Our Electrical Grid: ‘The Stressors of a Changing Climate’

October 25, 2019

Clear and a bit chilly this early-evening Friday here on California’s north coast — another nice day in preparation for tomorrow’s electrical shut-down.
And according to the latest, maybe the outage could last up to four days.

A big factor in these incidents of wildfires and power outages is climate change, an even bigger threat than realized, at least from another source, the US military and a grim new report found yesterday at Vice:

According to a new U.S. Army report, Americans could face a horrifically grim future from climate change involving blackouts, disease, thirst, starvation and war.
The study found that the US military itself might also collapse.
This could all happen over the next two decades, the report notes.
The senior US government officials who wrote the report are from several key agencies including the Army, Defense Intelligence Agency, and NASA.
The study called on the Pentagon to urgently prepare for the possibility that domestic power, water, and food systems might collapse due to the impacts of climate change as we near mid-century.
The report was commissioned by General Mark Milley, Trump’s new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, making him the highest-ranking military officer in the country (the report also puts him at odds with Trump, who does not take climate change seriously.)

The two most prominent scenarios in the report focus on the risk of a collapse of the power grid within “the next 20 years,” and the danger of disease epidemics.
Both could be triggered by climate change in the near-term, it notes.

But without urgent reforms, the report warns that the US military itself could end up effectively collapsing as it tries to respond to climate collapse.
It could lose capacity to contain threats in the US and could wilt into “mission failure” abroad due to inadequate water supplies.
The report paints a frightening portrait of a country falling apart over the next 20 years due to the impacts of climate change on “natural systems such as oceans, lakes, rivers, ground water, reefs, and forests.”

And,of course, with our own fires and power outages:

At particular risk is the US national power grid, which could shut down due to “the stressors of a changing climate,” especially changing rainfall levels:
“The power grid that serves the United States is aging and continues to operate without a coordinated and significant infrastructure investment.
Vulnerabilities exist to electricity-generating power plants, electric transmission infrastructure and distribution system components,” it states.
As a result, the “increased energy requirements” triggered by new weather patterns like extended periods of heat, drought, and cold could eventually overwhelm “an already fragile system.”
The report’s grim prediction has already started playing out, with utility PG&E cutting power to more than a million people across California to avoid power lines sparking another catastrophic wildfire.
While climate change is intensifying the dry season and increasing fire risks, PG&E has come under fire for failing to fix the state’s ailing power grid.

And we’re just at the beginning of the movie.
Horribly odd is the arrival of the T-Rump just at this precarious point in history.
Beyond the obvious corruption and vile behavior, there’s an even bigger crime, and a most-valid reason he needs to be immediately  removed from office — Jack Holmes at Esquire yesterday:

And all the while, we squabble over taxes and The National Debt and whether the president should be impeached for selling out the national interest in favor of his own when dealing with foreign countries like Ukraine.
He should be, of course: he violated his oath of office and abused his power.
But someday,assuming we make it that far, future generations will surely wonder why we did not remove him from the world’s most powerful office simply because he denied the existence of a fundamental threat to human civilization as we know it.
The president has not just said the climate crisis is a Chinese hoax, or suggested he has some different opinion on whether it’s a problem compared to the scientists—you know, people who have devoted their lives to studying this phenomenon. He has actively rolled back our efforts — in pretty much every department, to combat a crisis that will upend not just our children’s lives, but our own.

Donald Trump, for his part, likely figures he’ll be dead and it won’t matter.
This is also his view on The National Debt, but at least that’s an overblown problem.
His radical solipsism permits him to dismiss small concerns like the future of the human species, not to mention all the other species, which are currently dying off at a prodigious pace in what scientists are calling the sixth mass extinction event.
Meanwhile, his rich cronies probably believe they can make enough money to outrun whatever the consequences may be if they’re still around when the time comes.
That will require covering an acre a second.
Better get your track spikes on.

Nobody runs, or hides from this…

(Illustration: Salvador Dali’s ‘Hell Canto 2: Giants,’ found here).

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