Back in 2006, Environment Canada climatologist Mark Tushingham wrote a science fiction book in his spare time - Hotter Than Hell - about "a not-too-distant future world of global warming" where global war breaks out over crippling water and fuel shortages.
You may recall that Environment Minister of the day Rona Ambrose shut down his appearance to discuss the book at a National Press Club luncheon on the same day the Harper government announced it would "cut 80% of programs aimed at curbing global warming at Environment Canada while budgets in other government departments aimed at climate change will be slashed by 40%."
Perhaps Tushingham's mistake was working for Environment Canada instead of the Department of National Defence.
The previous year the DND hired science fiction writer Karl Schroeder to write "Crisis in Zefra", described as "a fictional narrative" set in Africa in 2025 about "Canadian peacekeepers trying to ready the city for its first democratic vote while fighting an insurgency" amidst "ongoing water and oil wars".
The now eerily familiar Three Block War story. Written in 2005, you say? Why?
The aim of Crisis in Zefra, according to DND's Lt.-Col. Mike Rostek, who leads a team of military and civilian scientists from the Directorate of Land Concepts and Designs in "futures research", was to "illustrate emerging concepts and technologies that could become part of Canada's Army of the Future.""In 1997 the Canadian Army formed the Directorate of Land Strategic Concepts in Kingston, Ontario. Assigned the mission of conceiving Canada's Army of the future, the directorate's mandate was ideally suited for the creation of a new fictional story predicting how Canada's army might live and fight during the mid 21st century."
He said another sci-fi book about what Canadian soldiers may face in 2040 called Zefra II was expected in 2010 but I couldn't find it.
Although I did find it mentioned in this 2009 DND Powerpoint presentation on “Army of Tomorrow”; Future Army 2040”, which also included this weird graphic on efforts to create a Joint, Interagency, Multinational and Public (JIMP) capability, described here by Rostek as a sort of outreach "whole-of-government" "comprehensive approach to operations" at DND:
Fast forward to yesterday's news that the indefatigable Mike DeSouza used an Access to Info request to uncover more recent research from Lt.-Col. Mike Rostek's future-predicting team : Army 2040: First Look.
DeSouza : Oil, water shortages, climate change could provoke wars: report
Critical energy and water shortages combined with climate change could provoke wars within the next 15 years, warns a newly-released analysis by the Department of National Defence.
Global reserves of crude oil could become problematic by 2025
...up to 60 countries could fall into a category of water scarcity or stress by 2050, making the natural resource "a key source of power" or a "basis for future conflict."
there "can be no further debate that global climate change is occurring."
Crop failures resulting in mass migrations and starvation, along with rising sea levels from melting ice caps and other factors, would be among the impacts.
Another section of the report said that melting ice in the North and the potential reserves equivalent to as much as 22 per cent of the world's fossil fuels, could also create new challenges for Canada in the Arctic.
“there can be little doubt that unrestricted access to reliable energy supplies is a global strategic issue, one for which, recently, numerous nations have been willing to fight, and have indeed done so"
It also said that human creativity could help avert potential disasters in the future.Well, duh - as others have already responded.
But this is not really new news, as Rostek has been giving lectures on it for at least a couple of years.
Back in 2006, Vanguard wrote about the Army 2040: First Look project, noting it presents four of what the DND calls Alternative Futures. Two are extreme; the other two are combinations of the first two.
"On the one extreme is a global quagmire featuring a reactive approach to the environment and unsustainable energy supplies marked by increased global competition for scarce energy resources in which the Arctic is a critical region of contention; on the other is a high octane green world characterized by a proactive approach to the environment and sustainable energy where Canada is a world leader in developing alternative energy sources."Huh. So the DND was all over this - doing what was once called "thinking ahead" - back in 2006 at the very same time Harper was shushing up Tushingham and his sci-fi novel about war resulting from the effects of global warming.
While DeSouza does not mention either anthropocentric climate change or the phrase 'global warming' in his article, the DND report does both.
You can read the original draft of Army 2040 : First Look, Parts 1, 2, 3, & 4 for yourself .