Rising Seas Be Dammed ... With Fat Climate Change Reports

Not to worry if you missed the 841-page National Climate Assessment issued last week by the White House. There are others you might like better.

Yesterday the federally funded Center for Naval Analysis put out a short tome about national security and climate change. It summarizes current military thinking on the topic and makes recommendations to Pentagon strategists looking 30 to 40 years out. At 68 pages, the whole thing is substantially shorter than just the highlights summary from last week's White House report. The new report has direct quotations from George W. Bush and current Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on climate change, but not the sitting president.

The national security analysis is similar to others in its description of climate science. It's also similar to previous military assessments in its recommendations to the Pentagon, including the Center's first such report in 2007. But it was time for a new one. As the carbon drifts skyward and projections grow gradually dim, analysts are becoming more confident in the need to plan for a more unstable, heated world. Consider the titles of the group's 2007 and new reports:

2007: National Security and the Threat of Climate Change

Yesterday: National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change

Other than professionals who work on climate change issues, and the insane, very few people sift through the major scientific reports and policy assessments. Perhaps soon, everyone will dispense with reading them, and climate change reports will just recommend that shorelines vulnerable to rising seas be dammed with climate change reports.

Here are seven major tomes from the last year, to glance at, read or stack in front of the house when it rains hard.

National Security and the Threat of Climate Change. The CNA Corporation. May 13. Pages: 68.

Money quote:

"Actions by the United States and the international community have been insufficient to adapt to the challenges associated with projected climate change."

The gist: Climate activists never love the military more than when the Pentagon or agencies that serve it call climate change a "threat multiplier for instability."

U.S. National Climate Assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program. May 6. Pages: 841.

Money quote:

"Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present."

The gist: The executive branch of the United States government, when so moved, can produce a beautiful website that makes complicated information interesting to read.

The Arctic in the Anthropocene: Emerging Research Questions. National Research Council. April 29. Pages: 178.

Money quote:

"Potential resource development, claims on extended continental shelves or shipping routes, and increasing interest from non-Arctic countries all create the potential for conflict."

The gist: The top of the world is changing. It's likely to affect familiar climates at lower latitudes. In the meantime, it's open season for new oil, minerals, fisheries and shipping.

Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC. April 13. Pages: Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds.

Money quote:

[Couldn't find anything particularly pithy -- ed.]

The gist: What to do about climate change appears to be a much harder problem than discovering it in the first place.

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. IPCC. March 31. Pages: Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds.

Passable quote:

"The overall risks of climate change impacts can be reduced by limiting the rate and magnitude of climate change."

The gist: Scientists lay out the risks of climate change, to help everyone from decision makers to blog commenters understand the stakes of a business-as-usual carbon economy.

Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises. National Research Council. December 3. Pages: 223.

Money quote:

"The rate of climate change now underway is probably as fast as any warming event in the past 65 million years, and it is projected that its pace over the next 30 to 80 years will continue to be faster and more intense."

The gist: So what happened 65 million years ago? The meteor strike that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. IPCC. September 27. Pages: Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds.

Money quote:

"It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century."

The gist: This volume conveniently lists about 9,200 scientific publications that climate naysayers can disprove one by one. Or not.

And if none of these strikes your fancy, just wait, and another should come along soon enough.

More by Eric Roston (@eroston on Twitter):

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