What would you do if the power grid went down and never came back up? One of these days, and it could be a lot sooner than most people think, we will all wake up in a country without electricity. And considering how utterly dependent we have become on technology, that is a very frightening scenario to consider. How would Americans react if nothing worked? Just imagine a world where everything electronic is dead. I am talking about lights, cell phones, computers, televisions, ATMs, heating and cooling systems, credit card readers, gas pumps, cash registers, refrigerators, hospital equipment etc. When the power goes out for a few hours, that can be a major inconvenience, but what if it went out all over the nation and it didn’t come back on for months or even years? This is one of the greatest potential threats that the United States is facing, and yet very few people are even talking about it.
An electromagnetic pulse attack could potentially send our nation back to the 1800s in a single moment, but very few of us are equipped to handle life without technology. Tech guru John McAfee recently wrote an article in which he expressed his belief that 90 percent of the population would be dead within 2 years of such an attack…
You may think that is an unreasonably high estimate, but it turns out that it is the exact same number that the EMP Commission used in their report to Congress back in 2008…
What would a successful EMP attack look like? The EMP Commission, in 2008, estimated that within 12 months of a nationwide blackout, up to 90% of the U.S. population could possibly perish from starvation, disease and societal breakdown.
In 2009 the congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, whose co-chairmen were former Secretaries of Defense William Perry and James Schlesinger, concurred with the findings of the EMP Commission and urged immediate action to protect the electric grid. Studies by the National Academy of Sciences, the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the National Intelligence Council reached similar conclusions.
So what has Barack Obama done to protect us from such an attack?
But there are others in the government that are very, very concerned about this threat. For example, NORAD recently moved back into Cheyenne Mountain, and the potential for an EMP attack was given as the primary reason for the move…
The Pentagon is moving the headquarters for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) back into Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs, Colo., a decade after having largely vacated the site.
Why the return? Because the enormous bunker in the hollowed-out mountain, built to survive a Cold War-era nuclear conflict, can also resist an electromagnetic-pulse attack, or EMP. America’s military planners recognize the growing threat from an EMP attack by bad actors around the world, in particular North Korea and Iran.
An EMP strike, most likely from the detonation of a nuclear weapon in space, would destroy unprotected military and civilian electronics nationwide, blacking out the electric grid and other critical infrastructure for months or years. The staggering human cost of such a catastrophic attack is not difficult to imagine.
For years, most experts have assumed that an EMP attack would be conducted by exploding at least one nuclear weapon high up in our atmosphere. And that could definitely happen someday. But now governments all over the world are working on other ways to deliver an EMP strike, and many of them do not involve nuclear weapons at all.
The U.S. government is among those that have been doing this kind of research. The U.S. Air Force now reportedly has the capability to conduct an EMP assault against individual buildings or power stations. The following comes from the Daily Mail…
For years, scientists have been attempting to create such a weapon as part of Champ, or the Counter-electronics High-powered microwave Advanced Missile Project.
Now, the US Air Force claims it has advanced the technology, and says it can deploy it using the stealthy Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range (JASSM).
There are fears a well targeted attack could knock out multiple power stations.
‘This technology marks a new era in modern-day warfare,’ said Keith Coleman, CHAMP program manager for Boeing Phantom Works.
And we also know that Russia, China, Iran and North Korea have also been developing EMP weapons. This next excerpt comes from DefenseNews…
The possibility of man-made EMP events has grown in tandem with the technological sophistication of America’s adversaries. It is widely known that both Russia and China already have this capability, and both countries have carried out serious work relating to the generation of EMP in recent years as part of their respective military modernization programs.
Now, rogue states Iran and North Korea may not be that far behind. Iran, for example, is known to have simulated a nuclear EMP attack several years ago using short-range missiles launched from a freighter. North Korea, meanwhile, has acquired the blueprints to build an EMP warhead, and in July of 2013, a North Korean freighter made it all the way to the Gulf of Mexico with two nuclear capable missiles in its hold.
Why are these other nations developing these technologies?
