Defence lobbies enlist the sun

“Solar flares could paralyse Britain’s power and communications”.

The UK Defence Secretary will next week attend a summit of scientists and security advisers who believe the infrastructure that underpins modern life in Western economies is potentially vulnerable to electromagnetic disruption. Dr Liam Fox will tell the conference he believes there is a growing threat, and he wants to address the “vulnerabilities” in Britain’s high-tech infrastructure. “As the nature of our technology becomes more complex, so the threat becomes more widespread,” he will say.

Brahmos Missiles

The meeting will be addressed by Avi Schnurr, a former US government adviser who said that “super-flares” occur about once every hundred years, meaning the next is overdue. The electrical grid, computers, telephones, transportation, water supply, food production are all vulnerable to a major flare, said Mr Schnurr, who also works for the Israel Missile Defence Association, a lobby group.

David Williams, acting head of the UK Space Agency, told a Commons committee that any negative impacts on technology, particularly satellites, would have “severe problems both short-term and long-term” for Britain.

A few weeks ago the talk was of a Solar Tsunami which turned out to be little more than a pretty ripple.

The Telegraph contributed to the alarmism

That lobbyists will use whatever scare scenario they can find to increase budgets and sales of totally unnecessary equipment (Y2K for example) is understandable. But Ministers are expected to be a little more discerning. Applying the nonsensical precautionary principle for an event that may occur once in a hundred years and which will affect the “enemy” as much as anyone else seems a feeble argument to increase defence budgets.

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