All hell breaking loose The Pentagon's perspective on climate change

Michael T. Klare, 1942-

Book - 2019

Drawing on previously obscure reports and government documents, renowned security expert Klare shows that the U.S. military sees the climate threat as imperiling the country on several fronts at once.

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New York : Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company 2019.
Main Author
Michael T. Klare, 1942- (author)
First edition
Physical Description
viii, 293 pages : maps ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages [239]-278) and index.
  • Introduction
  • 1. A World Besieged
  • The Climate Threat to American National Security
  • 2. Humanitarian Emergencies
  • Climate Disasters, Civil Disorder, and U.S. Military Relief Operations
  • 3. States on the Brink
  • Resource Scarcity, Ethnic Strife, and Government Collapse
  • 4. Global Shock Waves
  • Food Shortages, Energy Crises, Pandemics, and Mass Migrations
  • 5. Great-Power Clashes
  • The Melting Arctic and Other Conflict Zones
  • 6. The Homeland at Risk
  • Domestic Climate Disasters and the Military's Strategic Predicament
  • 7. No Safe Harbors
  • The Climate Change Threat to American Military Facilities
  • 8. Going Green
  • The Pentagon as Change Agent
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgments
  • Index
Review by Booklist Review

If may surprise some that the Department of Defense occupies the front line in combating global warming, but as Klare (The Race for What's Left, 2012) reveals, it is a high priority for America's military leadership. In this well-researched and expertly written analysis, Klare presents a litany of climate-change-generated nightmares facing the world and how they will impact global security. He then presents the publicly available information about the armed forces' plans to address drought-fueled civil uprisings causing weak states to collapse, competition for scarce water resources between states that flares into violence, several supercharged cyclones hitting coastal and low-lying population centers in succession, and the drastic flow of refugees and humanitarian disasters that such events will produce. Though tempered a bit by academic language, Klare's investigation addresses the core of the problem when it comes to the federal government facing hard facts about climate change: science-denying Republicans who actively obstruct efforts by the defense department to prepare for the increasing challenges ahead. Consequently, military leaders couch their efforts to use less petroleum, protect installations and expensive equipment from wildfires and flooding, and make forces more energy self-sufficient in terms of adaptation and resiliency and energy security. Its unique and important perspective makes All Hell Breaking Loose a stand-out among climate change titles.--James Pekoll Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Defense correspondent for the Nation, Klare reveals that the U.S. military is deeply concerned about climate change--and not because it's mushy-hearted about polar bears. Armed service members are the first responders to homegrown natural disasters like hurricanes and participants in climate-related conflict abroad, as when drought or pandemics produce a destabilizing flow of climate refugees.

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Though the White House may not believe that the climate is changing for the worse, the U.S. military does.As Klare (Emeritus, Peace and World Security Studies/Hampshire Coll.; The Race for What's Left: The Global Scramble for the World's Last Resources, 2012, etc.) writes, one of Donald Trump's early acts in office was to countermand an executive order issued by Barack Obama instructing the military to identify threats to future operations and "enhance climate preparedness and resilience." Given that so much of America's arsenal is located and operates in climate-sensitive areasalong the coasts and in increasingly turbulent skies and seasthat order made good sense, but Trump gave pride of place to "the unbridled exploitation of America's oil, coal, and natural gas reserves" instead. The military, writes the author, has been assessing climate change all the same, recognizing both that the U.S., like all nations, is susceptible to climate-related catastrophes such as hurricanes and drought and, moreover, that such disasters "will generate cascading effects within affected communities, triggering all sorts of disruptive and unpredictable outcomes." Among the geopolitical hot spots that Klare identifies are an increasingly iceless Arctic Ocean, effectively a "whole new ocean" that the Navy must guard against Russian encroachment; and the nations of South Asia, where climate change is worsening already fraught relations between India and Pakistan. Senior officials in all branches of the service, "proceeding in their efforts to prepare for combat on a climate-altered planet," have thus been examining future possibilities as well as observing the already evident effects of climate change, such as the flooding earlier this year that inundated a wing of the nuclear-capable Strategic Command and other military bases along the nation's interior rivers. Klare closes by expressing hope that "under a new administration, these voices will be heard more widely, and we will all benefit from these officers' valuable insights."A valuable look at strategic thought and planning, one full of bad scenariosand not much room for hope. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.