Iranian military documents describe such a scenario–including a recently translated Iranian military textbook that endorses nuclear EMP attack against the United States.
Thus, Iran with a small number of nuclear missiles can by EMP attack threaten the existence of modernity and be the death knell for Western principles of international law, humanism and freedom. For the first time in history, a failed state like Iran could destroy the most successful societies on Earth and convert an evolving benign world order into world chaos.
And it wouldn’t take much to completely disrupt electricity generation in America. In a previous article, I discussed a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report which made the following jaw dropping statement…
“Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer.”
Are you starting to get the picture?
We are far more vulnerable than most people realize.
And even if we are never attacked by an EMP weapon, scientists tell us that it is inevitable that a massive solar storm will produce a similar result someday anyway. Back in 1859, a massive solar storm that came to be known as “the Carrington Event” fried telegraph machines all over Europe and North America.
NASA says that there is a 12 percent chance that a similar solar storm will hit us within the next ten years, and if that happens the consequences will be absolutely catastrophic…
NASA is warning that there’s a 12 percent chance an extreme solar storm will hit Earth in the next decade, sending out massive shock waves that would knock out grids across the world.
The economic impact of this doomsday scenario could exceed $2 trillion — or 20 times the cost of Hurricane Katrina, according to the National Academy of Sciences.
I don’t know why more people aren’t concerned about this. There are things that the federal government could do to harden our electrical grid, but they aren’t doing them.
This is a foreseeable danger, but our “leaders” are not taking it seriously.
And even if nobody ever purposely attacks us, scientists insist that it is only a matter of time before the sun unleashes an electromagnetic pulse that fries our electronics. In fact, we have had some very close calls in recent years. The following is an excerpt from a book that I co-authored with Barbara Fix entitled “Get Prepared Now“…
Most people have absolutely no idea that the Earth barely missed being fried by a massive EMP burst from the sun in 2012 and in 2013. And earlier in 2014 there was another huge solar storm which would have caused tremendous damage if it had been directed at our planet. If any of those storms would have directly hit us, the result would have been catastrophic. Electrical transformers would have burst into flames, power grids would have gone down and much of our technology would have been fried. In essence, life as we know it would have ceased to exist – at least for a time. These kinds of solar storms have hit the Earth many times before, and experts tell us that it is inevitable that it will happen again.
It amazes me that such a small percentage of the population is taking this threat seriously.
An electromagnetic pulse could bring down our entire society in a single moment at any time, and all of the experts assure us that it will happen someday.
But our politicians are just sitting on their hands and most Americans mock the idea that we need to be concerned about this.
So what do you think? Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…
What would you do if all the lights went out and they never came back on? That is a question that the new NBC series “Revolution” asks, but most people have no idea that a similar thing could happen in real life at any moment. A single gigantic electromagnetic pulse over the central United States could potentially fry most of the electronics from coast to coast if it was powerful enough. This could occur in a couple of different ways. If a powerful nuclear weapon was exploded at a high enough altitude, it could produce an electromagnetic pulse powerful enough to knock out electronics all over the country. Alternatively, a massive solar storm could potentially cause a similar phenomenon to happen just about anywhere on the planet without much warning. Of course not all EMP events are created equal. An electromagnetic pulse can range from a minor inconvenience to a civilization-killing event. It just depends on how powerful it is. But in the worst case scenario, we could be facing a situation where our electrical grids have been fried, there is no heat for our homes, our computers don’t work, the Internet does not work, our cell phones do not work, there are no more banking records, nobody can use credit cards anymore, hospitals are unable to function, nobody can pump gas, and supermarkets cannot operate because there is no power and no refrigeration. Basically, we would witness the complete and total collapse of the economy. According to a government commission that looked into these things, approximately two-thirds of the U.S. population would die from starvation, disease and societal chaos within one year of a massive EMP attack. It would be a disaster unlike anything we have ever seen before in U.S. history.
