Intelligence report identifies anti-petroleum movement as a threat to Canadian security and suggests those concerned with climate consequences occupy political fringe
The US security establishment views climate change as real and a dangerous threat to national security. But Canada takes a very different view, according to a secret intelligence memo prepared by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), reports The Guardian. The memo, stamped “Canadian eyes only”, repeatedly casts doubt on the causes of climate change – the burning of fossil fuels – and its potential threat.
The 44-page intelligence assessment of Canada’s environmental protest movement was prepared for the government of Stephen Harper, who is expected to roll out new anti-terror legislation.In the memo, obtained by Greenpeace and seen by the Guardian, the RCMP repeatedly departs from the conclusions of an overwhelming majority of scientists – and the majority of elected leaders in the international arena – that climate change is a growing threat to global security.
Instead, the memo on the “anti-Canada petroleum movement” presents continued expansion of oil and gas production as an inevitability, and repeatedly casts doubt on the causes and consequences of climate change. It mentions the “perceived environmental threat from the continued use of fossil fuels”. It suggests that those concerned with the consequences of climate change occupy the political fringe.
“In their literature, representatives of the movement claim that climate change is now the most serious global environmental threat and that climate change is a direct consequence of elevated anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions which, reportedly, are directly linked to the continued use of fossil fuels,” the memo says. It does not refer to the findings of the United Nations’ climate science panel, the IPCC, and its exhaustive reports on the causes of climate change and its consequence.
The language and tone of the RCMP memo are strikingly at odds with perceptions of climate change within the security establishment of Canada’s closest ally, the US, and with the current findings of the world’s best scientists. Scientists have known for decades that the burning of fossil fuels is the main driver of global warming, and parts of Canada are in line for some of its gravest consequences. The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world.
In terms of security perceptions, Barack Obama in a national security assessment earlier this month called climate change “an urgent and growing threat”. The CIA and Pentagon both view climate change as a serious threat to international order, and factor sea-level rise, drought, and extreme weather into their future security planning. The US military has been tasked with reducing its carbon footprint at all of its military bases and in war zones.
The Globe and Mail, which was the first to report on the memo, said the tone of the RCMP memo reflects the hostility of the Harper government towards environmental activists. The memo warns: “Violent anti-petroleum extremists will continue to engage in criminal activity to promote their anti-petroleum ideology”. The memo also echoes the accusations of former Harper officials of foreign funding of environmental protesters.
“There is a growing, highly organized and well-financed anti-Canada petroleum movement that consists of peaceful activists, militants and violent extremists who are opposed to society’s reliance on fossil fuels,” the memo says. “If violent environmental extremists engage in unlawful activity, it jeopardizes the health and safety of its participants, the general public and the natural environment.”
The RCMP did not respond to repeated requests for comment.