Sunday, January 4, 2015
Hi Fernando, I have been following your blog for a few years now and
have both your books (and my 5 star reviews of each are among the top
rated on Amazon for them). Keep up the good work.
I have a question for you. I have been reading a few fiction books
lately that deal with CME/EMP situations, and while they make
excellent fiction, it's hard to find significant real world
information on both the likelihood and severity of these types of
events. The books, of course, say they are possible or even probable
events based on hard scientific facts...
I have read the EMP Commission's report, and it does indeed sound like
an EMP attack would be quite destructive. And yes there are countries
and terrorist organizations that could theoretically access nuclear
weapons to perform an EMP attack. But, I doubt it would be so easy to
deploy a weapon like this several hundred KMs over North America
undetected and unintercepted.
As for CME's, sure they have happened in the past but they seem to
have been quite localized and not terribly disruptive long-term (power
was restored to many in Quebec within hours of the event that struck
them in 1989). Of course bigger events are theoretically possible but
is something that wipes out all electricity on earth even remotely
probable? From what I've researched, the answer is no.
What do you think? Are these events at all worth spending time and
resources preparing for? Or should they remain squarely in Science
Before addressing the rest of your email I wanted to thank you for the five star reviews in Amazon. They really do mean a lot to me and help me a great deal so thank you for taking the time to write them. It’s thanks to people like you that I can do this.
This is an interesting topic. I spent some time doing further research so as to understand better the real risk of an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) and CME (coronal mass ejection). According to what we’ve read from the media this last couple years, it seems that the sun is about to fry us all into the dark ages any minute now. All of sudden we are bombarded with alarmist articles. This is the first thing to notice: When the media goes non-stop about how the sky is falling, that usually means you have to keep digging.
This is probably one of the most professional, well balanced articles addressing this topic. The EMP threat: fact, fiction, and response. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1549/1
Turns out that many of the alarmist proponents have a financial motivation, either because of the extra budgets they would be getting or because their companies would be supplying the services to harden the grid.
So, how big of a risk is it? The short answer is that it’s a real possibility, but it has been very much exaggerated in my opinion.
A weaponized EMP attack is highly unlikely. It’s a complex type of attack that isn’t viable for guerilla and terrorist groups which as we’ve seen before use other means. I’d put an EMP attack practically at the bottom of my list of likely threats. The risk of a solar flare or CME is greater, but the chances of it being worse than the disasters we’re already used to is rare. The possibility of a solar flare throwing all of North America into a new dark age is practically non-existent, let alone the entire planet. An event of such magnitude is highly unlikely and even if a powerful coronal mass ejection hits Earth the hardening and contingency plan for such an event has already started. Can it happen? Yes. There is an estimated 12% chance of a similar event such as the Solar storm of 1859 occurring again between 2012 and 2022. Will it be as bad as recently advertised? No. How bad could it be? It could be a large scale disaster but the same could be said of tsunamis, war, the San Andreas Fault collapsing or the entire Yellowstone super volcano blowing up.
To answer your question I believe that yes, they are possible, have happened before, but we also know that even if it does happen it won’t be nearly as bad as seen in movies or novels. I did enjoy reading “One second After” but I think that as of right now, its safe to say that all of us have more urgent issues to be addressed, which are far more likely and far more dangerous.
What to do to prepare just in case? I believe the core preparedness we always talk about here would be crucial in such a worst case scenario. Should a large CME affect a large portion of the country, you’re looking at having enough supplies, food, medicine, fuel for cooking and heating, so as to last until services are restored. A month worth of food and supplies should be enough, but more sure can’t hurt.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.