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Extreme solar storms hit Earth in 774 and 993AD — What would happen if one hit now?

Solar Storm, geomagnetic storm, 2012

August 31, 201. This coronal mass ejection just missed Earth, according to NASA

There were two mysterious sudden spikes in carbon 14 in tree rings around a thousand years ago. Now some researchers at Lund University say they’ve matched those to beryllium layers in ice cores from the Arctic and Antarctic. Some wild event made these changes across continents all over the world at the same time, and about the only thing that could  have done that was a massive solar storm (or two). There are estimates these extreme storms would have been ten times stronger than the biggest solar storms we have had in the last few decades. The two big bad storms are described as a few times bigger than even the largest solar storm in modern history, which was The Carrington Event in 1859. The radioactive spikes specifically show up in tree rings in 774/775AD and 993/994AD. It’s pretty cool that we can pin those years down so accurately, and as an aside, I imagine it makes a fairly handy calibration point for tree ring researchers now that we know it was global.

Unfortunately, if one of those happened now, it would not be fun. The stream of particles off such a major storm would play havoc with our electrical networks and equipment. We’d get only hours (or less) of warning, but the power blackouts that follow could last for months. Transformers, apparently, are particularly vulnerable to being destroyed  — and  the waiting list for new ones is five months.The Lloyds insurance report makes for rather ominous reading, and it was only describing the possibility of another Carrington event, not one these bigger solar-bombs.

The Carrington event in 1859 turned the sky blood red in places and produced auroras as far south as Panama (18 degrees North of the equator). Many telegraph systems stopped working, but in others operators even turned off their batteries just to run on “auroral current”.

If one of those geomagnetic superstorms was launched at us, and was widespread, it’s hard to imagine how it would not get really ugly. Ponder the anarchy of trying to operate cities of millions without electricity, without running water, with fuel pumps inoperable, and no fridges and freezers to store food. (A good movie script if ever there was…). The level of disaster would depend on whether there were many unscathed western regions that could help out.

NEWS: Traces of enormous solar storms in the ice of Greenland and Antarctica

“Solar storms and the particles they release result in spectacular phenomena such as auroras, but they can also pose a serious risk to our society. In extreme cases they have caused major power outages, and they could also lead to breakdowns of satellites and communication systems. According to a new study solar storms could be much more powerful than previously assumed. Researchers have now confirmed that Earth was hit by two extreme solar storms more than 1000 years ago.

“If such enormous solar storms would hit Earth today, they could have devastating effects on our power supply, satellites and communication systems,” says Raimund Muscheler at the Department of Geology, Lund University.

Stronger than the Carrington Event

“The new analysis of these past solar storms also confirms that they were several times stronger than the most intense solar storms that have been recorded on Earth. The largest solar flare ever measured came in 1859, during the so-called Carrington Event. Named for British astronomer Richard Christopher Carrington who discovered and tracked the solar outburst, the event disrupted telegraph service around the world.     –  Eric Berger, Ars Technica

Lloyds insurance writes on the risks of geomagnetic storms to the North American grid:

As the North American electric infrastructure ages and we become more and more dependent on electricity, the risk of a catastrophic outage increases with each peak of the solar cycle. Our society is becoming increasingly dependent on electricity. Because of the potential for long-term, widespread power outage, the hazard posed by geomagnetic storms is one of the most significant.

Weighted by population, the highest risk of storm-induced power outages in the US is along the Atlantic corridor between Washington D.C. and New York City. This takes into account risk factors such as magnetic latitude, distance to the coast, ground conductivity and transmission grid properties. Other high-risk regions are the Midwest states, such as Michigan and Wisconsin, and regions along the Gulf Coast.

The total U.S. population at risk of extended power outage from a Carrington-level storm is between 20-40 million, with durations of 16 days to 1-2 years. The duration of outages will depend largely on the availability of spare replacement transformers. If new transformers need to be ordered, the lead-time is likely to be a minimum of five months. The total economic cost for such a scenario is estimated at $0.6-2.6 trillion USD…

The big question is how often do these things happen?

The Lloyds insurance report suggests a Carrington like event occurs roughly every 150 years. No one knows how often the Really Big Storms happen.

Between 371 and 17 B.C., there were seven “aurora-like torch” sightings over Greece, Italy, and southern Gaul. Seven events over ~350 years suggest that the lower limit for the recurrence interval of Quebec-level and greater storms is ~50 years. During the period 1137-1648 A.D. there were two intense geomagnetic storms in East Asia, indicating a lower limit on the recurrence interval of Carrington-scale storms of approximately 250 years. Over the period 817 AD to 1570 AD, there were 20 credible aurora sightings from Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, and Morocco, five of which were Carrington-level. This sets a lower limit on the recurrence interval of Quebec-level or greater at 38 years, and Carrington-scale events at 151 years.
Based on information from historical auroral records, the mid-point estimate for the return period of a Carrington-level is 150 years, with a reasonable range of 100 – 250 years. For a Quebec-level event, the return period is 50 years, with a reasonable range of 35 – 70 years. These estimates are consistent with return periods derived from power-law modeling of the Dst distribution26 and statistical analysis of historical events.

What can we do?

“In 2013, a major report by the Royal Academy of Engineering, warned we will only have 30 minutes to prepare for a solar ‘superstorm’ which could knock out major communications.  — http://www.dailymail.co.uk

Satellites are watching, but they are mostly old and out of date:

Currently, four space satellites (SOHO – Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, ACE – Advanced Composition Explorer, and STEREO A/B – Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) monitor the Sun. Situated between the Sun and Earth or along Earth’s orbit, these satellites can provide warnings of incoming CMEs on a timescale of a few days to hours. These warnings allow electric grid operators to take protective measures (i.e., decrease the electric load in the grid and increase reactive power production) before the storm hits. However these satellites are all several years past their planned mission lives43 and only one has a replacement scheduled to launch in 2014.

Additionally, several steps can be taken to harden the electric grid against geomagnetically induced currents: neutral-current-blocking capacitors can be installed to block GIC from flowing into at-risk transformers, series-line capacitors can be installed on autotransformers, improvements can be made to the tripping techniques to avoid false tripping from GIC harmonics, and the utilisation of GIC monitors at transformers will ensure that current levels remain stable.

For once a big-government response that seems sensible:

Since the 1989 Quebec storm and power outage, the Canadian government has invested $1.2 billion (about $34 per person) into protecting the Hydro-Quebec grid infrastructure, installing numerous blocking capacitors.

If only we understood the solar dynamo well enough to predict these (if that’s possible). Hopefully the next big one is a long way off.

 

UPDATE — Further reading

Chiefio on the threat of natural or hostile EMP bursts. How vulnerable is the USA?

“So that is the “worst possible scenario”, IMHO. A few nukes on orbit that we can’t finger, and then a staccato of EMPS as they pass overhead. No launch in the last year or two pre-event to point at. Maybe a year back some vague smudge on a long put away image of what someone thought might have been an object near one of ‘their’ satellites, but again not actionable. What do you do then?

With that pattern, you have near 100% destruction of the power grid and most everything plugged into it. Even small devices are mostly fried. Some folks, like me, taking stuff out of deep storage can have some lights on, and a radio to listen to??? Who? Radio Moscow? The BBC? Telling us we’re now a 1700s rural agrarian society again? …”  h/t John F. Hultquist

Norman Rogers: Climate Change and the Real Threat, EMPs. A 19 minute podcast.

“Rogers discusses how the federal government is wasting scarce resources on the non-existent dangers from climate change while ignoring the very real dangers to our electrical grid, banking and delivery systems from either natural or a terrorist cause electro magnetic pulse. Rogers tells us what an EMP is, why it endangers our society and economy, and what the government should be doing to prevent damage from one.”  h/t  DMA

 

REFERENCE

Nature Communications, 2015. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9611 (About DOIs).

Lloyds, 2013, “Solar storm Risk to the north American electric grid”. [PDF]

 

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188 comments to Extreme solar storms hit Earth in 774 and 993AD — What would happen if one hit now?

  • #
    Manfred

    …it’s hard to imagine how it would not get really ugly.

    Not really.
    COP21 would be cancelled by default. The unrequired ‘Parties’, their private jets, ‘civil society’ Uncle UN Cobbly ‘n all, would be rendered utterly redundant by a natural event. The subsequent re-ordering of priorities would be a pure gust of unadulterated, policy free, fresh air.

    There would of course be large numbers of miserable, unemployable policy makers, climate and weather modellers, eco-bureaucrats, journal editors and publishers, climate ‘scientists’…the list is joyfully endless.

    Spare a smiling thought though for the happy snails in Paris, granted a life long reprieve from the feasting green jackals.

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    • #
      OriginalSteve

      Ugly is accurate – people with no access to fresh food and no power to keep food cold.

      Anyone without a firearm would be fair game and there woudl be chaos alright. Even the army cant be everywhere at once.

      As the old saying goes “people are only 3 mortgage payments away from barbarism…”

      Think it cant happen? Have a look at what happened in the Balkans in the 1990s. Stalingrad lite…..

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      • #
        Bulldust

        You remind me of Reginald D Hunter talking about Katrina and how he would have fared (stand up in Ireland):

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__xSchLFwMU

        Language warning – personally I think he is one of the best comics going around. Genuine and deep at times.

        30

        • #
          William

          Interesting how this entire performance is blatantly racist, yet is considered funny and perfectly acceptable.
          Because black people can’t be racists?

          40

          • #
            Bulldust

            Reg is often criticised by people sensitive to trigger words (he says the anagram of “ginger” a fair bit … now I am going to cop it from all the Fanta Pants types around here). As such I would categorise him as a free speech supporter. There are good interviews on Youtube and I highly recommend them. He is definitely someone I would love to share a few pints with in a pub… insightful and non-trvial.

            His commentaries often skirt around issues of race that make people uncomfortable, but he does so in a way that is respectful. It is a very tricky but often hilarious. He doesn’t care about words, but the intent with which they are spoken.

            As he said in a punchline to one of his stories “was there hatred in your heart when you said it?” If there isn’t why do people get upset at mere words? It is silly, trivial and a mere distraction. There are bigger issues in this world.

            I spend a fair bit of time watching comedians online … generally I feel I get more wisdom from them than many a scientific expert, but I digress and wander off topic.

            40

      • #
        Bill

        Outright barbarism is highly unlikely. Technology may fail but life will go on. By your logic, hollywood style, every little hiccup in the world would trigger rioting, looting and the end of civilization. Experience shows otherwise.

        02

        • #
          Mark D.

          Bill, your comment is at best exposing your naivety. Hunger is a primary motivator and our modern food supply relies heavily on transportation and the electric grid.

          If our electrical grid is damaged in a major way, that will be also felt with regard to food. Imagine how you would keep perishables cold without electricity? Very rapidly stores are emptied or spoiled.

          With hunger comes the inevitable search for food. Widespread hunger will quickly overwhelm all current infrastructure. That in turn WILL result in “barbaric” behavior.

          By the way, nearly every “hiccup” DOES result in rioting and looting. A casual look at history proves you to be wrong.

          Experience shows not “otherwise”, but demonstrates that you will be caught unprepared.

          20

    • #
      Lawrie Ayres

      I love the thought of Paris coming to a complete stop during COP21 because the sun let it be known it was in charge. The beauty of the Parties being shown to be irrelevant, the politicians being shown to be powerless and the media shown to be totally useless.

      20

  • #
    Rud Istvan

    The lead time for substation transformers may be 5 months, but the lead time for the big high voltage transmission line ones is over 1 year. Even with sufficient warning lead time, the next Carrington event will be massively disruptive. But protective grid reengineering is prohibitevly expensive.
    OTH, the next Cascadia fault earthquake is likely to kill hundreds of thousands along the Oregon/Washington coast. Based on historical frequency, it is overdue. Yet no relocation/ building prohibition/other steps have been taken because too disruptive.
    That UNFCCC thinks COP21 will produce results in the face of dubious claims for future harm when ‘certain’ Carrington Events and Cascadia overthrust ruptures are ignored shows the quasireligious/ political nature of the AGW beast.

    190

    • #

      The lead time for substation transformers might be 5 months if you want just one. But replacing a large proportion of all substations would take a lot longer. In the event of such a catastrophe production would soon be expanded though.