Most Americans are totally clueless about what an EMP attack could do to this nation, but the threat is very real. There was even a congressional commission that studied the potential effects of an EMP attack on the United States for eight years…
The US Congress in 2000 established the Congressional Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack. In 2004, the committee produced a 70-page executive summary on the EMP threat, and it issued a final report on the matter in 2008. According to the report, “several potential adversaries have or can acquire the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP). A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication.”
Dr. William Graham was the chairman of that commission, and he says that an EMP attack could knock the United States back into the 1800s in just a single moment…
An EMP attack “could not only take down power grids, which are fragile anyway in this country, and telecommunications networks, and financial networks, and traffic controls and many other things, but in addition, there is a very close interrelationship among those national infrastructure capabilities,” Graham says.
“So, for example, we need telecommunications to re-establish the power network, and we need the power network to keep telecommunications going for more than a few hours. And we need the financial network to continue to operate to maintain the economy, we need the transportation system, roads, street lights, control systems, to operate just to get people to the failed power, telecommunication and other systems,” he adds.
Life after an EMP attack “would probably be something that you might imagine life to be like around the late 1800s but with several times the population we had in those days, and without the ability of the country to support and sustain all those people,” Graham says. “They wouldn’t have power. Food supplies would be greatly taken out by the lack of transportation, telecommunication, power for refrigeration and so on.”
Unfortunately, very few of us are equipped to survive in such an environment. We have become incredibly dependent on technology, and most Americans would have no idea how to do something as simple as growing their own food. Most people would be in a very serious amount of trouble in a very short period of time.
An article by Mac Slavo detailed some of the things that we could expect in the aftermath of a massive electromagnetic pulse…
The first 24 – 48 hours after such an occurrence will lead to confusion among the general population as traditional news acquisition sources like television, radio and cell phone networks will be non-functional.
Within a matter of days, once people realize the power might not be coming back on and grocery store shelves start emptying, the entire system will begin to delve into chaos.
Within 30 days a mass die off will have begun as food supplies dwindle, looters and gangs turn to violent extremes, medicine can’t be restocked and water pump stations fail.
And actually, high altitude nuclear explosions and solar storms are not the only things that could produce sizable EMP bursts.
For example, the U.S. military has developed “a directed electromagnetic pulse gun” that can take out all electronics within a limited area. This kind of weapon can be fired from a plane, a cruise missile or even a drone. The following is from a recent WND article…
A pre-programmed cruise missile not too different from a drone has been proven to be capable of blasting out an EMP-type microwave that was able to destroy personal computers and electrical systems inside a building over which it was flying.
The U.S. Air Force and its contractor Boeing have created the High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project, or CHAMP, which was just tested over a Utah desert.
Other nations such as Russia and China are busy developing similar weapons. The ability to instantly take out the electronics of the enemy would be a very powerful advantage.
Even North Korea has been working on this kind of technology. According to Newsmax, it is believed that they may have tested a “Super-EMP” weapon back in 2009…
North Korea’s last round of tests, conducted in May 2009, appear to have included a “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting enough gamma rays to disable the electric power grid across most of the lower 48 states
As this technology becomes more widespread, it will soon be accessible to just about everyone. You don’t actually need a nuclear weapon to set off a massive electromagnetic pulse. A non-nuclear pulse generator can do the same thing. If you set one off next to a power station you could potentially take out the electrical grid for an entire region.
Terrorist groups and lone wolf crazies could even use portable radio frequency weapons to do a tremendous amount of electromagnetic damage over a more limited area. The following is from a recent article by F. Michael Maloof…
Such an individual with a penchant for electronics can pull together components from a Radio Shack or electronic store – even order the components off of selected Internet websites – and fashion a radio frequency, or RF, weapon.
As microprocessors become smaller but more sophisticated, they are even more susceptible to an RF pulse. The high power microwave from an RF weapon produces a short, very high power pulse, said to be billions of watts in a nanosecond, or billionths of a second.
This so-called burst of electromagnetic waves in the gigahertz microwave frequency band can melt electrical circuitry and damage integrated circuits, causing them to fail.
