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The real existential threat 

Many local communities have already signed up for the Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) community choice energy program to obtain their electrical power. The holdouts are the city of Atascadero by a 3-2 vote by the City Council and the SLO County Board of Supervisors. Last week, the Board of Supervisors decided to undertake another feasibility study even though it's already spent considerable funds studying the issue. The county vote was 4-1 to delay adoption until another study is completed. Supervisor Debbie Arnold was the lone opposition vote, stating that spending another $80,000 is a waste of county money since independent studies have already been conducted.

The accountant-prepared report advised against adopting the MBCP program due to unknown financial liabilities the county might incur. The county would own a percentage of the financial liabilities incurred while it participates in the program. Leaving MBCP would require obtaining permission from the MBCP board, which common sense dictates might be difficult. Permitting entities such as cities and counties to leave the program would increase the share of financial obligations incurred by the remaining participants, so the incentive would be to deny permission to leave.

MBCP is being touted as the way to obtain large supplies of "clean, alternative energy" to fight climate change. Local climate activists have taken up this mantle, lobbying local governments to get aboard without delay. Holdouts are under considerable political pressure to join.

The holdouts are portrayed as either courageous, well-informed representatives or political ideologues, beholden to nefarious forces. I would hope their reluctance is based upon being well-informed as the MBCP program has significant hazards for its participants. The financial liabilities assumed should give anyone pause. However, some who've bought into the program now have "buyers remorse." One caller I received on the "Sound-Off" KPRL radio talk program the first week of October stated that her electric bill had a $93 charge in addition to her PG&E bill. Other emails received indicated that power bills went up hundreds of dollars a month, which occurs when the promised rebates disappear, a result of increasing the percentage of power received via more expensive alternative energy.

The MBCP does not generate power. It acts as a middleman broker, buying power from out of state, which includes energy sources produced via not only approved renewable sources but also mass-hydro. MBCP will "certify" its sources but once in transmission lines, one electron is unidentifiable from another—whether it's from renewable, coal, natural gas, or nuclear sources.

All of this is part of a larger effort to "fight climate change," which is portrayed as an existential threat to the survival of the planet. I think not.

We do face existential threats in the 21st century, foremost of which is the proliferation of nuclear weapons and delivery systems among rising global and regional powers, some with rising nationalism (China) and others with apocalyptic ideologies that require a confrontation with the West (Iran). Russia has completed a massive modernization of its nuclear arsenal, and North Korea, Pakistan, and India are engaged in face-offs that portend regional nuclear wars with potential catastrophic consequences. Their economies and status as world powers depend upon massive use of fossil fuels, nuclear energy, and hydro-power. Frankly, they couldn't care less about the climate-induced neurosis of Western environmentalists.

Our electric power grid is extremely vulnerable to cyber-attack as is our financial system. Minor nuclear powers will soon be capable of launching an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack by firing a small number of nuclear weapons and detonating them at high altitudes over North America. Every electronic device, from car ignitions to all communications would be destroyed. Our high-tech society would crash in a nanosecond, and we would instantly be thrust into a 19th century mode of life.

Mass migrations of people are increasing the likelihood of the return of plagues not seen in hundreds of years. These migrations are not a result of climate change but bad government, almost always socialist and corrupt leading to mass unemployment, food shortages, starvation (Venezuela), and the collapse of virtually every social institution.

This week, China unveiled its massive build-up of nuclear weapons, displaying road-mobile intercontinental missiles, carrier-killers, and hypersonic missiles capable of defeating any anti-missile system we have. Their road-mobile missiles are housed in 3,000 miles of underground tunnels; we don't know how many missiles China has, as they aren't a signatory to any arms control agreement. China's military officers are extremely nationalistic and belligerent toward America. Naval confrontations frequently occur, each one more dangerous than before. The chance of an outbreak of war between China and America in the western Pacific is increasingly likely within the next decade.

By contrast, climate change is a natural process occurring over a century, allowing us to use our technology to adapt as needed. Rising nuclear threats are immediate, threatening our survival over the next decade as belligerent nations replace America as the pre-imminent world power. Δ

Al Fonzi is an Army lieutenant colonel of military intelligence who had a 35-year military career, serving in both the Vietnam and Iraq wars. Send comments through the editor

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