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      • #
        Lawrie Ayres

        If the transformers are required to keep the factories that make the transformers going they would be in competition with the need for transformers to keep hospitals and supermarkets in operation. Who would decide the priorities, a logical manager or a politician?

        00

    • #
      John F. Hultquist

      “Hundreds of thousands” seems excessive –
      10,000 in each of OR & WA is likely a better estimate.
      Several communities are doing something:
      the nation’s first tsunami refuge

      10

  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    The level of disaster would depend on whether there were many unscathed western regions that could help out.

    The Carrington simulation has been run many times. Like most computer models, it always produces the same result (funny that?).

    The amount of damage done, in any particular country, is directly proportional to the degree of technology employed in supporting the local society.

    Where would we be, without electronic communications of any sort? How would we travel, if aircraft could not fly? How would goods be shipped by sea, if the ports could not get fuel deliveries?

    The civilisation we have, is totally dependent on the civilisation we have got.

    Sure, the environmentalists want to tinker around the edges a bit, when they, themselves are not adversely affected. But if they can’t get their trim-milk, decaf, latte of a morning, there will be real riots, and not just staged events orchestrated through social media.

    It will be the end of times.

    170

    • #
      Peter C

      Is there any room in the Cook Islands for one more inhabitant?

      50

      • #
        Bill Burrows

        Peter – That reminds me of the story of the wealthy English gentleman who in the late 1930s foresaw the coming conflagration in Europe and decided he would shield his wife and young family from it at all costs. So he scoured the world and in August 1939 finally settled the family in a new abode he built for them on a remote island in the South Pacific – Guadalcanal!

        100

      • #
        Graeme No.3

        Don’t panic! The IPCC says that the sun has minimal effect on the Earth’s weather/climate so we can al relax, can’t we?

        After any event they will say “it is worse than we thought. More funding is needed”.

        71

      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        Yes, but all the islands are sinking because of climate change.

        60

    • #
      Allen Ford

      There is an upside, however. With mobile phones disabled, pedestrians would avoid being knocked over by zombies gazing into their instruments.

      Joy!

      120

  • #
    doubting dave

    So the solar storms highlighted in this post occurred in 774 and 993 ad , during the medieval warm period ,we know that solar storms mostly occur when the sun is in its most active phase of its cycles like the 11 year maunder cycle, so is this another clue that warming periods happen when the Sun is at its most active ? the article also suggests less solar storms during the LIA . I have a little understanding of the short Maunder cycle but no idea how this would work with the Suns longer cycles such as Milankovitch so can someone please step up to the plate and educate me. Thanks

    161

    • #

      maybe the second one qualifies for the warm period. Not the first.

      43

      • #
        RB

        The 1856 one was at the beginning of this warm period while the first was also about a century before the MWP and the second one when Greenland was settled by the Vikings. It looks like they happen before an extended period of warmth and early in that period. We really need more data to be able to suggest a pattern but if this is the beginning of centuries of warmth, there might be another due.

        51

    • #
      John F. Hultquist

      Dave,
      The Milankovitch issue is not solar activity, rather it relates to variations in eccentricity, axial tilt, and precession of the Earth’s orbit.
      So, I’m not much help.

      70

  • #
    Yonniestone

    Are these storms charged particles, geomagnetic or plasma?, the ability of such energy to travel 149.6 million kms across a perceived void to reach earth leads to further questions concerning the Electric Universe theory, remember that magnetic fields cannot exist without causative electric currents.

    70

  • #
    John in NZ

    How much electricity is needed to make a substation transformer?

    They might be difficult to make during a power cut.

    100

    • #
      Joseph

      And without any food . . . .

      40

      • #
        OriginalSteve

        Yep – I figured out the most required necessity in any crisis is soap.

        Basic hygiene is takenm for granted, until you cant boil water or wash your hands to stop infection. More people will die from basic malnutrition and infection from unsantiary practices than rioting……

        Try this experiment for a day – turn off the water to your house and remove all the soap. Now try and function.

        How do you flush a toilet ( bad if you are in an apartment )?
        How do you wash your hands?
        How do you have clean water without electricity?
        How do you cook food ( if you have some )?

        Its the lack of basics that will kill. And make sure youhave a 24×7 armed guard next to your solar cells on your roof because they will be targetted.

        50

        • #

          Considering that we are long time bush campers, we have all the gear necessary to exist without electricity. In fact, we’ve had to use those facilities many times over the last four years due power disconnections almost every month, lasting a day or more, because of maintenance or storms.

          60

        • #

          And make sure you have a 24×7 armed guard next to your solar cells on your roof because they will be targetted.

          Perhaps not really!

          Imagine this.

          1.5 million families in Australia, all standing out in their yards looking at their rooftop solar installation, wondering how they can get it to work, because, no grid, no rooftop solar.

          They can’t call an electrician to come and jury rig it, because no grid, no landlines, no mobiles, and even then, no one will be at work in the Office anyway if something like this happened.

          Electricians will be prime targets in efforts to make those panels supply without the grid, and even then, if they do get them to work, it will only be in daylight hours.

          Cities, small and large will become dead zones

          10 to 12TWH to run Sydney or Melbourne, eg, most of the output from Loy Yang (for Melbourne) or Eraring or Bayswater/Liddell (for Sydney) but even if they could get those plants up and running, the infrastructure to deliver that power is all shot.

          Something of this nature is futile in even contemplating.

          And if something like this is an exercise in contemplation, the same would happen if they just closed those plants down because of a dubious CO2 emissions scare.

          Tony.

          190

          • #
            OriginalSteve

            Thought of that…..solar panels use either microinverters on the panel itself, or large inverter that all panels feed DC into.

            ALl you would need ( in theory ) is disconnect the house from the mains ( open isolator switch and tag lock it open ). Then get a small camping inverter, maybe 250W and a 12V car battery to create a 240 AC “presence” the inverter can sense, and the inverter/s should switch on and power the house. Then get excess power to keep 12 V car battery charged to reboot the system the next day.

            50

    • #
      Rod Stuart

      Would the unit transformers at power stations be adversely affected?
      I mean the step-up transformer on a 300 or 500 Mw machine?
      If you want only one of those, the delivery period is over a year.
      What if you needed thousands of them?

      30

    • #
      Bill

      Generators that are not actually in operation during the event will not be affected and can then be used locally for critical power. However, fuel supplies will be quickly exausted before the POL system can be restored.

      00

  • #
    Don B

    When David back-tests his solar-climate model, does he go back to 774 AD?!

    40

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      Only if Jo can arrange for him to stay in a well fortified Saxon castle.

      They were dangerous times. But Jo takes pride in the fact, that she has never lost a time traveller, in the line of duty.

      50

  • #
    AndyG55

    OT but VERY INTERESTING

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2015/1028/NOAA-refuses-to-comply-with-House-science-committee-subpoena

    For those that can’t read the link

    NOAA-refuses-to-comply-with-House-science-committee-subpoena

    132

    • #
      Peter C

      Watch this space!

      Republicans want to see internal NOAA emails relating to the Pause busting paper by Thomas Karl et al released by NOAA in July 2015.

      70

    • #
      ianl8888


      NOAA-refuses-to-comply-with-House-science-committee-subpoena

      I quite expected that. The OBummer administration will stonewall for NOAA until it is dissolved into the next Presidential term, but if as expected Hilary wins, the stonewall will then be strengthened. This is an exact example of how power works

      We, Mug Q Public, are NOT allowed to see dishonest science shredded in public if said “science” supported the official position

      140

  • #
    el gordo

    Why am I not afraid of a Carrington?

    ‘Since 2001, 26 atomic-bomb-scale explosions have occurred in remote locations around the world, far from populated areas, made evident by a nuclear weapons test warning network. In a recent press release B612 Foundation CEO Ed Lu states:

    “This network has detected 26 multi-kiloton explosions since 2001, all of which are due to asteroid impacts. It shows that asteroid impacts are NOT rare—but actually 3-10 times more common than we previously thought. The fact that none of these asteroid impacts shown in the video was detected in advance is proof that the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘city-killer’ sized asteroid is blind luck.”

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-04-astronauts-reveal-sobering-asteroid-impacts.html#jCp

    70

    • #
      James Murphy

      Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd both refused to continue funding the Siding Springs Survey, the only near earth object (NEO) tracking station in the southern hemisphere, once NASA cut funding channels to the project via the Australian National University and University of Arizona.

      Allegedly, NASA can’t directly fund overseas research, so they have to do it via this type of circuitous route (happy to be proven wrong here), but even then, Obama is about as pro-science as the average lawyer turned merchant banker, so his NASA funding cuts had an impact.

      The one-man operation was costing about AU$140K a year to run (including salary), at least this is according to the ‘one man’, and renowned astronomer, Rob NcNaught. The Uppsala telescope has been, as far as I am aware, lying idle since 2013… I’d give it a good home, if I had the space, and the skies for it.

      120

    • #
      el gordo

      There was a cosmic impact south of New Zealand in the 15th century and it caused a monstrous tsunami on Australia’s east coast.

      http://sp.lyellcollection.org/content/273/1/203.abstract

      40

    • #
      el gordo

      The wave from the impact was 128 meters high when it reached Sydney heads, Camp Cove would have been a washout.

      20

  • #

    I guess then we’ll find out what a carbon free economy is like, or what it’s like to live in a third world country. I wonder who will cope the best?

    80

    • #
      OriginalSteve

      Anyone with common sense and the ability to defend themselves with lethal force….

      41

      • #
        gai

        ” I wonder who will cope the best?”

        That is why I now live on a farm and have had serious conversations with neighbors.

        A bit of Boom-Boom and the bridges connecting us to the roads that lead to the cities are gone. Feral humans ranging out of the cities are going to be the biggest problem.

        Uncle’s 25 foot well, Aunt’s garden and canning ability, a smoke house for meat preservations, horses and farm equipment, sheep and goats….

        >>>>>>>>>>>>

        Speaking of soap. Try pot bellied pigs and wood ash. There are two varieties of pigs, bacon and lard. Pot bellies are lard pigs but also great for eating. As one homesteader here in the USA said ” …conveniently packaged in a small take-along size. Easy to herd, easy to pen, cheaper to feed, easy to butcher, easy to process… and did I mention they’re 100% pure pork?.”

        11

        • #
          OriginalSteve

          Agreed. It wont be the crisis itself that causes problems, its unprepared and desperate people who will pose the biggest safety risk.

          All you have to do is look at the London or LA riots and ask “who survived best?”

          A – armed people with grit. Same with New Orleans.

          Modern people assume stuff like this cant happen – bad move.

          20

          • #
            gai

            I used to think the survivalists were way out there but after watching Obama and the EPA deliberately cripple our electric grid I figure it doesn’t hurt to do at least minimal prep.

            I have already been through a hurricane that knocked out the power for a week so prep is practical. Believe me, during that period uncle’s 25 foot well that we could haul water out of by hand was a life saver for the entire neighborhood given the roads were blocked by high water and downed trees for three days.

            30

            • #

              gai,

              We also went through something similar with Cyclone Marcia earlier this year.

              By far the funniest thing I saw was at our local Mall on the Tuesday following the storm, and odd isn’t it, one of the essential places to get back on line with power is a shopping Mall.

              We got by as best we could, and in fact, I was surprised how well we did cope, my good lady wife and me.

              We visited the Mall on Tuesday afternoon to get bread and milk which we had depleted, and while we were there we stopped at our favourite coffee place. It’s at one end of the ‘food court’ which was absolutely jam packed solid, with the longest queues at the two outlets you will no doubt guess, Maccas and KFC. Virtually every seat in that food court was occupied, but they were all there charging up the plethora of different devices people have these days. There were also long queues at those power points in fact, and each power point had a multi outlet power board plugged in to maximise the number of devices which could be plugged in. Every second shop in the mall had a handwritten note on the window inviting people to come in and use their power points to charge their devices, mostly mobile phones. It was actually comical to see, and as we were leaving, there were people still streaming in with devices and charging leads in hand.

              It’s really odd to see just what is important.