Constructing a radio frequency weapon is not that difficult. In fact, you can find instructions for how to build them on the Internet.
People need to realize that we live in a world where technology is absolutely exploding and we are dealing with threats that previous generations never even dreamed of. As the world becomes increasingly unstable, it is inevitable that these kinds of weapons will be used.
And we also need to keep watching the sun. It could produce a massive electromagnetic pulse at literally any moment. As I have written about previously, scientists tell us that it is only a matter of time before we are hit with a technology-crippling solar super storm.
Most people don’t even realize that the massive solar storm of 1859 fried telegraph machines all over Europe and North America. If such a storm hit us today, the damage would potentially be in the trillions of dollars. The following is from a recent New York Times article…
A powerful solar (or “geomagnetic”) storm has the potential to simultaneously damage multiple transformers in the electricity grid and perhaps even bring down large sections of it, affecting upwards of a hundred million people in the United States for many months, if not years.
These huge transformers are expensive and difficult to replace, and not many are stockpiled in the United States for an emergency. In the worst case, the impact would be devastating: An outage could cost a few trillion dollars, with full recovery taking years. Not only would parts of the grid be compromised, but telephone networks, undersea cables, satellites and railroads also would be affected.
A 2008 National Academy of Sciences study warned that “because of the interconnectedness of critical infrastructures in modern society,” the “collateral effects of a longer-term outage” would likely include “disruption of the transportation, communication, banking and finance systems, and government services; the breakdown of the distribution of potable water owing to pump failure; and the loss of perishable foods and medications because of lack of refrigeration.”
By the way, 2013 is the peak of the current solar cycle. So we are moving into a time period when conditions will be very favorable for solar storms.
Let us hope that we are never hit with a massive electromagnetic pulse that is strong enough to take out all of our electronics.
But if it did happen, and all the lights went out for good, what would you do?
Please feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below…
Sometimes we all get a little reminder of just how completely and totally dependent we are on the power grid. Massive thunderstorms that ripped through Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia left millions without power over the weekend. At this point it is being projected that some people may not get power back until the end of the week. The “super derecho” storm that pounded the Washington D.C. area on Friday night with hurricane-force winds is being called unprecedented. But the truth is that there are other events that could happen that would be far more damaging to our power grid. For example, a substantial EMP burst over a major U.S. city would fry virtually all of the electronics in the city and take the power grid in the area down indefinitely. A gigantic EMP burst over the entire country (caused by a massive solar storm or a very large nuclear explosion high in the atmosphere) could theoretically take down the entire national power grid. Just try to imagine a world where nobody has any electricity, nobody can pump gas, nobody can use their credit cards or get any more money, where most vehicles won’t start, where nobody has the Internet, where all cell phones are dead and where nobody can heat or cool their homes. That is how serious an EMP burst could potentially be. We are talking about an event that could be millions of times worse than 9/11.
Hopefully this latest storm has reminded Americans about how vulnerable our power grid really is and about how close we really are to being knocked back to the late 1800s.
Let’s review some of the damage that this “super derecho” storm caused to the D.C. area….
-Thousands of businesses have been forced to close temporarily because they cannot operate without electricity
-Many federal agencies were closed on Monday because there was no power
-Many 911 call centers throughout Northern Virginia were down over the weekend and could not respond to emergencies
-Without electricity, many families have not been able to cook warm meals
-Without warm water, many families have not been able to take hot showers
Hurricane-like storms knocked an Amazon data center in Ashburn, Virginia, offline last night, and a chunk of the internet felt it. The six-hour incident temporarily cut off a number of popular internet services, including Netflix, Pinterest, Heroku, and Instagram.
But to be honest this was not a major disaster.
After a few days the damage will be fixed and people will start to forget what just happened.
Well, what if the damage was permanent and the entire nation had to go without electricity for the foreseeable future? The following is from a USA Today article by Dan Vergano….
The sky erupts. Cities darken, food spoils and homes fall silent. Civilization collapses.
End-of-the-world novel? A video game? Or could such a scenario loom in America’s future?
