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The Pentagon's Cracked Climate Crystal Ball

05 Apr 2020 | Crystal Ball

Pentagon Crystal Ball


John Robson

This video was recorded and edited just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. We have made changes to acknowledge the new context. But we want to emphasize that in discussing a foolish report from 20 years ago predicting climate disasters that had no chance of happening, further hyped by the media and leading experts, we are by no means suggesting that governments ignore worst-case scenarios. On the contrary, the coronavirus pandemic underlines that when public authorities and commentators fail to distinguish realistic threats from phantoms, we waste billions of dollars on pointless posturing and futile defences against minor or even non-existent dangers and leave ourselves short of the financial, intellectual, institutional and even emotional resources needed to deal with real emergencies when they do appear.


Governments around the world spent the past year or so declaring a Climate Emergency. But the world outside looked pretty much the same as it always had, until the COVID-19 pandemic hit and showed us what a real crisis looks like. So where’s the climate emergency?

Well, it’s coming, they say. The experts have computer models that tell us we only have 10 years until the climate crisis hits so we have to act now.

But they’ve been saying things like this for decades. If their models were accurate, we should have seen the predictions come true by now.

John Robson

For the Climate Discussion Nexus I’m John Robson, and this is a Crystal Ball Check on the Pentagon Climate Report.

In 2003, the Department of Defence commissioned a report on the risks climate change posed for the US of A. Entitled “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security” it was submitted to the Pentagon in October 2003, at a time when then-President George W. Bush was the focus of international criticism for his apparent indifference to the global warming issue in general, and the Kyoto Protocol in particular.

The contents of the report were kept quiet until early 2004. But then two British publications, the Guardian newspaper and its Sunday sister The Observer, blew the lid off its supposedly explosive findings.


“Pentagon tells Bush: Climate change will destroy us” the headline screamed. The article hinted darkly at a conspiracy to suppress the report and its deadly findings: “Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters.”

A lot of top climate scientists hailed the report as proof that a crisis was coming and the White House needed to act.

John Robson

The article quoted German climatologist John Schellnhuber that the Pentagon report should be a “tipping point” in persuading Bush to accept the party line on climate change. That’s the same John Schellnhuber would later go on to become head of Germany’s top climate research institute and be the top climate advisor to the supposedly conservative Christian Democratic Union Chancellor Angela Merkel.


British climate expert Robert Watson declared “It’s going to be hard to blow off this sort of document.… The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group… If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act.”

Watson was, at the time, the chief scientist for the World Bank and the former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

John Robson

And Watson’s warnings were echoed by another former chair of the IPCC, Sir John Houghton, who added “If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.”


The Guardian quoted a former senior Environmental Protection Agency official who said the report was “yet another example of why this government should stop burying its head in the sand on this issue.” And a high-ranking Congressional policy advisor added “This adds a powerful new voice to the global-warming debate in Congress.”

John Robson

Wow. With all these top scientists and influential people behind it, it must have been a pretty impressive report. But remember, it was written back in 2003. And most of its predictions were for things that would happen by 2020, unless the US and others took drastic actions they have obviously not taken. So let’s check how good the authors’ crystal ball turned out to be.


The report predicted that around 2007, coastal levees in the Netherlands could be so damaged by storms that they would give way, making Dutch cities like the Hague unlivable.

John Robson

As you know, and the Dutch certainly know it, it didn’t happen. The Hague still exists, and people still live there. In fact in 2019 there was a big Climate Change and Security Conference there, which took place on dry land, I believe.

Around the same time that the Netherlands would be going under, according to this 2003 Pentagon report, there would also be a failure of delta levees in the Sacramento region of California that would cause an inland sea to form in the Central Valley.

We checked some local webcams and there is no sign of an inland sea covering the California Central Valley. Which also probably would have made your local paper if it had happened.

Here’s another prediction from the report.


Starting in 2010, ocean circulation patterns would break down, wiping out the Gulf Stream and causing European temperatures to plunge about 3 degrees in 10 years. By 2020, according to the report, Europe’s climate would be like Siberia’s.