              Part of my prep prior to the event was to get hold of something now almost in the past, a Dolphin Torch, because I knew that they had a large capacity battery. It lasted all 6 nights, and was just going flat on that last night. I also needed D cells for my small 47 year old Transistor radio, and, while Coles and Woolies, and K Mart and Big W were sold out of them, for torches, I knew where I could find some, oddly at The Reject Store, where they had plenty of them.

              As to Dolphin torches, Woolies still had a good supply of them and their batteries, even on that Tuesday, still on special, and still unsold. It seems that those things from the past have slipped into the realm of something forgotten about.

              Best torch I ever had, oh, other than Big Jim, which they don’t make any more, more’s the pity.

              As an aside, gai, can you get a ‘flat white’ at any of the coffee shops you might visit. I was surprised when a friend in California said he had never seen them at any he visited.

              Tony.

              30

              • #
                Annie

                It is thanks to you, Tony from Oz, that my husband received a Dolphin torch for his birthday! We are up country on a mini-farm and preparing for power cuts.

                20

            • #
              Bill Burrows

              Gai – I experienced a similar shock when Cyclone Marcia took out electricity in Central Queensland 18 months back. After a few days I managed to get a loan of a generator which maintained the barest minimum of house essentials. Our supply was restored after 7 days. That was more than enough time to realise how dependent and appreciative I was of having electricity at call 24/7. And as for those who yearn for “the good old days” I’m old enough to remember the on farm ‘delights’ of carbide lights and “Coolgardie” food coolers – and I have no wish whatsoever to return to them in my dotage.

              30

              • #
                Bill Burrows

                Oops Tony is correct. Cyclone Marcia hit us earlier this year!

                20

              • #

                Bill,

                after the Cyclone, the owner of the site where I contribute asked me to write up my experiences.

                It turned into a series, but it was really well received with a large number of visits each day as a new Part was added.

                I also used the Coolgardie Safe principle to keep essentials cool, and the ice lasted quite well, even though the ambient was up beyond 35C every day.

                The post about that cooling is Number Five in the series which has the introductory Post with links to each part at this link.

                Cyclone Marcia – Rockhampton Queensland Australia (With Updates)

                Tony.

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            I guess that’s why Katrina was indeed so eye opening, the number of people who firstly just scoffed and said it wouldn’t happen, and then when it did, they all just stood around waiting for someone to come and do it all for them, the classic Dependant Society that we have distilled down to now.

            If anything like this does happen, then by the time desperation sets in, there’ll be less to handle, and they’ll be a lot later in leaving where they are to go to where they have hopes for.

            It’s odd really, I’m not into Stephen King at all, except for an original short story he wrote called The Ledge. In my period when I was expanding out my reading to authors other than those I was comfortable with, I was given The Stand as a Christmas present, not the earlier version but the much longer and revised version released a lot later into his now established career. That dealt with a post apocalypse situation, and while it was a bit boring, it did indicate for me (even though fictional) what the situation might be in the event of an apocalyptic event.

            Even so, a mass coronal ejection has to happen at almost the prefect time for it to have an effect on Earth, and even then I suspect it might only be on the side actually facing the Sun at impact time with Earth, so there is a chance that it won’t be a whole of Earth situation anyway.

            I suppose it’s in almost in the same vein as a Meteorite strike, wish and hope it just doesn’t happen.

            Tony.

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        Bill

        Please stop with the hollywood mythos about the return to barbarism. Research any mass disaster and you find that nonsense doesn’t happen except in a very limited way. Claims of barbarism are one of the cries of the cagw fruitbats, not rational discussion.

        http://www.who.int/violence_injury_prevention/publications/violence/violence_disasters.pdf

        http://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=post+disaster+violence&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ved=0CBoQgQMwAGoVChMI6evN0rnqyAIVTcpjCh3AjA9G

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    Peter C

    However these satellites are all several years past their planned mission lives43 and only one has a replacement scheduled to launch in 2014.

    I wonder if they did launch any replacement satellite in 2014 or subsequently?

    Lots more questions raised by this article! I might think about getting a standby generator, just to run the fridge.

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    Manfred

    As I understand it, many Corporations and doubtless Governments, Banks et al. have their main frames well protected against EM onslaught, be it nuclear or solar. These entities also possess back-up generating capacity. Doubtless too, extensive re-prioritising and relocation of extant functional infra-structure would take place, while manufacturing of new infrastructure took place. I have my doubts that such a solar event would be the actualisation of ‘end-times’ but concede that it would be a serious but surmountable global inconvenience, but naturally nothing of the scale of The Inconvenient ‘Truth’™ /sarc

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    Mick In The Hills

    The world needs an independent panel of experts to assess risks to the planet from all possible sources – volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, solar storms, asteroids, climate shifts, magnetic inversion, etc

    Just one proviso – it’s not run by the UN.

    Sorry, 2 provisos – all their data, assumptions, calculations, adjustments, correspondence to be publicly published continuously.

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    Ruairi

    A solar flare magnetic charge,
    Even small, striking Earth, would be large,
    As in less than an hour,
    Our electrical power,
    Could short, overload and discharge.

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    • #
      Andrew McRae

       

      A C.M.E. causes a frown
      from the Internet being down
      as Ruairi’s fine
      limericks confine
      to just one remote Irish town.

      “It can’t be!” strove ex-PM Rudd.
      “It’s made my N.B.N. a dud.
      Can’t get my economy
      Green through astronomy
      nor emissions trading of mud!”

      The big bankers had to solve it.
      Their lackey Turnbull got on it.
      “Listen Mal!” they were glowering,
      “CO2 levels are lowering
      from which none of us can profit!”

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    ianl8888


    It’s pretty cool that we can pin those years down so accurately, and as an aside, I imagine it makes a fairly handy calibration point for tree ring researchers now that we know it was global

    This is what we geologists refer to as a marker bed (may be on a regional scale, global is terrific)

    Yes, very cool indeed

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    Dealing with one of these is a huge gap in policy at every level (from households to the UN) but as things stand, the countries and regions that will best withstand an event are the ones where a central body can take control of, well, everything, whether their plan is the best one or not.

    It also highlights a unique role for big fundamental science. I’d be interested in the balance sheet comparing the money saved for every hour of extra warning versus the cost of the research and dedicated systems to get those hours.

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    • #
      ianl8888


      … the countries and regions that will best withstand an event are the ones where a central body can take control of, well, everything …

      Oh dear … you forgot to add that this central body will be under the control of that black-actor-dude-who’s-name-I-forget-but who always-plays-a-calm-confident-world-President-in-global-catastrophe-or-perhaps-Bruce-Willis-to-smash-rioting-vigilante-groups

      Seriously, attempting to predict the outcome of such a globally catastrophic event by assuming some “central body” would still exist is deranged. It is equally likely (perhaps more than equally) that pockets of civilisation geographically outside the cities would survive – certainly the city populations would be decimated within days, without food or energy supplies

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        Prime example, Hurricane Katrina where they all sat around waiting for someone to come and tell them what to do.

        Tony.

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        Mick In The Hills

        Tony, they weren’t just sitting around, they were figuring out how to dodge any responsibilities themselves, and shift the blame to (who else?) -
        G.W. Bush

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        I might be deranged but I was not trying to predict any outcomes. Just making a simple point that things can be done on the ground that will help and that the regions that do something will have better outcomes than those that don’t.. Of course your point that some places are inherently more vulnerable than others, those most invested in the technologies that will be “taken out” by such a catastrophe, is a good one.

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        • #

          You’ll note that I did praise big-government for a change in this article. Rare thing.

          How much preparation is the Australian government doing?

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            Gee Aye

            Specifically or accidentally? Neither very much. Probably more invested in solar research that might assist preparedness, but I would not be surprised if the outcome of such research is to give us greater certainty that we have less certainty.

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            Gee Aye

            Btw there is no reason to think that the “central body” need be big govt or heavy handed. If a majority of individuals understand the risk assessment it can be a whole of society repose – tiers of govt, businesses big and small, volunteer corps or whatever subdivision of people want to be involved – with some sort of agreed upon coordinating body.

            I suppose there are also the pink unicorns that will fly up to block the sun and save the day.

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            • #
              ianl8888


              I suppose there are also the pink unicorns that will fly up to block the sun and save the day

              Nope

              Just no end of opportunists who try to grab bits and pieces of power

              But you’re entitled to your “Conversation”

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              • #

                well that was cryptic.

                Anyway – if the sun had a massive burp tomorrow, we’d find out about it tomorrow and we’d do bugger all to minimise its impact before its full impact hit. Whether, in the future, we have genuine cooperation, a sham hidden behind a fig leaf that looks like a plan or that we pray for unicorns is up to us.

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                James Bradley

                Gee Aye,

                Was that last comment a personal appraisal?

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              gai

              “Btw there is no reason to think that the “central body” need be big govt or heavy handed….”

              No there is just plenty of PROOF!

              Why ever does anyone think a government bureaucracy run on the Peter Principle, butt kissing and CYA would be at all competent to actually respond to a problem?

              In business we charge three times the rate if we have to deal with the government. Generally after all the paperwork shuffling eating up lots of time, the bureaucrat involved finally renders a ‘decision.’ Of course he waits until the deadline for the event is long past and thereby does lots of ‘busy work’ but never actually makes a decision that could actually come back to hamper his career. (This is why we will not do a thing until we are paid up front to deal with the paper work.)

              So here are some examples of how the government actually works in an emergency. One example in the UK and one in the USA.

              2001 — The complete botching of the UK Foot and Mouth Epidemic The source was later traced to government’s official FMD laboratory in Pirbright, Surrey. The USA did a simulation called ‘Crimson Sky’ showing a complete wiping out of US livestock. So what does the US government do? It moves the US government’s official FMD laboratory from Plum Island where the lab is isolated by the ocean to the middle of cow country in Kansas!!! My state was the other ‘pick’ for the lab so I followed the developments closely.

              Then there was Katrina which offers insite into WHY big government is not good.

              THE US GOVERNMENT DID NOT FAIL ITS MISSION IN THE WAKE OF HURRICANE KATRINA

              …There has been widespread criticism of the response of US officials to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005. The tone of these complaints is that the authorities failed to do their job….

              These reports make it clear that the government did not fail to respond in a timely fashion. The problem was that it did respond – but in such a way as to actually hinder rescue operations. There were too many instances for this to be merely a mistake or a bureaucratic snafu. There is a clear pattern here that cannot be denied. Why this should be so will be discussed in a moment, but first, here is the amazing record.

              [Long list of news articles of government failure]

              So what is going on here?….

              The only legitimate function of government is to protect the lives, liberty, and property of its citizens. In New Orleans, however, it was clear that the primary job of the military, FEMA, and Homeland Security was, not to protect citizens, but to protect the government and keep it functioning. It can be argued that, if government does not protect itself first, it may not be able to protect its citizens, so that should be its first obligation. However, the government was not in danger in New Orleans. Aside from one or two snipers, its forces were never under attack, and its ability to function was never threatened; so the self-preservation argument is not valid in this case.

              It was clear from the start that the goal of FEMA and Homeland Security was, not to resue people, but to control them. Their directive was to relocate families and businesses, confiscate property, commandeer goods, direct labor and services, and establish martial law. This is what they have been trained to do. The reason they failed to carry out an effective rescue operation is that this was not their primary mission, and the reason they blocked others from doing so is that any operations not controlled by the central authority are contrary to their directives. Their objective was to bring the entire area under the control of the federal government – and this they succeeded in doing very well.

              William Anderson, in an article posted to the the web site of the von Mises Institute, came to the same conclusion but from a slightly different perspective…..

              The William Anderson article:

              Katrina and the Never-Ending Scandal of State Management

              ….As we now know, government agents stymied attempts by private individuals and organizations to bring provisions to people who had none. People languished for about five days before the “cavalry” arrived, bringing provisions and some bit of hope.

              Thus, the “discussion” is usually framed as follows: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), led by an incompetent lawyer who was unaware of the desperation of the hurricane and flood survivors, botched rescue operations, mistakenly turned away people who were bringing provisions, and generally mismanaged the rescue and relief efforts….

              Yet, for all of the public angst over the federal government’s — and especially FEMA’s — post-disaster response, most observers have missed what is painfully obvious: the government’s response was perfectly in character to how people in government act in such situations. To say this in an alternative way, government was being government the same way that a dog is a dog.

