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In a remarkable document released Monday, National Security and the Threat of Global Climate Change, eleven retired U.S. generals and admirals devote their considerable prestige and credibility to making the case that global warming is not merely a threat to the survival of polar bears but a grave and growing threat to U.S. national security.
**This post is co-authored with CGD senior fellow David Wheeler
Today's Washington Post column by David Ignatius finally inches popular understanding in the U.S. a bit further in the right direction on why climate change could be so costly to human society. It isn't just the direct costs of seawalls and more destructive hurricanes that climate change will bring. It's the risk that institutional arrangements to deal with those costs will not be resilient and will collapse under the resulting pressure--so that, as Chinua Achebe suggested about post-colonial West Africa, things do literally "fall apart".
Today the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the first part of its long-awaited Fourth Assessment Report. This is a major event, because the Report strengthens the scientific consensus about the threat from global warming if we don't curb greenhouse gas emissions.