We are not ready for either the hand of God or the hand of man when it comes to protecting our sensitive electrical power grid. A bad solar flare or an electro-magnetic pulse attack by America’s enemies would result in the death of most of our citizens within five years.
Powerful solar flares can damage integrated circuits and our electrical transmission systems. The chance of a devastating event is much higher than most people assume. In fact, NASA estimates a 12 percent chance of a really bad solar flare within the next decade. The scariest part of this scenario is that we already came within a week of this nightmare happening in 2012. A train of “coronal mass ejections” created a stream of high energy particles strong enough to melt our electrical grid. The storm only missed Earth by an astronomical whisker.
As it stand right now, when this eventually happens (and it will) high energy particles will penetrate our “planetary shield”—the magnetosphere—literally melting hundreds of massive transformers. It would take years to manufacture, transport and replace these essential transformers. In the meantime, water treatment pumping stations, as well as every other modern convenience, would cease to function.
If a trip back to 1800’s sounds romantic, think again. Without clean water, millions would die within weeks. Without working transportation or refrigeration our food supply and distribution system would collapse and antibiotics would begin degrading. Those without refrigerated insulin would die first, followed by the deaths of millions more from cholera and dysentery (from drinking unclean water) and from starvation.
Forget the zombie apocalypse. This is a real world disaster. Good neighbors would soon become desperate and social order would break down as parents did anything they had to do to feed their children. Bad people would be free to pillage because experts predict law enforcement would be crippled as any kind of electrical communications would die and officers would rush home to protect their own families.
When we were last hit with a super energetic solar storm in 1859 the “high-tech” infrastructure of the day consisted only of telegraph lines and stations. The lines melted and papers caught on fire on telegrapher’s desks. But 1859 gravity-fed water systems and local farms meant that life continued without interruption. Our complete dependence on the technology we take for granted means we would not be so lucky today.
Unlike the “Carrington Event” in 1859, we now also face the wrath of man when it comes to damage to the electrical system modern civilization so depends upon.
The effects of an EMP attack on our technology are nearly identical to those caused by a severe coronal mass ejection. An EMP could be triggered by a high altitude detonation of a nuclear weapon over America. From the ground it would likely not be seen, heard or felt but even without blast damage the consequences for our electrical system would be nothing short of devastating.
Our government has recently awoken to the warnings of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA and various other government studies and even a dire assessment by Lloyd’s of London. Recent announcements have been issued that promise our government officials will gather together scientists and agency officials to examine the clear and present danger that could turn America into a third-world nation in a blink of an eye.
This is good news, even if almost criminally late and even though it comes without any appropriations, but citizens should be concerned that being so late, the focus of government will be to save government.
“Continuity of Government” is the term for sheltering favored officials and their families from nuclear attacks in well-fortified and provisioned facilities while citizens are left to wait for coordinated relief. In the case of either an EMP attack or a severe coronal mass ejection, that help could come according to some studies, only after as many as 80-90 percent of us had died.
“Hardening” the grid is possible to protect our systems from a meltdown. This is an infrastructure project that should have started years ago. Pre-placement of emergency food and medicine and distribution plans aimed at average citizens should be developed right now in case hardening comes too late.
Here is national infrastructure spending that should have the support of every citizen and every politician…before it really is too late.