              As anyone knows, dogs are territorial animals, and governments are territorial entities. The first rule that a government agent follows when confronted with an “emergency” is to “secure the area.” For example, when two young men were merrily going on a murder and mayhem spree at Columbine High School in 1999, the vaunted police “SWAT” team stayed outside and encircled the complex because someone said that the area had to be “secured” before police actually could try to save anyone. (Of course, we found out later that not only did police fail to save people, but at least one person bled to death because police refused to get help until the man had died. This was not incompetence; it was the normal workings of the “I am in charge and don’t you forget it” mentality that permeates government at all levels.)

              Immediately after the hurricane had stopped in New Orleans, for example, a Wal-Mart had brought a truckload of bottled water; FEMA officials turned the truck away, declaring that it was “not needed.” Before we dismiss this incident as yet another example of incompetent government, we should realize that the official’s actions were completely within the character of government….

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          AndyG55

          “I might be deranged”

          Wow.. and you only just realised.!!

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      Mark D.

      …..the countries and regions that will best withstand an event are the ones where a central body can take control of, well, everything, whether their plan is the best one or not.

      Really?

      I’m sure you have examples from history to back that claim?

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      • #

        do you really want some waffly arm waving?

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        • #
          el gordo

          ‘Anyway – if the sun had a massive burp tomorrow, we’d find out about it tomorrow …’

          tru dat

          And the same goes for earthquakes and cosmic impacts.

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          AndyG55

          “do you really want some waffly arm waving?”

          We’ll call when you are needed. !

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          Peter C

          As I was reading through the comments and admiring the incisive brilliance of Gee Aye, I happened to notice that Gee Aye is in red. So I clicked on that and what a treasure trove I found.

          The most recent entry on the Gee Aye blog was this;

          Tuesday, 14 January 2014
          Stop Pretending That You Understand Evolution

          All I wanted to do with this post was link to an article, but having written this title I am looking at it with admiration and fantasising about a blog with this title full of articles tearing apart the ridiculous Dunning-Kruger types who create evolutionary stories to justify whatever they like. I come across at least one example per day, where the proponent uses a confected evolutionary explanation to fit their own ideology and not only are they not scrutinsed or questioned sceptically but they are applauded.

          So there was a link to the paper, but that was all! No analysis of the paper. Apparently the people who comment were supposed to fill in all the content.

          Now you would think that after writing a brilliant title like that, and then admiring it and fantising about the blog full of responses that there might be some responses. Sadly No.

          Also note,the date of the last entry. Not much work occuring at the Gee Aye blog

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          gai

          How about an example where a SNAFU didn’t happen and a government bureaucracy was involved?

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      Annie

      I didn’t mean a thumbs up there…finger slipped on ‘phone!

      You are just giving another excuse for a dictatorship.

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        Peter C

        Are you tha accidental red thumber also? :-)

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        • #
          Annie

          No…not usually! It has happened a couple of times when ‘phone did the dirty on me but I have added a note to say what happened. I am NOT the phantom red thumber!!!!

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      • #

        Actually Annie you got that right. That is the challenge, to get things done, cooperatively from the “grass roots” and not sit around waiting for someone else to do it because that someone is going to be da man. Part of my point was to draw out that analysis but also the one that certain types of risks requiring certain types of responses are actually done more easily by hard-line controlling authorities as they have the systems in place to do so.

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    Anton

    There was an article about Carringtons and worse in Physics World (the mag of the UK Institute of Physics) in August last year, and disturbing reading it was too.

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    TdeF

    At least Carbon 14 gets a mention! Yes it is incredible that you can tell everything from Carbon 14. That is the core of the Suess effect, now corrupted on Wikipedia to include Carbon 13, which is stable and irrelevant. You can tell so much more from C14 but radioactivity seems far too complex for everyone. It isn’t. It tells you everything you need to know about Man Made Global Warming.

    Dr Suess, one of the inventors of Radio Carbon dating concluded simply that there was virtually no man made CO2 in the air. You can measure this easily as fossil fuel has none. This conclusion is as true today as in 1955 and completely destroys man made global warming. The C14 graph also proves that the half life of man made CO2, any CO2 is only 14 years. I have read figures from 5 years to 80 years (IPCC). There is no debate and the proof is absolute.

    Where the man released CO2 has gone is irrelevant but obvious and denied by the IPCC because they must, but it does not matter. That the massive oceans are warming and releasing CO2 is slowly being recognized and twisted around completely to be proof of CO2 driven Global Warming. Science is being hopelessly corrupted by people desperate to paint fossil fuels as a villain of the Western world. Fossil fuels are the saviour of the modern world and transparently the key to any standard of living above the primitive. As tens of thousands of anti jet fuel activists jet into Paris, the hypocrisy is teeth grinding.

    While we have half the fossil fuels left, we should be building nuclear power stations as fast as we can, as France, Russia, the US, China and Japan have done. Every erg should go into fusion, thorium, waste disposal, energy storage research, not another absurd explanation for why oil and cars are killing the planet and we should all live on lentils and ride bicycles and be happy and share and sit around singing kumbaya.

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    • #

      Clearly you don’t like Figure 1 in Ghosh and Brand (2003) as much as I do.

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        TdeF

        If you mean this, no. This is about C13. It relies on differential uptakes of the two stable isotopes of Carbon, slighly heavier C13 (1%) vs C12 (99%) by “1.5 parts per thousand (from about 0.0111073 to 0.0110906).”

        Why bother? C14 is an absolute measure, not subject to argument and not an arguable and tiny 0.15% effect.

        Why not accurately radio carbon date the air itself? C14 does not exist in fossil fuels and has been stable enough in the atmosphere to allow precision measurements of time, as above. I can only conclude that people do not understand radioactive decay at all or how radio carbon dating works.

        You can tell absolutely how much fossil fuel is in the air. It is completely different. Like reverse tagging. The fossil fuel CO2 is tagged with NO C14. If the CO2 increase was all fossil fuel, C14 should be down 33%. It isn’t. Prior to the first nuclear explosions, more than half way through the 20th century, there was only a 2% effect, the Suess effect. Professor Suess’s conclusions are as valid today.

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        • #
          • #
            TdeF

            No means no. Moreover, I would be extremely surprised and suspicious if there were significant differences in behaviour between C12 and C13O2, a difference in chemistry of zero and of weight of 44 to 45amu, a tiny 2%. If so, the people trying to separate U235 from U238 with centrifuges are clearly on the wrong track.

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        • #
          PeterS

          C14 does not exist in fossil

          Actually it does. There have been many scientific readings performed to show it does reside in fossils of various forms.

          10

          • #
            TdeF

            No. Not possible. C14 has a half life of 5200 years. It vanishes. No power on earth can change that. It is a temporary atom. The oldest fossils which could have any traces of C14 would be in the tens of thousands of years old, not tens of millions. Our fossil fuels are hundreds of millions of years old.

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          • #
            Akatsukami

            Only if we classify peat as a “fossil fuel”.

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        • #
          Klem

          “If the CO2 increase was all fossil fuel, C14 should be down 33%. It isn’t”
          .

          Dear TdeF

          Your comments about C14 in the atmosphere are very interesting, can you give me some links that a layperson like me can read?

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      • #
        TdeF

        Also what happens with trees, soil, oceans, winds, animals, plants, plankton are irrelevant. The CO2 in the air is just not old CO2.

        The discussion of where the CO2 goes is secondary and interesting but irrelevant. If man cannot change aerial CO2, if the CO2 just vanishes quickly, there is no AGW. It is not possible. Classic physical chemistry prohibits the unilateral loading of one side of an equilibrium system. The atmosphere is not a bucket which can be filled in isolation.

        Everyone contributes to this debate as they can and some of it is very interesting. However radiation and physical chemistry can prove and explain why mankind has not and cannot change CO2 levels. Models are interesting but ultimately irrelevant. AGW is a scam.

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        KinkyKeith

        Miss Direction.

        Misdirection.

        Misd erection

        Missed ……

        Sad GA

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    nc

    The east west power lines are much more affected than north south and fast acting protection should remove equipment from service before damage is done. That being said there most likely will be wide spread outages but damage should be limited. Restoration would be interesting, hope I am off shift as a grid operator that day.

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  • #
    Andrew Richards

    “For once a big-government response that seems sensible:

    Since the 1989 Quebec storm and power outage, the Canadian government has invested $1.2 billion (about $34 per person) into protecting the Hydro-Quebec grid infrastructure, installing numerous blocking capacitors.”

    Tschh Jo!!!

    I will assume the Canadian hydro-Quebec grid is state owned. I think a better solution is to sell-off these assets to the private sector but require private operators to risk manage their grids including through the installation of blocking capacitors.

    No need for big-govt responses. The free market (if it were really free) can do this far more efficiently than the state (ie. at lower cost and with costs directed far more appropriately).

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    • #

      Andrew, if big-government has to tell the private operators to install blocking capacitors, it’s not exactly a free market solution, though granted, the private corporations would probably do it more efficiently and at less cost.

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    RoHa

    We’re doomed, of course.

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    handjive

    What would happen now?

    Obviously a tax/cap & trade of rare Carrington Events would save the planet, 97% consensus science tells us.

    On the other hand, “After being hidden for nearly 15,000 years, the lives of Ice Age hunter-gatherers who migrated to Europe to benefit from warmer climes are to be revealed in an archaeological dig at a very rare site in Bradgate Park, Leicestershire.

    “The people who left behind these clues were members of a small group of pioneer mobile hunter gatherers who repopulated north-west Europe towards the end of the last Ice Age with the rapid onset of a warmer climate (the Lake Windermere Interstadial) and the development of open grassland vegetation.”
    . . .
    Evidence of carbon(sic) action has not been found, yet, but they keep digging … /sarc off

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    William

    There are a couple of fundamental flaws in the comments regarding the response to such an event, and the production of replacement transformers. These flaws make the projections regarding our recovery to be highly optimistic. ie:

    1. How will the production workers get to work?
    2. Given that the distribution system will be paralyzed, how will they be fed?
    3. How will the raw materials for the transformers get to the production facilities?
    4. How will the raw materials be produced in the first place?
    5. How will all of the extraction and production facilities be powered?
    6. Etc, etc.

    Our current power grid is the end product of a couple of hundred years of incremental and evolutionary growth. If it were to have universal failure, as envisaged in these comments, then it is unlikely to recover to current functionality in less that a century or so.

    We are doomed. Doomed, I say!

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      And William gives good responses here.

      Without that grid, there’s nothing.

      Greenies fuss and bother and say that independent rooftop solar is the answer.

      It may be one tiny answer for a very very few people, but it’s the tiniest fractional part of the 30 to 38% which is residential power consumption, perhaps (now) with barely a hundredth of one percent (more likely considerably less than that) of the overall power mix being generated by off grid rooftop solar.

      EVERYTHING else is utterly reliant on the grid to supply monumentally huge supplies of electricity to actually make everything else function.

      You can have single supply electricity for your home with off grid rooftop solar, but if there’s nothing else, then it’s a totally useless exercise really.

      Tony.

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        OriginalSteve

        Yes and no…..

        Having spent some time building steam engines myself, I would be fairly sure ( assuming they didnt blow up too often ) that a reboot of civilisation would be literally steam powered.

        Steam engines have the benefit of being able to burn pretty much anything – wood, dead animals, including that ‘evil’ coal stuff, and are completely unaffected by any form of electrical/solar issues.

        Yes they consume gobs of coal and water, however people managed to build that infrastructure orininally, so they could do it again.
        Railways would see a resurgence.

        Ironically, there are plenty of people around who know how to run boilers and operate steam engines, albeit usually model size, but the principles are the same. ‘Grandads army’ could reboot he modern world…he he

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      William, seems it all depends on how widespread the damage is. I would presume (hope) that if say American power was wiped out, the rest of the west would eventually manage a damn good effort to get it back on its feet. But yes, if it’s global…

      How much protection do we get from turning equipment off? Can we shut down those power stations fast enough, or disconnect substations, and would that help much?

      If those telegraph operators were sending messages on “auroral” electricity, even turning things off may only help so much.