John Robson

Wrong again. And the rest of the report is just as loopy.


It projected that Europe would experience a drought for the entire decade from 2010 to 2020, as would China and East Africa. But no such drought occurred.

John Robson

It said that starting around 2016 the US and Europe would enter into open conflict over fishing rights.

Nope, no fish war.

At the same time, border skirmishes were supposed to start among European countries over dwindling food and water. Another mighty swing and a miss, in fact three and you’re out, because not only were there no skirmishes, there was no dwindling food, no dwindling water.

And it gets worse. The report said the European Union will nearly collapse by 2025 as 10% of the population fled for North Africa and Israel.

Of course, the opposite happened. The EU found itself under considerable stress from a huge wave of migrants coming in from North Africa and the Middle East.

Now the authors did caution that they weren’t 100% sure all these things would happen. They even said their scenario is “not the most likely” but is “plausible.” But then your average psychic tends to hedge their bets.

Not the zealots in the media, certainly not the Guardian Observer, which said:


“The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.”

John Robson

The whole report was worthless rubbish. Its predictions weren’t just wrong, they were deranged. And yet it was approved by top experts at the Pentagon, endorsed by leading climate scientists, and then touted in the media as definitive evidence with major policy implications.

Nobody along the way had the courage to call it what it was: garbage. And has anybody been punished since for peddling trash as treasure? Not in the Pentagon, certainly not in the press.

In the spring of 2020, unfortunately, we found out what a real emergency looks like. And it doesn’t just show the fatuity of trendy posturing about a “climate emergency,” it shows the danger of creating a public policy environment in which people who know the climate emergency rhetoric is overblown are too scared to say so, and governments, journalists and many members of the public overlook real dangers, or fail to prepare for them, because they’re distracted by hysterical warnings about imaginary ones.

So, that common sense thing, it’s your job.

8 comments on “The Pentagon's Cracked Climate Crystal Ball”

  1. Humanities highest imperative is to expose the truth.
    Anyone who is paying attention can see clearly that we're in an information 'war'. We're seeing unprecedented levels of misinformation and disinformation.
    The involvement of the Pentagon, the banking cartel and mainstream media in yet another false flag orchestration is made obvious by this video. Thank you!
    One way to put an end to this kind of war is through education.
    An informed citizenry will never elect a leader who will allow this information 'war' to continue. A real leader would attack the sources of misinformation fiercely. Instead we have a 'leader' who pays the media to fiercely attack those who are working hard to uncover the truth.

  2. It just goes to show doesn't it that predictions about the future should be treated with extreme skepticism. Who would have predicted the coronavirus a year ago?

  3. DOD was not tasked to conduct their own climate research or to defend the current popular, although incorrect, anthropogenic catastrophic climate change model. In their own words from "An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security
    October 2003" : "Rather than predicting how climate change will happen, our intent is to dramatize the impact climate change could have on society if we are unprepared for it. ... Even the most sophisticated models cannot predict the details of how the climate change will unfold, which regions will be impacted in which ways, and how governments and society might respond."

  4. Nice fact check. I am totally on your side with this issue. However, were there any facts that proved true that you may have left out? I would hope that you are being honest and forthright in your rebuttal, as any counter opinion would easily rip this video apart for misrepresentation of or overlooked facts. Keep up the good work!

  5. Till the CO2 output from volcanoes is factually and accurately measured, how can we blame humans for any variance in climate...and for the record I personally believe the climate is always changing and humans are naive to think they can mediate it! Humans are having very little impact overall...

  6. I find it astonishing that you would consider the cold-strain corona a REAL CRISIS - the number of deaths is lower than virtually anything. IT IS NOT A CRISIS! In fact, your words in the video is spot on in regards to this - what would happen if we say a truly deadly virus. The corona virus is NOT a crisis! More people die from falling in the shower every year - so please stop going into the same trap you warn about!

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