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April 12, 2016

Climate Change and the Electrical Grid

Focus on the temperature leaves us vulnerable elsewhere.

The United States of America, perhaps more so than any other nation in the world, is protected in many ways from existential threats to our nation’s security. Our geographical location, our military, our infrastructure and our technological advancements all contribute to this, and these among other feats are what set us apart from the rest of the world.

On September 11, 2001, terrorists exploited a vulnerability that in the minds of most Americans was unimaginable. In response, there have been numerous changes made with security surrounding air travel — for better and worse.

For the past seven years, the threats to our nation’s security have become far more evident and complex, exacerbated by Barack Obama’s alienating friends, cozying up to enemies, apologizing for America’s past mistakes and outright refusing to even recognize many of these threats. Our existential threats are numerous and include nation states such as Iran, North Korea, Russia and China. The Islamic State and many other radical Islamic terrorist groups pose a security threat compounded by porous borders and Obama’s complete lack of enforcement of immigration law.

We have noted on numerous occasions that Obama, rather than fight the real threats with the full might of our military and strong diplomacy, has made it his number one priority to battle the theory of climate change. While this may sound absurd, it’s the reality in which we live. Further, this endeavor to fight climate change as set forth by Obama and the ecofascists within his administration already has been costly. Unfortunately, that cost is going to continue to soar if the current policies are not soon reversed.

Excessive regulations on the energy sector, the war on coal, costly fuel standards, electrical efficiency standards, mandates for increases in ethanol use, and government subsidies for wind and solar are just some of the areas in which this administration has focused on fighting climate change.

By diverting so much of our finances and human resources to combatting a theory, this administration has created an additional vulnerability, and this one, if left unattended, could very well result in the deaths of millions of Americans. We are talking about our electrical grid, though it’s something that has been pushed to the bottom of the to-do list for most policymakers in Washington.

Of all the aforementioned dangers, the threat of an attack on our nation’s electrical grid poses some of the more devastating consequences. And it’s somewhat vulnerable. For example, there are 300 large transformers in our electrical grid. They are not surge protected, and there are no spares. Each weighs as much as 100 tons and building one takes up to two years. Our way of life is completely reliant upon the functionality of our electrical grid, and our grid is heavily dependent on these 300 large transformers.

Lights, computer systems, banking, food storage and processing, heating, cooling, transportation and even the water we drink are all tied to the electrical grid. The most devastating attack on the grid would be from an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) attack. This would come from a nuclear device which, if detonated in the atmosphere would cause unimaginable damage to every modern electronic device.

While the probability of such an attack is low, the stakes are incredibly high. Despite these high stakes, it’s not enough for Obama to scrap his bad deal with Iran; the lunatic dictator in North Korea continues to test long range missiles at will. While an outright attack from either of these nations is unlikely, and while our defense capabilities likely would be able to intercept an attack, there is still a possibility.

A more probable scenario in which our electrical grid could come under fire is from a cyber-attack. Fortunately, we have many brilliant minds within the defense industry that combat these threats on a daily basis. But the threat of a cyber-attack is increasing, so much so that the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI began a nationwide campaign on March 31 to discuss security measures for electrical power infrastructure companies and others involved with security.

Their briefings include the findings in the aftermath of the cyber-attack that occurred against the Ukrainian power infrastructure this past December. Cyber espionage is also a major concern, and Russia and China are capable of carrying out such acts of warfare.

Admiral Mike Rogers, commander of U.S. Cyber Command, recently warned that a major cyber-attack by another nation against critical infrastructure poses a serious security threat: “It is only a matter of the ‘when’ — not the ‘if’ — we’re going to see a nation-state, group or actor engage in destructive behavior against critical infrastructure in the United States.”

This is another of the real threats to America’s security. But if the past lack of action on behalf of the Obama administration is an indicator of what will be done, then it’s probable that this threat will be ignored as well. Even though we haven’t experienced a major cyber-attack, it doesn’t mean it won’t or can’t happen. But until we have a commander in chief who takes real threats seriously, we are not overly optimistic that much will be done in the near future to bolster our cyber security.

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