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      • #
        NeedleFactory

        How much protection do we get from turning equipment off?
        Good question. One preparation society might make is to stockpile replacement transformers;– but if off-line transformers are also vulnerable, building replacements in advance would (a) be of no benefit and (b) be costly.

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        PeterH

        A Carrington type event has a huge effect on long wire electrical lines. Smaller electronic devices, if unplugged from the power grid, should be undamaged. Given enough warning to unplug major electrical lines from the system, damage should be limited. Alternately, spark gap surge protectors can protect a lot of infrastructure by limiting voltage difference between primary and secondary of transformers.

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    DMA

    There is an interesting discussion of this danger at https://www.heartland.org/podcasts/2015/09/24/norman-rogers-climate-change-and-real-threat-emps.

    As usual Heartland is a good source of valuable info.

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    John F. Hultquist

    Chiefio (28 Oct) has a post titled “EMP – A Summary Starting Point”
    … Starts with discussion of the type of thing (solar) this post is about and quickly takes a dark turn to North Korea and Iran, and the possible use of nuclear-induced Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP). ’cause they love us all so much.

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    • #

      John, thanks, interesting. https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/emp-a-summary-starting-point/
      I’ll add that link to the post.

      The main deterrent would seem to be having a program to identify potential EMP satellites and track and make it known to the usual suspects that it would be considered an act of war, and you are prepared. Even if we can’t do that, the doubt that we might could be enough.

      DMA: thanks too. Also added to the post.

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        ianl8888

        Yes, you’re grasping it now, Joanne

        The chaos caused by frying all power, communications, transport, energy supply and so on is genuinely catastrophic. Risk rated as most unlikely but disasterous if it happens

        Similarly, the quite sudden, but very infrequent on a geological timescale, swap of magnetic poles. We know it’s happened from the hard geological record, but during the “swap period” the planet is not protected from various radiation fields. The fossil records indicate that enormous numbers of deleterious mutations occur then. Again, most unlikely but catastrophic if it happens

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        OriginalSteve

        Jo I’d be quite sure the US, China and Russia have satellite killer rockets for just such a purpose.

        In fact , the recent “chemical explosion” in China was rumoured to be a retaliatory tungsten rod “hit” by persons unknown.

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    David Maddison

    Can someone please explain the technical reason why we would get all these transformer failures etc and why the standard circuit breakers would not protect them?

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    • #

      I’m no electrical engineer nor a physicist to give you an answer in my own words but there are lots of good descriptions out there in the googleverse. As for circuit breakers at least – that is irrelevant in part. A circuit breaker wont help your radio if you shoot it with a gun.

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    • #

      An absolutely humungously large burst of energy fries electrical and electronic circuits, the smaller the circuit, the quicker it fries. Electronic circuitry is designed to operate on smaller electrical inputs, for example, old style valve radios operated on 240 Volts, and with the dawning of the semiconductor age, we had transistors (not the actual radios but the actual semiconductor transistors which replaced the valves) which now only needed an operating voltage of 9 Volts and less, and then with even smaller circuitry replacing transistors, chips (euphemistically referred to as cockroaches because of their many legs) that operating voltage became even less.

      So now, with huge energy input, all those electronics just fry, quite literally.

      Standard circuit breakers and reverse current devices need not be so large now as any excessive over voltage or reverse current will just trip them.

      This huge input of energy just burns them out before they actually can trip.

      Keep in mind that what I have mentioned here is a pretty basic explanation, and you can bet London to a brick that I’ll get replies picking me up.

      Tony.

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        James Bradley

        Tony,

        I heard somewhere about a criminal gang that used a similar concept to shut down power in Las Vegas and rob a casino – it’d make a great movie.

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        gai

        Tony, our transformer on the street caught fire. (Surge from wind power maybe???)

        The result was our surge protector for our computers caught fire, my computer was fried, our microwave was fried, as well as the frig and the freezer.

        We were home so the surge protector fire didn’t burn down the house.

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        not as basic as my explanation!

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      FarmerDoug2

      I’m interested in these “blocking capacitors”. I see how a capacitor might block a DC pulse but building them big enough to pass lots of amps at 50cps? And all this at kilo volts. A pulse, DC, that might saturate a transformer might not need many volts but that is the environment the capacitor has to live in.
      Doug

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      PeterH

      The major damage from a coronal mass ejection or nuclear EMP is a pulse of low frequency radio energy produced by the geomagnetic field being shoved and rebounding. Miles long electrical lines can act as an antenna channeling high voltage to whatever device they connect to. Get too much voltage across a transformer and the insulator can break down.

      Standard circuit breakers are not commonly installed to block the common mode voltage surge these events produce. Common mode => current traveling the same direction down both wires of a pair. Vs. differential mode => current going out one wire and returning on another. I’m unaware of any electrical or communications system where common mode is better than an annoyance, they all use differential mode.

      Smaller electrical devices, if not plugged into anything, won’t be exposed to enough voltage across their small length to do much.

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    pat

    staying on topic! if one hit now, it would save us from this:

    28 Oct: UK Telegraph: Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: Paris climate deal to ignite a $90 trillion energy revolution
    The old fossil order is on borrowed time as China and even India join the drive for dramatic cuts in CO2 emissions
    …155 countries have submitted plans so far for the COP21 climate summit…
    Taken together, they commit the world to a reduction in fossil fuel demand by 30pc to 40pc over the next 20 years, and this is just the start of a revolutionary shift to net zero emissions by 2080 or thereabouts. “It is unstoppable. No amount of lobbying at this point is going to change the direction,” said Christiana Figueres, the UN’s top climate official.
    Yet the energy industry is still banking on ever-rising demand for its products as if nothing has changed. BP is projecting a 43pc increase in fossil fuel use by 2035, Exxon expects 35pc by 2040, Shell 43pc and Opec is clinging valiantly to 55pc. These are pure fiction…
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) may or may not be correct in arguing that we cannot safely burn more than 800bn tonnes of carbon (two-thirds has been used already) if we are to stop global temperatures rising two degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2100. ***I take no view on the science.
    But this is the goal accepted by world leaders…
    There is still a North-South haggle over money – erupting in terse words last week in Bonn – but this dispute has become ritualistic, increasingly hollow in a world where China is now a creditor. It revolves around $100bn of annual funds pledged by the rich countries long ago. “It’s peanuts,” said Mrs Figueres.
    The sums are trivial set against the $90 trillion of new energy investment that the IEA deems necessary by 2030 just to keep the global juggernaut on the road…
    A Carbon Tracker forum in the City this week was packed with bankers and fund managers itching to find a way into the biggest investment boom of all time, which is what the Paris accord promises to ignite…
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11958916/Paris-climate-deal-to-ignite-a-90-trillion-energy-revolution.html

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      OriginalSteve

      It will all end in tears ( and tar and feathers ) once the general population realise the collective zombie conciousness of the worlds greenie influenced leaders means going back to 3rd world conditions…

      Could end badly…..

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        OriginalSteve

        I predict that many bankers could end their days with the hand print of some ticked off Joe Average firmly imprinted on the back of their necks…..once the population knows its been decieved and by whom, all bets are off. Getting out of cities would be crucial at that point. They would have to start a huge war to take the heat off them. But thats been done before, so….

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    Bob in Castlemaine

    The lead time to replace main grid transformers in Australia is likely to be at least a year in normal times. This assumes that countries with the capability to build such transformers are not themselves up to their armpits in alligators as a result of the same event. I’d suggest that in the Aussie antipodes we should think not in terms of months but years when it comes to replacing such transformers.
    The Green/left undoubtedly wants to send our civilisation back to the stone age, maybe such an event (a credible event in this instance) could be just be what fulfils that wet dream.

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    Graham Richards

    Has any body seen or have any idea where the ABC’s “Godzilla El Niño” might be.
    Our delegation to Paris needs evidence! please report any sightings to your nearest Aunty?

    Just watching the rain forecast & if this El Niño could we please have more . Rains have been good & it’s looking good into the near future.

    Even the UN has issued a pre Paris warning to the world to prepare for fire & brimstone.
    Get a life you xxxxxxxxxx.

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    pat

    29 Oct: ReutersCarbonPulse: Stian Reklev: Australia govt to develop more project types for ERF
    Australia’s Department of Environment is currently developing a series of new methods to allow more project types to become eligible to bid for contracts under the Emissions Reduction Fund…
    The new methods include:
    – Avoiding methane emissions due to stockpiling of poultry litter and stabilising the carbon content in the form of biochar.
    – Improving energy efficiency by installing variable speed drives on existing constant speed electric motor driven systems, such as fans, pumps or conveyors.
    – Reducing fugitive methane emissions from coal mines. – Allowing for a single project to include multiple forest sequestration activities currently covered by separate ERF methods.
    – Allowing for shifting to early dry season fire management to result in sequestration through an increase in carbon stocks in the debris pool.
    – Estimating potential abatement from new commercial plantations and the conversion of short-rotation plantations to long-rotation plantations.
    – Reducing organic waste going to landfill by diverting waste sorted at point of origin…
    Interest remains strong despite some criticism that the government is reducing transparency in order to keep prices down…
    http://carbon-pulse.com/australia-govt-to-develop-more-project-types-for-erf/

    28 Oct: ReutersCarbonPulse: Mike Szabo: Carbon pricing to raise 50% more revenue for governments in 2015 -report
    Carbon pricing schemes are forecast to raise a total $22 billion for governments this year, up from an estimated $15 billion in 2014, according to a report released on Wednesday.
    Around three quarters of that amount, or some $16.5 billion, is being generated in Europe through CO2 allowance sales under the EU ETS and national carbon taxes, for example in the UK and France, said the Climate Markets & Investment Association (CMIA), a London-headquartered trade group.
    A further $5 billion or so is being raised by state and provincial governments in North America such as California, Quebec, and members of RGGI, with the remainder being collected under Japanese carbon taxes, the study said…
    Other countries including China, South Korea and New Zealand have carbon pricing mechanisms, but the programmes don’t currently channel revenue to the government…
    CMIA predicted that carbon revenues could reach into the hundreds of billions of dollars in the long-term, as more governments put a price on greenhouse gas emissions…
    http://carbon-pulse.com/carbon-pricing-to-raise-50-more-revenue-for-governments-in-2015-report/

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    pat

    28 Oct: ReutersCarbonPulse: Mike Szabo: Kyoto countries shuffle towards compliance as True-up deadline approaches
    The 16 non-compliant countries, which include Australia, Belgium, Japan, Russia, Ukraine and Sweden, have simply to transfer an ample number of AAUs from their holding accounts to their retirement accounts before 2400 UTC on Nov. 18. Failure to do this can result in repercussions ranging from a review by Kyoto’s Compliance Committee to, in severe cases, the suspension of carbon-unit trading under Kyoto, or the AAU shortfall being inflated by 30% and that figure being deducted from a country’s balance during the protocol’s second commitment period (2013-2020)…
    AAUs have been dubbed “hot air” by some green groups because they did not come about as the result of climate policy. The units have emerged as a divisive issue at UN talks, with western nations seeking their cancellation and eastern countries arguing that the credits’ method of creation was irrelevant compared to the fact that they represent genuine reductions…
    http://carbon-pulse.com/kyoto-countries-shuffle-towards-compliance-as-true-up-deadline-approaches/

    28 Oct: ClimateChangeNews: Ed King: National climate plans could face 2018 review under UN deal
    Fears that emission reductions could drop off the agenda post Paris are driving support behind an early assessment of global carbon cuts
    “We think it is useful to have an early short term goal,” Artur Runge Metzger, head of the EU’s international climate strategy, told Climate Home…
    The drive to ensure this year’s Paris summit is simply the start of greater levels of climate ambition is, unsurprisingly, being led by its French hosts.
    “Billions of people will not change their lives just because a treaty says so,” Laurence Tubiana, France’s chief climate diplomat, told this week’s Chatham House climate conference in London.
    A series of regular reviews – ideally starting before 2020 and occurring every 5 years – could be helpful in changing the “mindset” of governments and drive a new wave of green investments…
    By 2019, the economic and political case for ditching fossil fuels and backing renewables would also be clearer, Tubiana added, suggesting low carbon would be the “new normal”.
    That’s a view supported by Nigel Topping, head of the We Mean Business coalition, which represents the likes of Axa, Deloitte, China Steel and Mars…
    “Business is looking for certainty, and frequent reviews will ensure it does not face policy shocks.”…
    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2015/10/28/national-climate-plans-could-face-2018-review-under-un-deal/

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    pat

    reportedly!

