Updated: Sep 3
Many view the dangers of climate change as primarily environmental problems. Yes, the world will have increased on average 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050 and 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100 at our current trajectory. Yes, the amount of wild fires will multiply exponentially, the sea levels will rise eliminating coastal cities and drowning whole countries. Yes, there will be refugees from every uninhabitable country remotely close to the equator. Yes, it will be too hot for many areas to go outside. Yes, millions will die of heat stroke. Yes, diseases will spread from mosquitoes which will now have more tropical climates to roam too. Yes, diseases trapped in melting ice caps will be reenter the ecosystem and your immune system will have no way to fight it. However, there will also be warlords as well. Pretty cool right?
Its no secret the far right loves to play dress up, just look at those Nazi uniforms. The boots, the skulls, the black and red, they're downright flamboyant! The KKK is a group of grown men who like to dress up as ghosts and their hierarchical leader is called the "grand wizard." Visual signifiers, live action roleplaying, and childish ideas are common place among the far right and unfortunately the climate collapse is the perfect stomping ground for these overgrown teenagers.
The Guardian's journalists delivered an investigative report on one of these such groups who are making plans for a future takeover of America when its at its weakest. Meet Charles Haywood, a shampoo mogul and wannabe warlord with big plans to murder, torture, rape, and pillage your city the moment he has a chance. He calls his organization the Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR). Like most fascists, he believes a spiritual nationalist rebirth will come from collapse when he gets to take over. He wants to revive the "frontier conquering spirit of America" reminiscent of scalped heads, dead Mexicans, and slavery. He hits all the standard fascist talking points: "strong leadership for family and culture", "rejection of Modern philosophies", "America's modern leadership alienates family, community, and God", and many other classics you can find on a fascist bingo card.
Unfortunately for the sane, Haywood is in possession of $45 million from the sale of his Shampoo company in 2020. He has promptly used that funding to create the SACR and slowly take on members. His blog highlights his desires for being a "warlord" by pitching himself as the head of an "Armed Patriot Network" to provide "protection, military and otherwise, of those who recognize his authority and act, in part, at his behest."
Haywood excitedly drools over the "possibilities involving violence" and looks forward to "more-or-less open warfare with the federal government, or some subset or remnant of it." He confidently writes “At this moment I preside over what amounts to a extended, quite sizeable, compound, which when complete I like to say, accurately, will be impervious to anything but direct organized military attack”, adding that “it requires a group of men to make it work … what I call ‘shooters’ – say fifteen able-bodied, and adequately trained, men.” This is an explicitly fascist organization seeking to overthrow the US government when the inevitable collapse comes. They will not hesitate to use violence against those that oppose them or those they disapprove of. His outreach to men who are willing to join his organization has not been unsuccessful. SACR has four lodges, three in Idaho and one in Dallas, Texas. Men are being trained for war across the US and unlike David Koresh, the US government won't raid an affluent businessman.
If you believe that Haywood's dreams are far fetched, the Pentagon's own internal data might contradict you. A report from General Mark Milley calls on the US military to deal with several climate related disasters that will occur by mid century. The Pentagon’s consensus is that: the more resources the military has to spend dealing with climate disasters, the less resources will be expended on threats. For example, in the wildfires in California in 2013, US military C-35 water bombers were used to help put out the fires. In Australia, military planes were used to dump flame retardants on the bush fires. Floods and hurricanes that hit Texas, Florida, and the East coast have directly damaged military bases in Langley. 17 F-22 Air Force fighters were damaged by Hurricane Michael in 2018, resulting in a cost of $4.7 billion.
The Pentagon is vulnerable to flooding and drought with their most powerful bases located on the east and west coast respectively. Moderate sea level rise can see flooding 100+ times a year by 2050. These bases hold war planes, roads, buildings, runways, and ammunition. Rising sea levels will displace military personnel and their families. This will occur with 90cm of sea-level rise. At this level, 4 of 9 coastal mid Atlantic states will lose 10% of their land area, making the terrain part of the sea.
The more time spent dealing with these issues will not allow them to deal with other threats. The US national power grid is unprepared for meteorological stress. The power grid infrastructure was not built to withstand alternating conditions. Electricity generating power plants, electric transmission infrastructure, and distribution system components will be vulnerable to new weather patterns such as increased rainfall levels or extended periods of heat which can overwhelm the power grid. In 2019, a California utility power firm shut down power to over a million California citizens to avoid power lines sparking another wildfire during the dry season. From the 1950s - 1980s, the number of significant power outages was less than 5 per year. In 2007 there were 76. In 2011, there were more than 300.
If the power grid collapses, America would experience a loss of water and waste distribution systems, heating and electrical lighting systems, computer and communication systems including satellite networks and GPS, a loss in public transportation, field distribution, and all electrical power systems. This will give opportunists like Haywood the chance they need to attack. They will bide their time until you are vulnerable and dominate you when you're weak. Right wing militias need to be defanged and declawed before they pose a clear and present danger.