WASHINGTON D.C. – Retired military officers deeply involved in the climate change movement â€” and some in companies positioned to profit from it â€” spearheaded an alarmist global warming report this month that calls on the Defense Department to ramp up spending on what it calls a man-made problem.
The report, which the Obama administration immediately hailed as a call to action, was issued not by a private advocacy group but by a Pentagon-financed think tank that trumpets â€œabsolute objectivity.â€
The research was funded by a climate change group that is also one of the think tankâ€™s main customers.
The May 13 report came from the military advisory board within CNA Corp., a nonprofit based in Alexandria, Virginia, that includes the Center for Naval Analyses, a Navy-financed group that also gets contracts from other Pentagon units. CNA also operates the Institute for Public Research.
CNAâ€™s webpage states that it is not an advocacy group. It says it maintains â€œabsolute objectivity.
In our investigations, analyses and findings we test hypotheses, carefully guard against personal biases and preconceptions, challenge our own findings and are uninfluenced by what a client would like to hear.â€
The Center for Naval Analysesâ€™ motto is â€œhigh quality, impartial information.â€
One of the CNA panelâ€™s vice chairmen, retired Navy Vice Adm. Lee Gunn, is president of a private think tank, the American Security Project, whose prime issue is warning about climate change.
The other vice chairman, retired Army Brig. Gen. Gerald E. Galloway Jr., is a prominent adviser to the Center for Climate and Security, a climate change group.
In all, four CNA board members sit on the panel of advisers to the Center for Climate and Security, whose statements on climate change are similar to those found in the CNA report.
Other board members work in the climate change world of consulting and technology.
The CNA advisory panel is headed by retired four-star Army Gen. Paul Kern, who sits on the board of directors of a company that sells climate-detection products to the Pentagon and other government agencies. At least two other board members are employed in businesses that sell climate change expertise and products.
The greatest influence on CNA reports seems to come from the Center for Climate and Security, whose position is that the debate on climate change, or man-made global warming, is over.
â€œThis is a world which recognizes that climate change risks are unprecedented in human history and does not wait for absolute certainty before acting to mitigate and adapt to those risks,â€ the center says.
The CNA report, titled â€œNational Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change,â€ says: â€œSome in the political realm continue to debate the cause of a warming planet and demand more data.â€
It then quotes a board member as saying, â€œSpeaking as a soldier, we never have 100 percent certainty. If you wait until you have 100 percent certainty, something bad is going to happen on the battlefield.â€
The Center for Climate and Security has taken donations from the Tides Foundation, which gets money from Democratic Party financier and liberal billionaire George Soros.
The CNA credits the Center for Climate and Security for helping release the report, and the center issued a press release lauding the report the day it was released.
The CNA report was celebrated by other global warming foreboders, particularly The New York Times, which gave it home page prominence on its website.
The Times quoted Secretary of State John F. Kerry as saying the report would ignite a larger administration effort to combat climate change.
The military boardâ€™s 16-member roster is filled with former commanders and strategists, such as retired Gen. James T. Conway, a former Marine Corps commandant, and retired Air Force Gen. Charles F. Wald, who rose to the No. 2 position at NATO.
The CNA report prominently displays the opinions of three retired officers who sit on the advisory board at the Center for Climate and Security: Gen. Galloway; Adm. Frank L. â€œSkipâ€ Bowman, the Navyâ€™s former director of nuclear propulsion and who now runs a consulting business; and retired Rear Adm. David W. Titley, a former Oceanographer of the Navy.
A fourth board member tied to the center is Gen. Ronald E. Keys, a former chief of Air Force Combat Command.
Climate change has become big business. The U.S. government alone increased spending by more than $100 billion from 2003 to 2010, according to the Government Accountability Office.
Nations around the world are buying sensors, imaging technologies and airborne monitors.
That means huge contracts for consulting, studies and technologies to analyze the Earth and its environment.
Gen. Kern, the CNA advisory board chairman, is on the board of directors of Exelis Inc. (formerly ITT), a broad-based defense contractor that is also in the climate change business. It sells climate-detection systems to the Pentagon as well as to private industries.
This month, SpaceNews.com reported that Exelis Geospatial Systems won two climate-related contracts worth a potential $200 million â€” one for a NASA monitoring system, the other for Japanâ€™s Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite.