    27 Oct: ClimateChangeNews: Alex Pashley: US and Japan strike deal to cut coal finance
    Obama administration reportedly gets Japan on board to phase out controversial coal export credits
    “They have struck a deal between the US and Japan. It’s a big deal. But they have to get other countries on board. The EU is getting there, but it’s Australia and South Korea that are holding back,” a person familiar with the talks told ClimateWire…
    At issue are cash guarantees for polluting projects in the developing world. These jeopardise efforts to tackle climate change, by making it cheaper to roll out dirty power plants…
    Maria Athena Ronquillo-Ballesteros, director of the World Resources Institute’s Sustainable Finance Program, said a US-Japan deal could have broad implications for investment…
    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2015/10/27/us-and-japan-strike-deal-to-cut-coal-finance/

    changing the rules in the UK:

    27 Oct: BusinessGreen: Jessica Shankleman: UK aims to relax emissions rules for steel factories in bid to help crisis-hit industry
    Department for Business says it hopes to give steel industry more time to meet Industrial Emissions Directive rules
    The government announced this afternoon that it has successfully lobbied the European Commission to allow it to relax emissions rules for the steel industry, in an effort to curb costs for the crisis-hit sector.
    The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said today it was planning to change the way it implements the Industrial Emission Directive (IED) from January 2016, in order to allow a number of steel plants to be granted a four a half year exemption to meeting stricter pollution standards…
    The government said it was also looking to relax the rules around an IED requirement for industry to use the best available technology in order to reduce emissions.
    “In cases, where the costs would be disproportionate to the benefits, the government can provide derogations at its discretion, based on the evidence submitted,” BIS said in a statement, adding that the Environment Agency was close to finalising a permit for Tata in this regard and National Resources Wales has agreed derogations for the company’s Port Talbot steel works…
    http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2432244/uk-aims-to-relax-emissions-rules-for-steel-factories-in-bid-to-help-crisis-hit-industry

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    LASER Earth SHIELD to AVERT EXTINCTION event by all nukes’ explosion after the next space super-storm, as the one we escaped for 9 hours in July 2012 (NASA*). Alerting solar super-storms occurred in 1989 (Quebec black-out), 2003 (Sweden black-out) & 2005 (GPS black-out). We need to repel just the excessive space electricity. https://ShieldEarthFromSpaceDisasters.wordpress.com
    *Laser Plasma Shield TESTED! http://www.sciencealert.com/boeing-has-patented-a-plasma-force-field-to-protect-against-shock-waves *http://wonderfulengineering.com/japanese-design-a-death-star-laser-that-is-more-powerful-than-any-laser-made-before/

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      AndyG55

      I think I’ve mentioned that Indonesia overtook Australia as a coal producer in 2013.

      From the Chinese perspective its closer, cheaper and less fuss.

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    el gordo

    ‘Rain coming to more than 80% of drought-affected Australia’

    Weatherzone

    ——–

    Its just what you would expect with a very strong El Nino.

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    pat

    29 Oct: Bolt Blog: Green power killing business
    Green power costs a bomb and isn’t reliable. But South Australia’s Labor government was crazed with global warming and wouldn’t listen, and now business is being driven into the ground (LINK)…
    That’s not the only Labor government burned by mixing power supplies with Leftist ideology.
    Socialism by government fiat will drive a business broke, yet Queensland’s Labor government pushes on (LINK)…
    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/green_power_killing_business/

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    Roy Hogue

    Jo asks,

    What would happen if one hit now?

    We would take it, whatever it did, with no other choice available to us because it is very much like the climate over which we spend so much time, it is bigger than we are and not under our control.

    You can hide to some extent — for a while. But there it will be when you’re forced out of hiding, doing what ever it does whether we like it or not.

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      Roy Hogue

      Transformers, apparently, are particularly vulnerable to being destroyed — and the waiting list for new ones is five months.

      I don’t understand why this would be so. A transformer is the most simple electrical device ever conceived. It could overheat or its insulation break down, both of which would require large over voltage to be applied or circuits to be shorted out, something of that kind. But otherwise, what can happen to them? They have no moving parts, no integrated circuits, nothing so sensitive as the modern equipment they provide with power. The generators depend on control equipment that could be disrupted, probably shutting them down. But this wouldn’t effect a transformer that I know of. They are passive in almost every sense, being nothing more than the same kind of wire that we have a many million miles of all over the world delivering power from source to consumer. Add only the iron core and you can make a transformer.

      I can understand disruption of all sorts of things that depend on electricity. But transformers? Anyone with insight on this?

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        Roy Hogue

        I didn’t think of this before but I notice that within the last few years Edison has been adding fuses to the primary winding input of every transformer around. How much protection that would be from damage to the transformer I don’t know but clearly the power engineers at Edison think it’s worth the money to do it. It’s probably just on general principles since transformers are known to fail (short out internally) now and then and you don’t want a failure to take down the power lines and distribution stations that feed the failed transformer.

        And I still don’t see why they would be so vulnerable in a solar storm.

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        John F. Hultquist

        Parts of Ellensburg were without power Tuesday morning after a bird flew into a transformer at the Dolarway substation, according to city officials.
        Oct. 20, 2015

        http://www.dailyrecordnews.com/news/ellensburg-power-outage-caused-by-bird/article_6f3ae426-7751-11e5-bfb0-3f4ab82b0a1d.html

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          Roy Hogue

          Completely understandable. The same thing happened around here a few years ago. I’m not sure but judging by the size of the insulators on top of the poles running along the back of my property they could be at as much as 30 kV or more. The insulators are high and it’s hard to judge the size because you have no reference. But it’s definitely something to stay well away from.

          A large bird shorting that out would be quite a show and a problem for the grid. Flesh and feathers both apparently conduct very well.

          Not long afterward they also started putting insulators over the exposed primary terminals of all the transformers and over the insulators of the center conductor of the 3 phase line. We have some big birds around with 2 to 3 foot or longer wingspans (humongous owls). As I backed out of my driveway early one morning on my way to the office I saw the one that had built a nest in my neighbor’s very tall palm tree come in for landing. The size of it startled me — big is an understatement. The tree is now gone, thankfully, because an owl’s nest produces an incessant noise all night when the chicks are hungry and want to be fed. Nature deserves our protection but it also can be a real nuisance.

          I’ve seen Edison people up on those poles handling those live wires and depending only on their insulating gloves and sleeves put over the wires for their safety. They don’t shut anything down just to do routine work. It’s terrifying to think of what even a small pinhole in one of those gloves would do. A bird would have no chance.

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        Mark D.

        Roy, Transformers are indeed tough as long as they are operating within design tolerances.

        Surges in supply voltage (often at very high equivalent frequency), stray current that is outside design frequency or overloading for any reason, can cause a transformer to self destruct. Consider too, that they are often installed (by design) at near maximum load for efficiency reasons, makes them more vulnerable to out of tolerance operation.

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          Roy Hogue

          Mark,

          I think you’re right with a possible exception. I see evidence that they want to keep some spare capacity. In 1998 we installed air conditioning. It didn’t take Edison more than a couple of months to replace the transformer that supplies our house with a larger one. I noticed it because when I pulled into the driveway that afternoon the sun was reflected right into my face off the shiny new paint job on that transformer. I don’t see any reason for that except that they noticed my higher consumption — it was September and very hot that year — and decided to increase the capacity of that transformer. The old transformer certainly didn’t fail just because we put in A/C.

          But I cannot see a solar storm producing such a large surge in supply voltage as to destroy something so simple as a transformer. The standard in the U.S. is 117 V RMS. But I’ve seen it go up and down by 5 to nearly 10 volts without anything failing. The usual is less variation than that but I was spending my time every day in front of computers connected to a UPS that read out supply voltage right in front of me so how could I miss an unusual reading? Most UPS devices don’t trigger an alarm until the voltage is higher or lower than that. How is a solar storm going to produce that large a surge?

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    gai

    I will add:

    STATEMENT OF PETER VINCENT PRY, CONGRESSIONAL EMP
    COMMISSION, CONGRESSIONAL STRATEGIC POSTURE COM-
    MISSION, AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE TASK FORCE
    ON NATIONAL AND HOMELAND SECURITY

    MAY 8, 2014 [43 pages]
    pg 12

    Natural EMP from a geomagnetic super-storm like the 1859 Carrington Event or the 1921 Railroad Storm, a nuclear EMP attack from terrorists or rogue states as practiced by North Korea during the nuclear crisis of 2013 are both existential threats that could kill 9 of 10 Americans through starvation, disease, and societal collapse.

    A natural EMP catastrophe or nuclear EMP attack could black out the National electric grid for months or years and collapse all the other critical infrastructures, communications, transportation, banking and finance, food and water, necessary to sustain modern society and the lives of 310 million Americans….

    EMP is a clear and present danger. A Carrington-class coronal mass ejection narrowly missed the earth in July 2012. Last April, during the nuclear crisis with North Korea over Kim Jong-Un’s threatened nuclear strikes against the United States, Pyongyang apparently practiced an EMP attack with its KSM–3 satellite that passed over the U.S. heartland and over the Washington, D.C.-New York City corridor. Iran, estimated to be within 2 months of nuclear weapons by the administration, has a demonstrated capability to launch an EMP attack from a vessel at sea. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy commenced patrols off the East Coast of the United States in February.

    Thank you for your attention to EMP, which is the least understood but gravest threat to our society.

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-113hhrg89763/pdf/CHRG-113hhrg89763.pdf

    This is the core point of Dr. Peter Vincent Pry.

    …Passage of the SHIELD Act to protect the National electric grid is urgently necessary. In 2010, after the House unanimously passed the GRID Act, if one Senator had not put a hold on the bill, today in 2014 the Nation would already be protected …..

    The single most important thing Congress could do to protect the American people from EMP and from all the other threats to critical infrastructures is pass the Critical Infrastructure Protect Act, which bill is soon or will be before this committee for consideration. Thousands of emergency planners and first responders at the Federal, State, and local level want to protect our Nation and their States and communities from the EMP threat, but they are seriously hindered and even prohibited from doing so because the EMP threat is not among the 15 canonical National planning scenarios utilized by the Department of Homeland Security.

    ….Passage of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act would immediately help States that are frustrated with the lack of action on EMP…

    The bill was passed by the house and came out of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on July 31st, 2015. On August 11, 2015 a Cost Estimate was reported by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. (Essentially no money will be spent just removal of prohibitions on the states.)

    More by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry
    http://www.rollcall.com/news/the_critical_infrastructure_protection_act_commentary-232973-1.html

    So all this bill does is ALLOW the states to try to protect against the hazard.

    …The EMP threat used to be largely classified. The Congressional EMP Commission correctly judged that secrecy about EMP was a greater threat to the nation than transparency, and so published unclassified reports in 2004 and 2008 to inform citizens and the utilities that they need to be protected….

    Thousands of emergency planners and first-responders at the federal, state, and local level want to protect our nation and their states and communities from the EMP threat. But they are seriously hindered and even prohibited from doing so because the EMP threat is not among the 15 canonical National Planning Scenarios used by the Department of Homeland Security.

    Passage of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act would immediately help states that are frustrated with lack of action on EMP in Washington, and are trying to launch initiatives protecting their electrical grids from EMP, as is being attempted now in Maine, Virginia, Oklahoma and Florida….

    Another great example of WHY a large bureaucracy is not good for the citizens. The first example I read. There are plenty of other examples like Katrina where FEMA prevented ‘unauthorized help’ from reaching New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill where the EPA prevented Dutch ships with oil skimmers from helping within 24 hours. To a bureaucrat following protocol and protecting turf is the the most important point.

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      Roy Hogue

      And I wonder if we can protect adequately. It’s all theory so far. Which reminds me, I’m skeptical about the problem too since it remains highly theoretical. We might take a hit or we might find it overrated. I’ve no idea which is the reality and which is the speculation.

