spreading across continents. They see that beginning in what we once called the Third World but spreading to more privileged and wealthier parts of the world like Europe, and bringing about upheaval there, leading eventually to conflict among the great powers as climate change advances. Perhaps in the Arctic region, for example.

Read the full interview here.

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