Recently President Obama gave a speech at the Coast Guard Academy in which he told the young Coast Guard cadets that global climate change was a national security threat to the United States and exhorted them to use their time in the Coast Guard to fight global warming. While I appreciate the President's zeal in giving speeches about global warming, I have to question his judgement on this occasion.
What exactly is it that President Obama expect the Coast Guard to do about global warming?
Does he want the Coast Guard to sail their ships on patrols along the coastline of the United States and then to intercept global warming before it can come ashore? Does he want the Coast Guard to keep watch from their ships for global warming and radio warnings back to Washington DC when they encounter it? What in heck can they do?
The fact of the matter is that the US Department of Defense, of which the Coast Guard is part, is one of the largest CAUSES of global warming on the planet. Every time an Air Force plane takes off, or an Army tank rolls by, or a Coast Guard ship cruises out to sea, they are burning fossil fuels and releasing CO2 and CAUSING global warming.
The only way for the Coast Guard to fight global warming is for it to greatly reduce its activities or even stop being the Coast Guard altogether and never go to sea again. And thats not going to happen.
Lets face facts.... Even if the Coast Guard shut down, and the US Air Force mothballed all its planes, and every American turned off his car and pledged to bike to work for the rest of his life---even if the entire USA simply disappeared in a big magic POOF!, it wouldn't be enough to stop global warming. CO2 emissions in China are growing so rapidly that they would entirely replace the missing US emissions in just seven years. And now India is starting to grow even more rapidly then China.
Thats why it is so important to develop effective methods of climate geoengineering that will remove CO2 from the atmosphere. ----We're going to need it.