Wednesday, June 29, 2011

From 'Hotter Than Hell' to 'Army 2040'

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?
"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."
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."

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 . 


Toe said...

This all suggests that the real motives of governments to obtain influence over resource-rich countries is not to benefit their own people, but the enrichment of certain segments of society: those who profit more directly from resource extraction. Or, assuming stupidity instead of conspiracy, it could simply be an irrational need for control.

Steve said...

The situation is worse than we think, most models of climate change are based upon linear events, what if we start hitting tipping points, then we might wish Bush had invaded Mars instead of Iraq.

Boris said...

Interesting...I've been pondering what militaries might look like by mid-century. If they're talking about an oil and water depleted world, they are may also be talking about much less internationally deployable armed forces. The major task by then might well be domestic aid to the civil the power (disaster emergency) and perhaps even domestic or (North American) counterinsurgency or border operations. Oil and water crisis lead to economic instability, which in turn leads to social and economic crises in government and society, making it very hard to manage all that tech and Zefra crises. Climate change and peak oil may actually level the global playing field as rich countries may well be the most hobbled as they are most dependent on these resources.

Anonymous said...

Scientists thought the acid in the ocean, was way out in the deep. They were horrified to find acid, right up to the shores of BC. The acid is eating the shells off crustaceans.

This is a damned good wake up call. The oceans have absorbed all of the poison, the sea waters can stand. However, Harper supports the dirtiest energy in the world, the dirty Alberta tar sands. Harper election win, has swelled his head, three times the size. He now is, Herr Harper, and, dictates accordingly. Harper is absolutely the worst P.M. in Canadian history.

We were to reduce fossil fuel emissions by, 80% in 2020. We no longer have that time. We need to start using renewable energy, now!!!

The giant gas and oil company's, need to be booted out of every country. It is they who are the worst offenders. There has to be a war going on, at all times. If there isn't a war, then an excuse has to be made to start a new war. Those giant oil and gas company's, thrive on wars. Iraq was a prime example, there were no WMD, and they damned well knew it. Now it seems, WW111 is on the brink of erupting.

The huge fuel company's are the enemies, of all decent people. Once greedy politicians allowed corruption in their ranks. Our country's end up being owned by, the very outfits, the corrupt politicians took the money from.

Anonymous said...

Our country's end up being owned by the very outfits the corrupt politicians took the money from.

Bingo. Except, Anon, that has always the game and the whole point of it.
Chickens come home to roost - supposing we still have chickens and there is somewhere left to roost

Steve said...

Find your villains here.

dizzy said...

// pondering what militaries might look like [...] much less internationally deployable armed forces. //

Eventually, it may be too hot for fighting --
An adaptability limit to climate change due to heat stress

Anonymous said...

Boris: Drones

Blog Archive