There is talk of catastrophe ahead, depending on whom you believe, because of the threat of an electromagnetic pulse triggered by either a supersized solar storm or terrorist A-bomb, both capable of disabling the electric grid that powers modern life.
Would you try to go somewhere? Even if the electronics in your car were not totally fried, you would not be able to pump more gas anywhere.
Would you try to call someone? Most phones would be totally dead and all normal communications networks would be down. So who would you call?
Would you bunker down and try to survive on what you have at home? Most of the food in your refrigerator and freezer would rapidly go bad and most Americans only have enough food to last a few days or a few weeks. In addition, most Americans would no longer be able to heat or cool their homes, so extreme cold and extreme heat would become huge problems very quickly.
How in the world would any of us survive in a world without electricity?
In past centuries our forefathers knew how to survive in such a world, but most of us do not have the same skills or resources that they had.
The following is how an article in the Wall Street Journal once described what a massive EMP burst would do to this nation….
No American would necessarily die in the initial attack, but what comes next is potentially catastrophic. The pulse would wipe out most electronics and telecommunications, including the power grid. Millions could die for want of modern medical care or even of starvation since farmers wouldn’t be able to harvest crops and distributors wouldn’t be able to get food to supermarkets. Commissioner Lowell Wood calls EMP attack a “giant continental time machine” that would move us back more than a century in technology to the late 1800s.
What would you do if you were suddenly cut off from all electricity, all money, all modern forms of communication, all modern forms of transportation and all modern forms of shopping?
Don’t think that it can’t happen.
Scientists tell us that massive EMP bursts generated by gigantic solar storms have hit our planet in the past and that it is inevitable that it will happen again.
In addition, nations all over the planet are aware of what an EMP burst can do and have been developing “Super-EMP” weapons that can take power grids down in a single strike.
The following is a short excerpt from a statement by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry to the United States Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security on March 8th, 2005….
Russian and Chinese military scientists in open source writings describe the basic principles of nuclear weapons designed specifically to generate an enhanced-EMP effect, that they term “Super-EMP” weapons. “Super-EMP” weapons, according to these foreign open source writings, can destroy even the best protected U.S. military and civilian electronic systems.
That doesn’t sound good.
But perhaps even more troubling is that North Korea has been reportedly developing this type of weapon. In fact, it has been reported that North Korea may have tested a “Super-EMP” weapon all the way back in 2009….
North Korea’s last round of tests, conducted in May 2009, appear to have included a “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting enough gamma rays to disable the electric power grid across most of the lower 48 states
In time, these kinds of weapons will get into more and more hands.
Will someone try to use this kind of weapon at some point?
“Within a year of that attack, nine out of 10 Americans would be dead, because we can’t support a population of the present size in urban centers and the like without electricity”
Once you understand these kinds of threats, it makes it a lot easier to understand why preppers are so busy preparing for the future.
Our world is becoming incredibly unstable. Another major economic crisis could hit us at any time, war in the Middle East could erupt without warning, earthquakes and other natural disasters are becoming more frequent and society seems to get a little crazier with each passing day.
The era of tremendous peace and prosperity that we have all been enjoying is rapidly coming to an end. In a world filled with instability and chaos, it only seems prudent to take some precautions.
You might want to get prepared while you still have time.
Did you know that the federal government is giving out free cell phones and free cell phone minutes to welfare recipients? It may be hard to believe, but it is true. Right now, there are companies that are running advertisements specifically targeted at low income Americans informing them of the fact that all they have to do is sign up and they can get a free cell phone and hundreds of free cell phone minutes every single month and it will all be paid for by the federal government. Some have referred to this as “The Obama Phone”, but that is not exactly accurate. The outrageous federal programs that are paying for this were initiated before Barack Obama entered the White House. But the fact that welfare recipients have been receiving free cell phones and free cell phone minutes under both the Bush and Obama administrations has been confirmed as being true by Snopes. All of this is paid for by “the federal Universal Service Fund”. That is one of those annoying little taxes that you may have noticed on your phone bill. So what is essentially happening is the federal government is taking money from all of us so that they can provide free cell phone service for welfare recipients every single month.