Gen. Wald, another advisory board member, heads the largest single business entity within Deloitte, the giant international accounting and consulting firm.
Gen. Wald runs its defense unit, and one of his portfolios is energy consulting. Deloitte itself has set up a consulting business that it says helps clients with â€œclimate change and carbon management.â€
Gen. Kern and Gen. Wald did not return phone requests for comment.
Gen. Keys, who joined the Center for Climate and Security in March, owns RK Solutions, a consulting firm that advises the Pentagon on climate change, according to the centerâ€™s biography for him.
One of the CNA reportâ€™s main recommendations: â€œIn addition to DODâ€™s conducting comprehensive assessments of the impacts of climate change on mission and operational resilience, the Department should develop, fund and implement plans to adapt, including developing metrics for measuring climate impacts and resilience.
The Department should place a greater emphasis on the projected impacts of climate change on both DOD facilities and associated community infrastructures.â€
CNA Corp. itself is in the climate change business, a check of its client lists shows.
One of its major foundation customers is the Energy Foundation, the same group that financed the CNA military advisory board climate study.
It is a global warming activist and is pushing a tax on carbon emissions.
CNA also lists as clients the liberal Rockefeller Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
The fund states: â€œHuman activity is causing global warming, rapid loss of biodiversity and accelerating degradation of Earthâ€™s life-support systems. With the recognition that the impact of unchecked climate change threatens all other conservation efforts, the program focuses its grant-making on advancing solutions to climate change.â€
CNA spokeswoman Constance Custer defended the way the study was conducted in response to questions from The Washington Times about board membersâ€™ climate change activism and business ties.
â€œJust as news organizations are confident in the abilities of their journalists to maintain objectivity and guard against personal bias, the MAB is confident in the objectivity and lack of bias of its members, whose careers have been based on honest, objective assessments of situations affecting military planning to ensure national security,â€ Ms. Custer said.
The CNA report is 100 percent climate change advocacy, stating as fact that global warming has caused flooding and wildfires. It uses phrases such as â€œmore intense stormsâ€ and â€œmore frequent and severe storms.â€
â€œGlobally, we have seen recent prolonged drought act as a displacement of populations, each contributing to instability and eventual conflict,â€ the CNA said.
Yet a number of scientists â€” and the United Nations â€” have looked at the history of storms and concluded that they cannot be blamed on climate change.
Roger Pielke, an environmental scientist at the University of Colorado who has studied decades of U.S. storm data, told a Senate committee last year: â€œIt is misleading and just plain incorrect to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate time scales either in the United States or globally. It is further incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.â€
Jeff Kueter, president of the George C. Marshall Institute, a nonprofit that assesses scientific issues that affect public policy, said the report does not adhere to CNAâ€™s creed of â€œabsolute objectivity.â€
â€œThe report is a self-fulfilling prophecy,â€ said Mr. Kueter, who believes climate change impact on national security is tenuous. â€œThe authors begin with the belief that the impacts of climate change are negative, and from that only bad consequences can flow. The report is not an objective treatment of the validity of the scientific claims or the veracity of the connections between environmental issues and security concerns.â€
Even the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a global warming advocate, said in its latest report that there is â€œlow confidenceâ€ in any long-term increase in cyclone and hurricane activity. It also said there is â€œlow confidenceâ€ in increased tornadoes and hailstorms.
David Kreutzer, an energy economics and climate change researcher at the Heritage Foundation, said the CNA report is based on some projections that have proved way off base.
â€œThe report paints a picture of a future pocked with climate disasters, which is likely to be true because we have always had climate disasters,â€ Mr. Kreutzer said. â€œEven with no increase in floods, droughts, hurricanes or tornadoes â€” no increase in what the IPCC says we have observed so far â€” the future will have plenty. The military should be ready for them but should not blame them on climate change.â€
He said the CNA relied on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change models that â€œhave proven embarrassingly inaccurate. In fact, instead of providing narrower and more certain projections, the projections have been getting further and further from the actual observed temperatures.â€
â€œWhile climate change has not led to security problems, climate policies have diverted huge chunks of the food supply to biofuels, driving up basic food prices and likely aggravating political instability in poor countries,â€ Mr. Kreutzer said.