The number of people who doubt climate change appears to be growing, especially after the e-mail fiasco, but don’t count the Pentagon and CIA among those who are no longer concerned. Global warming is now officially considered a threat to the security of the United States. The agencies haven’t taken sides in the debate, but they’re preparing for what could happen:
Among the scenarios that concern security planners is the melting of the massive Himalayan ice mass. In theory, the rivers fed by the Himalayan glaciers would flood at first, then dry up once the glaciers retreat. That would endanger tens of millions of people in lowland Bangladesh.
Retired Air Marshal A.K. Singh, a former commander in India’s air force, foresees mass migrations across national borders, with militaries soon becoming involved.
Boats vie for passengers at a flooded intersection in downtown Sirajganj, Bangladesh, in this 2007 photo. The flooding was caused in part by melting snow in the Himalayas. Among the scenarios that concern U.S. security planners is the melting of the massive Himalayan ice mass, endangering tens of millions of people in the region.
“It will initially be people fighting for food and shelter,” Singh says. “When the migration starts, every state would want to stop the migrations from happening. Eventually, it would have to become a military conflict. Which other means do you have to resolve your border issues?”
“But why are you coming here in September ? The winter will be here shortly and it’ll be very cold. If you keep going down the ‘road of bones’ on your own on your bicycles, you will certainly die.”
Over the coming weeks the temperature on thermometer dropped steadily, and we saw fewer and fewer cars and settlements on the road. The temperature reached -20C, then -30, then -40. We learned that if we kept moving, we kept warm, and that frostbite could be staved off by stamping our feet and running with the bikes whenever our feet went numb.