      I do know this. Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb was uncomfortably close to the detonation, so close that they were hit rather violently with both the direct and reflected shock waves. The plane was full of electrical equipment but they radioed back that all was “normal” aboard the aircraft as soon as they could determine their status. You can find this in the book, ENOLA GAY, written by Colonel Tibbits, the aircraft commander.

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    el gordo

    ‘Six out of 10 voters in Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth would back a global ban on new or expanded coal mines, survey finds.’

    SMH

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    el gordo

    ‘The federal agency behind a controversial climate change study is refusing to give House Republicans internal communications among scientists involved in the research.

    ‘The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) told Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) that the communications are confidential, and handing them over would disrupt the integrity of the scientific process.

    ‘Smith is out to prove that a summer study refuting a claimed 15-year global warming “pause” was politically motivated.’

    http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/overnights/258450-overnight-energy-climate-agency-wont-give-gop-documents

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      gai

      Texan Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, the highest ranking Democrat on the science committee is trying to say that subpoena is “illegitimate harassment of our Nation’s research scientists.”

      I find this a laughable statement given what his buddies in Congress have just done. Too bad the MSM, especially The Christian Science Monitor doesn’t see it that way.

      …news outlets released information gathered by environmental groups about the funding sources of Willie Soon, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The groups alleged that Soon, a prominent critic of mainstream climate science and opponent of government action on climate change, had not disclosed funding from corporate sponsors to journals that published his work, potentially violating journal policies. The Smithsonian has launched an investigation.

      The Soon revelations inspired Senator Edward Markey (D–MA) to send letters to numerous energy industry groups, asking them to disclose the names of scientists they had funded. They also prompted Representative Raul Grijalva (D–AZ), the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, to launch an investigation last week into the funding sources of seven academics who have studied climate change or testified before Congress on the matter, often to criticize research findings or policy proposals. Grijalva asked universities to provide the salaries of the seven, official disclosure policies and statements, details on any external funding sources of the academics, and copies of any “communications” related to testimony they provided to government bodies….
      http://news.sciencemag.org/climate/2015/03/targeted-crusading-congressman-scientist-speaks-out-conflicts-climate-and

      So that isn’t harassment but asking FEDERAL EMPLOYEES for their e-mails that are the property of the government is???

      WIKI on Contempt of Congress

      Contempt of Congress is the act of obstructing the work of the United States Congress or one of its committees. Historically, the bribery of a senator or representative was considered contempt of Congress. In modern times, contempt of Congress has generally applied to the refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by a Congressional committee or subcommittee…

      Congressional rules empower all its standing committees with the authority to compel witnesses to produce testimony and documents for subjects under its jurisdiction….

      The Court held in Eastland v. United States Servicemen’s Fund[5] that Congressional subpoenas are within the scope of the Speech and Debate clause which provides “an absolute bar to judicial interference” once it is determined that Members are acting within the “legitimate legislative sphere” with such compulsory process. Under that ruling, Courts generally do not hear motions to quash Congressional subpoenas; even when executive branch officials refuse to comply….

      The criminal offense of “contempt of Congress” sets the penalty at not less than one month nor more than twelve months in jail and a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000…..

      Presidential pardons appear not to apply to a civil contempt procedure such as the above…

      A person in the USA who trips over a reg he doesn’t know about like the Dollarites selling bunnies gets hit by fines of almost $4 million but a federal employee who flips a finger at Congress can’t get fined more than $1,000. DISGUSTING!

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    el gordo

    ‘Carbon emissions from Indonesia’s peat fires exceed emissions from entire US economy

    ‘Indonesia’s carbon bomb goes off, with emissions from peat fires reaching their highest levels in 1997-1998. According to the Global Fire Emissions Database, carbon emissions from Indonesia’s fires have just topped the CO2 equivalent of a billion tonnes.’

    http://www.eco-business.com/news/carbon-emissions-from-indonesias-peat-fires-exceed-emissions-from-entire-us-economy/

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      AndyG55

      Indonesia is also is a larger coal producer than we are.

      Well done Indonesia, feeding the world’s plant life :-)

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    pat

    el gordo writes -

    ‘Six out of 10 voters in Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth would back a global ban on new or expanded coal mines, survey finds.’

    apparently North Sydney was also polled by ReachTel:

    ‘Voters in the nearby seat of North Sydney have also registered their disapproval of coal as an energy source’

    Bolt has a thread:

    How could Turnbull voters believe five such stupid warming claims, all at once?
    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/how_could_turnbull_voters_believe_four_such_stupid_warming_claims_all_at_on/

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    pat

    I’ve posted a comment on Bolt’s thread, saying bankers/stockbrokers (over-represented in Wentworth/North Sydney no doubt) can believe in all sorts of crazy things when it suits them. derivatives – Credit Default Swaps, Credit Default Index Swaps (CDS index), Collateralized Debt Obligations, Total Return Swaps, Credit Linked Notes, Asset Swaps, Credit Default Swap Options, Credit Default Index Swaps Options and Credit Spread Forwards/Options, for starters.

    UN climate chief, Christiana Figueres, likes to remind us that US$90 trillion will flow into CAGW-related infrastructure over the next 15 years. the source of the flow?

    26 Oct: Financial Times: Pauline Skypala: Indexers must warm to low carbon investing
    ***Regulation demanding investors take account of climate risks is also key. This month, Jerry Brown, governor of California, signed a bill requiring the state’s big pension funds to sell their investments in companies that receive at least half their revenues from coal mining. Norway’s government has similarly told the country’s $916bn oil fund to sell its coal-related investments.
    And under its new Energy and Green Growth law, France will require institutional investors to report on the environmental contribution of their portfolios, including the specific impact on climate change…
    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/c88c4e38-7af9-11e5-98fb-5a6d4728f74e.html

    ***we need to be alert to any attempts at such regulation in Australia, & stop it in its tracks.

    24 Oct: The Economist: American capitalism
    ***Individuals have been net sellers of shares for decades; in their place institutions have expanded relentlessly. Financial institutions now hold in excess of 70% of the value of shares on America’s stock exchanges (see chart 2). The leaders include such familiar names as BlackRock, Vanguard and JPMorgan Chase…
    Their size gives the biggest financial firms a great deal of influence. But just as managers of a company may not find their interests aligned with those of shareholders, so the managers of these investment firms may not share the interests of their investors. This creates what John Bogle, founder of Vanguard, calls a “double-agency” society in which the assets nominally owned by millions of individuals are in the hands of a small group of corporate and investment managers whose concerns may differ from those of the masses…
    Agency issues are particularly acute in the fastest growing part of the money-management business: the index funds which now represent a third of all the money in mutual funds…
    http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21676760-americas-startups-are-changing-what-it-means-own-company-reinventing-deal?fsrc=scn/tw/te/pe/ed/reinventingthedeal

    ***is something similar playing out in Australia (UK) etc?

    how young “climate campaigners”/”activists”/”warriors” are being duped into believing in the CAGW scam, which aims to loot their own inheritances (so much for CAGW-ers caring about the children & grandchildren!), is far more extraordinary than the Wentworth constituents conveniently pretending to believe in what, for many of them, would be a very lucrative scam indeed.

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    gai

    …Jerry Brown, governor of California, signed a bill requiring the state’s big pension funds to sell their investments in companies that receive at least half their revenues from coal mining. Norway’s government has similarly told the country’s $916bn oil fund to sell its coal-related investments….

    Ah, yes the fleecing of the Sheeple.

    Just watch China, George Soros, Buffett and the rest vacuum up those stocks at fire sale prices.

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    pat

    2 pages: 27 Oct: BarronsEmergingMarketsDailyBlog: Dimitra DeFotis: Alternative Energy Stocks: Time to Hunt for Bargains?
    As much pain as investors in the oil patch have felt in recent years, it has been even worse for those in alternative energy.
    Over the past eight years, the Energy Select Sector SPDR exchange-traded fund (ticker: XLE) is down 15%. But compare that with the Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN), whose constituent companies have managed to destroy a whopping 88% of shareholder value over that period, or the PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio (PBW), down 82%.
    How much worse can it get for alternative energy? To answer that question, we checked in with Treasa Ni Chonghaile of Kleinwort Benson Investors, who manages the Calvert Global Energy Solutions fund (ticker: CGAEX). Her fund has been taken to the woodshed along with her peer group, but its 68% loss over eight years, is, amazingly, an index-beating result…
    She thinks demand for alternative energy will get a boost from emerging markets – especially as the Chinese government invests in solar…
    And sentiment for alternative energy may get a boost from a United Nations climate change confab in December…
    Q: How do emerging markets beyond China fit into your investing themes?
    A: Emerging markets are one of the key places for future demand growth for wind. India, Brazil and Mexico in particular are expected to drive a lot of earnings growth for wind turbine manufacturers like Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica (GAM.Spain), which we own. It’s a Spanish wind turbine manufacturer, No. 2 in market share in the world…
    http://blogs.barrons.com/emergingmarketsdaily/2015/10/27/alternative-energy-stocks-time-to-hunt-for-bargains/

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    pat

    watch the video. can’t see solar (or wind for that matter) doing much good in China’s north:

    VIDEO: 2mins: 26 Oct: CCTV-America: Heavy snow hits large swath of north China
    Heavy snow has blanketed a large swath of north China on Monday, Oct 26th, disturbing traffic but bringing beautiful winter scenery…
    The depth of snow reached 8 centimeters (3.14 inches) by 17:00 and the heavy snow brought the visibility down to less than 100 meters (328 feet) as well. Vehicles have to slow down on snow-covered roads, while the local sanitation department dispatched snowplows to clear up the roads…
    http://www.cctv-america.com/2015/10/26/heavy-snow-hits-large-swath-of-north-china

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    pat

    read…if u want all the details. ***UK always seems to ignore the rules:

    29 Oct: ReutersCarbonPulse: ANALYSIS: Australian buyers drive flurry of bargain deals in old cheap CERs
    By Ben Garside, Stian Reklev and Mike Szabo
    Demand from a small number of Australian buyers has led to an unexpected flurry of deals in soon-to-expire CER credits at rock-bottom prices, a rare spike in trade in the UN’s moribund carbon market.
    The UN-approved offsets, generated from emission reductions made by CDM projects during the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period of 2008-2012 (CP1), were seen by many as near-worthless and as a result had barely traded in the last couple of years…
    But to the surprise of many observers, demand for 20-40 million of these credits has emerged in recent weeks, market sources told Carbon Pulse, ahead of a Nov. 18 deadline that will see many of the CP1 CERs still in circulation cancelled when Kyoto’s first True-up period ends…
    ***At least one European government, the UK, is letting account holders at its emissions trading registry to carry over a limited number of CP1 credits into Kyoto’s CP2, thereby preventing their cancellation following the looming True-up deadline…
    Observers have estimated that the Australian landfill owners’ total compensation bill may be as much as A$100 million (€64.8 million), meaning the waste firms must spend that much on UN offsets or funding emission reduction projects at home by the end of 2017.
    That amount would theoretically be enough to buy more than 400 million CP1 CERs, or most if not all of the credits left in circulation, if prices remained near current levels…
    So far Veolia Environmental Services is the only waste company to have received CERs into its account in the Australian registry, according to data. An Oct. 28 update of the registry showed that Veolia holds 11.86 million CP1 CERs, 4.8 million more than a week ago.
    One trader said other waste companies had expressed interest, and a handful of Australian trading firms involved in the market, including Carbon Financial Services, COzero, Perenia, WeAct and Westpac, collectively hold nearly 2.5 million CP1 CERs.
    As part of the landfill owners’ compensation agreement, the CERs will be transferred to an Australian government holding account.
    Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s office did not respond to queries about whether the CERs would be used towards meeting Australia’s Kyoto target in CP2, if they would be cancelled, or face another fate.
    http://carbon-pulse.com/analysis-australian-buyers-drive-flurry-of-bargain-deals-in-old-cheap-cers/

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    pat

    Camila Bustos tells Colombia with it MUST do:

    29 Oct: ClimateChangeNews: Camila Bustos: Colombia must reduce its dependence on coal exports
    Clean electricity at home does not excuse an economy based on polluting and abusive mining sector, says Camila Bustos
    (Maria Camila Bustos is a lead researcher at Nivela. She wrote a larger article on coal’s human rights implications for the Center for the Study of Justice, Law, and Society Dejusticia.)
    Although Colombia’s electricity matrix is relatively clean, the country’s second most important export is coal…
    Colombia is planning to expand its production by 2019, hoping to sustain its place as 5th largest coal exporter in the world. The Santos administration has argued that “responsible mining” is crucial to development.
    The question is, has coal ended poverty? The two departments that produce most of Colombia’s coal are La Guajira and Cesar.
    After thirty years of mining, 65% and 76% of their population respectively find their basic needs unmet…
    While Colombia exports 92% of the coal it produces, its heavy reliance on fossil fuel exports (oil and coal account for 42% and 14% of total exports) begs the question of how economically sustainable this model really is…
    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2015/10/29/colombia-must-reduce-its-dependence-on-coal-exports/

    check out Camila Bustos:

    LinkedIn: Maria Camila Bustos
    Maria Camila Bustos is a fourth-year student studying International Relations and Environmental Studies at Brown University. Her research work covers sustainable development, human rights, and climate change issues, with a focus in Latin America. Camila is lead researcher at Nivela, a new Global South think-tank focused on challenging conventional debates around development and environment. As a summer intern at human rights think tank Dejusticia, she looked at coal extraction and human rights violations in Colombia.
    She is a member of Brown University’s Climate and Development Lab and has followed the international climate negotiations process. Camila has also worked as an intern helping pass Rhode Island’s first climate change law and was involved in a student-driven divestment campaign at Brown.
    Experience: Social Media and Lead Researcher
    Nivela
    March 2014 – Present (1 year 8 months)
    https://www.linkedin.com/pub/maria-camila-bustos/77/4bb/b34

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    pat

    more climate colonialism, includes good old ***Brown University (home of Camila Bustos):

    29 Oct: ClimateChangeNews: Megan Darby: Latin America needs stronger climate pledges – analysts
    Brazil, the continent’s biggest emitter, made much of its hard target to cut greenhouse gases 37% from 2005 levels by 2025 and 43% by 2030.
    It was the only developing country to propose absolute reductions from a historical year, rather than taking a business-as-usual baseline.
    But this actually represents a slight increase from the latest emissions figures, which tumbled in recent years due to a crackdown on deforestation…
    “Brazil needs to be careful it doesn’t recarbonise its electricity sector,” said (head of climate policy at Climate Analytics Maria) Rocha…
    As for Argentina, its 15% cut from business as usual in 2030 will allow absolute emissions to rise by a quarter…
    What is more, Buenos Aires reserved the right to change its mind, raising uncertainty over its commitment going into Paris…
    ***Experts on a webcast panel discussion from Brown University said the lack of green ambition was symptomatic of a wider economic malaise…
    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2015/10/29/latin-america-needs-stronger-climate-pledges-analysts/

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    pat

    29 Oct: ClimateChangeNews: Alex Pashley: Carbon c-Reddit: UN climate chief takes on internet
    Christiana Figueres participates in Ask Me Anything on online forum as focus on Paris summit builds
    On climate refugees in a new accord
    Figueres: If we do not do our job properly, we will have painful situations of forced migration. Perhaps to a scale we cannot even imagine. That is precisely why it is so urgent that we agree on a path to reduce global emissions within the boundaries of science…
    On the 2C temperature goal
    Figueres: I have been pellucidly clear that the agreement in Paris is not going to reach a 2 degree limit on temperature rise as though that were something we can take off a magical shelf and put on the table…
    On barring civil society groups at UN events
    Figueres: The role of civil society in continuing to encourage ambition expressed in both environmental integrity and social fairness is critical to all our negotiations. At the same time, the UNFCCC is an intergovernmental treaty body designed for the purpose of governments reaching common ground with each other. Over the past 5 years, we have consistently increased the transparency of the intergovernmental process by providing constant and timely information about the proceedings on our website and by encouraging frequent and open stocktaking plenaries. We have also not only allowed but frankly even supported actions on the part of civil society representatives as long as they stay within the agreed rules of conduct…PLUS MORE
    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2015/10/28/carbon-c-reddit-un-climate-chief-takes-on-internet/?utm_source=Daily+Carbon+Briefing&utm_campaign=75c3e7ae9d-cb_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_876aab4fd7-75c3e7ae9d-303439889

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    pat

    27 Oct: ScienceDaily: Upcoming UN Climate Summit can’t overlook China’s support of global coal power
    Source: Princeton University
    Summary: When global leaders converge on Paris on Nov. 30 for the 2015 United Nations climate change conference, they should create guidelines and incentives for developing nations to cooperate with one another on lower-carbon energy projects, according to a new report. Failure to do so could contribute to an unchecked expansion of coal energy in developing counties, which has already accelerated in recent years with the help of Chinese firms going global…
    The paper, which includes the first tally of Chinese involvement in power plants around the world, includes co-authors Michael Oppenheimer, the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs at Princeton; Zhenliang Liao, an associate professor of environmental science and engineering at Tongji University; and Steven Davis, an assistant professor of earth system science at UC-Irvine…
    The researchers found that of the total power capacities in Asian countries other than China that have involvement from Chinese firms, 68 percent in operation, 77 percent under construction and 76 percent in planning burn coal…
    Efforts to encourage countries to support low-carbon development is complicated by the fact that there are no universally accepted standards for climate finance, Hannam said. Even the Green Climate Fund may permit financing for coal power…
    The issues the authors discuss have already been broached in diplomatic circles, said Oppenheimer, who will be attending the Paris conference in part to promote the ideas laid out in the perspective piece…
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151027213625.htm

    28 Oct: Nature: XiaoZhi Lim: How to make the most of carbon dioxide
    Researchers hope to show that using the gas as a raw material could make an impact on climate change.
    On 29 September, the XPRIZE Foundation based in Culver City, California, announced a 4½-year competition that will award US$20 million to the research team that can come up with the best way to turn carbon dioxide from a liability into an asset…
    http://www.nature.com/news/how-to-make-the-most-of-carbon-dioxide-1.18653

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      AndyG55

      “the best way to turn carbon dioxide from a liability into an asset…”

      TREES…

      PLANTS…

      FOOD…

      I mean .. seriously ? !!!

      CO2 is already a massive asset to the world’s food supplies.

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        AndyG55

        ps..

        and CO2 is only a liability when you waste money reducing the amount of it in the atmosphere.

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        Bill Burrows

        What more does Australia have to do? Japan’s IBUKI and NASA’s OCO2 satellite sensors both independently show this country to already be a net annual CO2 sink. Support for these findings can be found in Lieu et al. (2015) http://web.science.unsw.edu.au/~jasone/publications/liuetal2015.pdf and in Burrows et al. (2002) http://www.researchgate.net/publication/51987227 [My apologies for the self citation and I must also shamefully admit the latter paper is based on actual field measurements. When I get better educated I hope to be able to drop this silly Neanderthal measuring practice and get my data from models instead]. Anyway I’m sure Prince Charles, with fond memories of his halcyon schooling days spent at “Timbertop” (how appropriately named), will speak enthusiastically of Australia’s huge woody plant CO2 sink when he addresses the genuflecting multitude at Paris’s COP 21.

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    pat

    29 Oct: Scotsman: ANDREW WHITAKER: Scots ‘could import electricity’ unless SNP changes plan
    The SNP has heavily promoted renewable energy such as wind farms and has set a target of relying on such forms of power to generate the bulk of Scotland’s electricity by 2020.
    However, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in Scotland has cast doubt on the SNP’s plan and said the government had to move beyond an “at times irrational and ill-informed ­discourse” on energy to a more evidence-led approach.
    A previewed report from ICE, which has 8,000 members in Scotland, warned of an energy supply crisis that could see Scotland forced to rely on imported electricity to meet the nation’s power needs…
    The body said Scotland was facing an energy provision “gap” due to the loss of half of the country’s electricity-generating capacity during the next decade, as it cited the closure of power stations at Longannet, Hunterston and Torness. Ministers should set out a “clear vision” on how they would ensure there is a “resilient supply” of electricity to fill such a gap, it said…
    Conservative ­energy spokesman Murdo ­Fraser, welcoming the ICE report, said: “This is a significant intervention from a well-respected expert industry group – and the SNP will have to listen.
    “The SNP should swallow its pride, forget about impressing its new socialist members, and bring forward a balanced energy policy.”
    http://www.scotsman.com/news/environment/scots-could-import-electricity-unless-snp-changes-plan-1-3931074

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    Bob in Castlemaine

    Maybe it’s all told in this book?

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    sophocles

    We had some interesting times in 1988. I recall watching the Aurora Australis from Auckland. It was lighting up the western sky one night in late October and the display was spectacular. It must have been brilliant further south as the sky over the south eastern horizon, normally pitch black, was very light. I hadn’t seen the Aurora Australis from Auckland before and haven’t since, despite my daily checks on solar activity. Low cloud is my greatest enemy and we have a lot of it, almost always when there is something to look for. (Mutter, mutter, mutter …)

    Late 1988 and early 1989 was a time with a very fizzy sun. Nothing happened to our power grid at the time, at least nothing anyone noticed. Four months later, Quebec’s power grid had circuit breakers trip during the geo-magnetic storm from the CME spat out by an X15 solar flare in early March. And cold fusion was also announced later that month.

    It seems the closer you are to a magnetic pole, or the closer your equipment is, the greater effect on the ground. The 1859 Carrington event was noticed … across the northern hemisphere. It was certainly noticed across the northern parts of the continental United States. The northern magnetic pole is just to the north-west of Baffin Island (currently (2015) 86.29°N 160.06°W), but in 1859, it was at `closest approach’ seen in this image (about halfway through the 1800 to 1900 peregrination). The planetary magnetic field would have been directing the CME particle stream almost straight down to the ground.

    The Southern Hemisphere’s magnetic pole is, as of 2015, 2015) 64.28°S 136.59°E. If you draw a line directly south of Alice to the Antarctic coast, you’ll be pretty close. Both poles have become pretty mobile over the second half of the 20th Century. We have a buffer of, very approximately, some three thousand kilometres of the Southern Ocean between our countries and Antarctica. It may serve us well.

    I haven’t found any commentary or observations of anything like that from Australia and New Zealand, but then, I have not looked particularly diligently. Basically, we were still settling these two countries. NZ was still almost virgin forest, then, and Australia was not far from virgin desert. ;-) So it wouldn’t surprise me at all if nothing was noticed at this end of the world.

    This doesn’t mean no one noticed the 1989 geomagnetic storm, which seemed to impact the Northern Hemisphere more than the Southern Hemisphere. It may have something to do with the sheer length/size of the grid and the alignment of the greater portion of the grid with the planetary magnetic field (induction). Again, the literature is sparse. The Americans are not unaware of the dangers, but, hobbled by the Klimate Hysteria, they can’t be said to be moving quickly. Wikipedia reports:

    Because of serious concerns that utilities have failed to set protection standards and are unprepared for a severe solar storm such as a Carrington Event, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is now (as of 2013) in the process of [determining] a proposed ruling that may require utilities to create a standard that would require power grids to be protected from severe solar storms. Similarly, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has begun a phased rule-making, published in the Federal Register, to examine the sufficiency of cooling systems of stored spent fuel rods of nuclear power plants now considered vulnerable to long-term power outages from events such as space weather, high-altitude nuclear burst electromagnetic pulses or cyber attacks.

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    I just love that picture of the spacecraft (visible in the UV) bursting forth from the sun, riding that solar wave. Note the bow shock. *inserts tongue into cheek*
    https://atokenmanblog.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/sun_ufo.jpeg

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    Uwe Hayek

    Without Power ?

    Not anymore ! I do not believe in Eco Nuttery, but want to be independent from the Grid !

    In Belgium they hiked an already super expensive price for a KWHr with some 30%, because they subsidized Solar and Wind, and now we have to pay extra.

    A week ago I saw this :
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVjW9XdPlhg
    http://www.teslamotors.com/powerwall?redirect=no

    I have done some calculations and I am going off “their” grid.

    Read this too :
    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2011/09/dont-be-a-pv-efficiency-snob/

    Have the enemies of science sink their money in your independence, and stop paying them.

    Uwe Hayek.

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