When some of my readers informed me of this free cell phone scheme, I decided that I better go to the source. So I went over to the FCC website, and it turns out that there are two federal programs involved. “Link Up” provides a one-time connection discount on phone service, and it can be applied to the cost of a cell phone. So this is where the free cell phone comes from. “Lifeline” provides a monthly discount on telephone service. So this is where the free cell phone minutes each month come from. The following is a description of these programs from the FCC website….
What Benefits are Available Under the Lifeline and Link Up Programs?
Lifeline provides discounts on one basic monthly telephone service (wireline or wireless) for qualified subscribers. These discounts can be up to $10.00 per month, depending on your state. Federal rules prohibit qualifying low-income consumers from receiving more than ONE Lifeline service at the same time. That is, qualifying low-income consumers may receive a Lifeline discount on either a home telephone or wireless telephone service, but may not receive a Lifeline discount on both services at the same time. Lifeline also includes Toll Limitation Service, which enables a telephone subscriber to limit the amount of long distance calls that can be made from a telephone.
Link Up Up provides qualified subscribers with a one-time discount (up to a maximum of $30) off of the initial installation fee for one traditional, wireline telephone service at the primary residence or the activation fee for one wireless telephone. It also allows subscribers to pay the remaining amount they owe on a deferred schedule, interest-free. Federal rules prohibit qualifying low-income consumers from receiving more than ONE Link Up discount at a primary residence. That is, qualifying low-income consumers may receive a Link Up discount on installation or activation charges associated with either a home telephone or wireless telephone service.
Apparently these programs are becoming quite popular.
You can find a company called Safelink Wireless offering welfare recipients a free cell phone and 250 free cell phone minutes a month right here.
You can find a company called Assurance Wireless offering welfare recipients a program that is virtually identical right here.
When Comcast acquired NBC Universal earlier this year, an FCC-mandated requirement was that the cable giant offer cheap Internet access to low-income households. Comcast is making good on the mandate through a new program called Internet Essentials.
Families who qualify will be able to sign up for 1.5-Mbps Internet access – the same download speed as AT&T’s basic DSL service – for just $9.95 a month. Customers may also be eligible for a computer that costs just $150 and free Internet training.
Low-Income Gasoline Assistance Program Act – Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make grants to states to establish emergency assistance programs to pay eligible households for the purchase of gasoline.
These days, as long as you are “eligible”, just about everything you need will either be purchased for you or subsidized by the federal government.
Yes, we will always need programs to help take care of the poor, but some of the things that go on today are absolutely outrageous.
There are millions of people out there that have become extremely comfortable receiving government benefits and it will be extremely difficult to ever get them to give them up.
After all, why bust your behind for 40 or 50 hours a week at some meaningless, low paying job when you can live a similar lifestyle by just depending on government benefits?
The following is a rap video that shows the kind of mindset that is developing all across America. Please be advised that it contains some very strong language. It was done by a rapper known as “Mr. EBT”, and it is a perfect example of the kind of attitude that many welfare recipients have today….
Yes, everyone needs a helping hand once in a while. But if you do have to rely on government benefits for a time, you should be fighting like crazy to improve your situation so that you can get off of them as soon as possible.
Of course the biggest welfare recipients of all are the big corporations. The federal government showers billions upon billions of dollars on them every year, and this has got to stop.
General Electric, one of the largest corporations in America, filed a whopping 57,000-page federal tax return earlier this year but didn’t pay taxes on $14 billion in profits. The return, which was filed electronically, would have been 19 feet high if printed out and stacked.
Can you imagine a 57,000 page federal tax return?
That is absolutely disgusting and it is a perfect example of how corrupt our system has become.
All year long, GE has people pouring over the tax code just looking for any little tax loophole that it can exploit.
GE made $14,000,000,000 in profits, but they paid less taxes to the government than you or I did.
