On August 18th, 2009, the New York Times published an editorial that pretty much sums up the current state of affairs: Congress appears to be impervious to the usual scientific statements about global warming but just might listen to an argument that focuses on national security. The trigger in this case is a report published in 2007(!) by “the CNA Corporation, a Pentagon-funded think tank”. CNA warned that, as global warming increases so, too, will the threat of climate-induced political tensions, mass migrations, local and regional conflicts, and so on. All of these changes can negatively affect our security as well as that of other nations.
Having spent almost two decades in one phase or another of national security pursuits I can attest to the superior ability of defense issues to get the attention of Congress. This was particularly the case for issues that might take decades to unfold, as is now the case with measures to avoid the global warming tipping point. Having later spent a few decades in non-defense research I can also attest to the feeling that it is much harder to get a million dollars for non-defense research than it is to get the same amount for defense research.
So, unfortunately, the Times editorial has a cogent point.