Warm and well fed, or hungry in the dark? How to Increase the Risks of Blackouts
Politicians are continually increasing the risks of electricity blackouts with their dangerous climate policies. It is foolish in the extreme to believe that humans can change the future climate by collecting carbon taxes and covering the hills with wind turbines. We should ask them: which is worse - gradual man-made global warming or sudden electricity blackout?
Politicians are continually increasing the risks of electricity blackouts with their dangerous climate policies. It is foolish in the extreme to believe that humans can change the future climate by collecting carbon taxes and covering the hills with wind turbines.
We should ask them: which is worse - gradual man-made global warming or sudden electricity blackout?
Alarmists try to scare us by claiming that man’s activities are causing global warming. Whether and when we may see new man-made warming is disputed and uncertain. If it does appear, the world will be slightly warmer, with more evaporation and rainfall; plants will grow better and colonise some areas currently too cold or too dry; fewer old people will die in winter and sea levels may continue the gradual rise we have seen since the end of the last ice age. There may even be a bit more “green” in Greenland. There is no evidence that man’s production of carbon dioxide is causing more extreme weather events. Any change caused by man will be gradual and there will be plenty of time to adapt, as humans have always done. Most people will hardly notice it.
What is certain, however, is that global warming policies are greatly increasing the chances of electricity blackouts, and here the effects can be predicted confidently - they will be sudden and severe.
Localised short-term blackouts can be caused by sudden failure of supply caused by cyclones, storms, fires, floods, accidents, equipment failure or overloading. People will cope with them. The more widespread blackouts, caused for example by network collapse or insufficient generating capacity, will have severe effects.
All modern human activities are heavily dependent on electricity. Blackouts will stop lifts, trains, traffic lights, tools, appliances, factories, mines, refineries, communications and pumps for fuel, water and sewerage. People will be trapped or stranded in trains, ports, airports, lifts, hotels, hospitals and traffic jams. ATM’s, credit cards and supermarket checkouts will not work. Cash, cheques, IOU’s and pocket calculators will be required to buy anything.
Immediately a blackout occurs, those with emergency generators, fuel or batteries will start using them.
But within a very few days, batteries will run flat, emergency fuel supplies will be exhausted, food supplies will disappear from stores and pumped water will not be available. Intensive dairies, hatcheries, piggeries and feedlots will all face critical problems in keeping their animals alive and cared for.
If the blackout is extensive and prolonged, looting will infect the big cities and then spread to country areas. People who are old, sick, incapacitated or alone will be forgotten as able-bodied people focus on feeding and protecting their own.
The real threat to humanity today is not the theoretical dangers from gradual man-made global warming. A far bigger real danger is the growing threat to reliable electricity supplies from deep-green climate policies.
The most reliable electricity supplies come from coal, gas, hydro, nuclear, geothermal or oil. Misguided politicians and uncompromising nature are conspiring to ensure that few of these will be available to generate Australia’s future electricity.
The carbon tax and renewable energy targets threaten the financial viability of using coal, gas or oil to generate electricity. Banks and investors will not risk their capital on new carbon-powered stations dependent on an unstable and polarised political environment. And the declining profitability of existing stations under the carbon tax and mandated market sharing makes it risky and uneconomic to spend money maintaining existing aging stations.
The same green zealots who plot to destroy carbon energy will also work to prevent the construction of new nuclear or hydro plants in Australia. And Australia’s geothermal resources, being generally deep and remote, are unlikely to provide significant electricity for decades.
We are thus being forced to rely on fickle breezes and peek-a-boo sunbeams to generate expensive and intermittent electricity. And it will not be economic to continue building backup gas plants that are run below capacity or sit idle, earning insufficient income as they try to fill the unpredictable production gaps in the supply of green energy. The margin of supply safety will disappear.
Therefore, if we continue to allow green zealots to dictate our electricity generation, blackouts are inevitable. Britain and Germany already face this grim prospect.
All actions have consequences. We cannot continue pouring billions of dollars of community savings down the climate-change sink-hole, without starving our essential infrastructure. We cannot keep adding taxes and political risk to traditional electricity generators without reducing new investment in real base-load generating capacity. And we cannot keep adding unstable solar and wind elements to our electricity network without adding greatly to electricity costs and the risks of network failure.
When the lights fail, and the supermarket shelves are cleaned out, we will return, at great cost and after much misery, to cheap reliable continuous electricity using coal, gas or nuclear fuels.
Gaia worshippers will find that “Earth Hour” will not be such fun when it becomes “Earth Week”.
Viv Forbes is Chairman, The Carbon Sense Coalition. He has no vested interest in electricity generation, except as a consumer. And he gets no funds from the government Climate Change Industry. He holds shares in a small Australian coal exploration company which will benefit by exporting coal if expensive unreliable electricity in Australia forces more power-using industries overseas.