There is something very, very wrong with that picture.
All of this unnecessary welfare has got to stop.
No more free cell phones for people on welfare.
No more giving billions of dollars in tax breaks to big corporations.
We simply cannot afford it.
The U.S. debt problem is way, way out of control. We have piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world, and it gets about 150 million dollars worse every single hour.
Sadly, none of this is likely to change any time soon.
The big corporations provide the money that our politicians need to win campaigns, and most of our politicians are very careful not to bite the hands that feed them.
On the other end of the spectrum, our economy continues to crumble and the number of poor Americans continues to increase. So even if we don’t provide them with free cell phones, the truth is that the number of Americans that need basic food and housing is not going to go down any time soon. In fact, it is going to go a lot higher in the years ahead.
We are rapidly becoming a European-style socialist welfare state.
In America today, the poor are absolutely showered with outrageous government benefits and so are the big corporations.
So who pays for all of this?
You and I do.
I am afraid that the joke is on us, and nothing is going to change as long as we keep sending the same kind of politicians back to Washington D.C. over and over.
Most people have no idea what rare earth elements are, but a wide array of the technologies that we use every single day are dependent on them. Without rare earth elements, we would have no hybrid car batteries, flat screen televisions, cell phones or iPods. Without rare earth elements, the entire “green economy” would not be able to function, because almost all emerging green technologies use them. Not only that, but rare earth elements are used by the U.S. military in radar systems, missile-guidance systems, satellites and aircraft electronics. Without rare earth elements, the U.S. military (and militaries all over the globe) would not be able to function. There are 17 key rare earth elements that we rely on every day. But there is a huge problem. China owns more than 85 percent of the known global reserves of rare earth elements. Right now, the rest of the world is absolutely dependent on China’s exports of these metals. Without these Chinese exports, the western world would quickly run out of these precious resources. But in just a few years, the rapidly expanding Chinese economy will gobble up the entire domestic production of Chinese rare earth elements. So what will the rest of the world do at that point?
This is a major problem that you aren’t hearing a lot about in the mainstream news.
But analysts are now predicting that by 2012 this could be a tremendous crisis.
So exactly what are rare earth elements?
Well, rare earth elements are a group of 17 relatively rare chemical elements that you can find on the periodic table. These rare metals have names you may not be familiar with such as lanthanum, cerium, tantalum, neodymium and europium. As mentioned above, they are used in products that we use every day such as laptop computers, iPhones, magnets, catalytic converters, night vision goggles and wind turbines. These metals are not well known, but they are absolutely crucial to our way of life.
So what is going to happen when we start running out of them?
According to The Independent, the move towards “green technology” will cause a dramatic increase in demand for rare earth metals in the years ahead. In fact, it is being projected that the world will need 200,000 tons of rare earth elements by the year 2014.
But analysts fear that China may drop exports of rare earth elements to exactly zero tons by 2012.
Can anyone else see a problem forming?
Last summer, one leaked report indicated that Chinese authorities were already considering a complete export ban of the most critical of the rare earth elements.
But while we may speculate when the complete ban is coming, the truth is that China has already moved to dramatically cut back exports of the metals.
China recently announced that they have cut export quotas for rare earth elements by 72 percent for the second half of 2010. The U.S. government reacted quite angrily to this news and warned that this could potentially cause a trade war.
TechNewsDaily recently quoted W. David Menzie, chief of the international minerals section at the U.S. Geological Survey, regarding the coming shortage of rare earth elements….
“Countries and companies that have or plan to develop industries that need rare earth minerals to make products are concerned about China’s growing consumption, which they fear will eliminate China’s exports of rare earths.”
So what needs to be done?
Well, nations and corporations that use rare earth elements need to start weaning themselves off the supply coming from China.
But there is a huge problem.
That cannot be done overnight.
According to a recent report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, building an independent U.S. supply chain for rare earth elements could take up to 15 years.
So what in the world will we do until then?
That is a very good question.
The truth is that those running the U.S. government are just not very good at thinking strategically.