The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion A perilous example of paralysis by analysis

U.S. Capitol Police officers stand guard on the Senate plaza steps in D.C. on Oct. 25.
U.S. Capitol Police officers stand guard on the Senate plaza steps in D.C. on Oct. 25. (Tom Brenner/Bloomberg)

The Oct. 22 front-page article “Climate seen as threat to security” reported that the White House, various intelligence agencies and the Pentagon are warning that climate change threatens global security. Of course, we have been hearing these warnings for decades. 

In 2006, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution (S. Res. 312) pointing out that “the potential impacts of global climate change, including long-term drought, famine, mass migration, and abrupt climatic shifts, may lead to international tensions and instability in regions affected and thereby have implications for the national security interests of the United States.” The resolution’s authors? The committee chairman, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and the top committee Democrat, Sen. Joe Biden (Del.).

Sadly, even as our climate has deteriorated, so has our ability to address the threat in a bipartisan way.

Manik RoyArlington

In 1990, the U.S. Naval War College identified security issues related to global warming. Subsequent alarms were the proposed congressional legislation entitled Global Climate Change Security Oversight Act of 2007 and the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2007, each of which failed to pass. Then there was the Pentagon’s 2010 warning of climate-related security issues, which closely followed the CIA’s creation of its Center on Climate Change and National Security.

This current review brings the danger closer to our own government’s impending fragility.  This is a perilous example of paralysis by analysis.

Walt Sonneville, Gaithersburg