With the election of the Obama government in the U.S. and the vanquishing of the climate-change-deniers to the sidelines of relevant conversation, the opportunity to make some gains in bringing greenhouse gas emissions under control world-wide has never been better. That’s why when I saw the book Gwynne Dyer wrote about the consequences of climate change, Climate Wars, I had to read it. Dyer is a well respected military historian and geopolitical specialist who has written several books and articles. He is perhaps most famous for his book War, which was made into a Oscar-nominated documentary.
In Climate Wars (Buy now: Amazon.ca; Amazon.com), Dyer interviews military strategists and climate scientists and develops possible scenarios as to what might happen if 1) we do nothing about stopping global warming, 2) we do some of what is needed, or 3) we take the crisis as seriously as we should and actually reduce our emissions in time to avoid tripping so-called “feedback loops” which would cascade the planet into a warming period from which it would be impossible to recover.
Dyer points out that governments around the world regularly develop scenarios to counter possible threats to their country’s security. In recent years, those scenarios have included the consequences of climate change, where food will become scarce in many parts of the world, low lying coastal areas will be flooded, and large populations will be dislocated. The resultant unrest will threaten many nations, and senior military officers have been planning for these eventualities. Even in the U.S., where discussion of climate change or global warming was suppressed for the last eight years, strategists have been busy planning to protect borders and move preemptively to curb unrest and protect resources.
In creating these scenarios, Dyer points out that the chances of any one coming true are remote but they do illustrate what is possible. The real question is whether or not we as a species and society have the will to make the changes that we have the know-how and technology to accomplish.
Dyer writes in a crisp style that effectively laces the quotes from his interviewees into the narrative. He produces an information-packed tome that is easy to read and understand.
So, what’s wrong with that?