In the past here at Peak Prosperity, we’ve written extensively on the threat posed by a sustained loss of electrical grid power. More specifically, we’ve warned that the most damaging threat to our grid would come from either a manmade or natural electromagnetic pulse (EMP).
A good friend of mine, Jen Bawden, is currently sitting on a committee of notable political, security and defense experts — which includes past and present members of Congress, ambassadors, CIA directors, and others — who are equally concerned about this same threat and have recently sent a letter to Obama pleading for action to protect the US grid.
Before we get to that letter, here’s a snippet from what we wrote on the matter roughly a year ago:
We talk a lot about Peak Cheap Oil as the Achilles’ heel of the exponential monetary model, but the real threat to the quality of our daily lives, if not our lives themselves, would be a sustained loss of electrical power. Anything over a week without power for any modern nation would be a serious problem. A month would lead to chaos and many deaths.
When the power goes out, everything just stops. For residential users, even a few hours begins to intrude heavily as melting freezers, dying cell phones, and the awkward realization that we don’t remember how to play board games nudge us out of our comfort zone.
However, those are just small inconveniences.
For industrial and other heavy users, the impact of even a relatively short outage can be expensive or even ghastly. Hospitals and people on life-assisting machinery are especially vulnerable. Without power, aluminum smelters face the prospect of the molten ore solidifying in the channels from which it must be laboriously removed before operations can be restarted.
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