Billionaire Warns Of EMP ‘Black Swan’ Danger

Paul Singer is a billionaire hedge fund manager. He’s warning his investors of a potential huge “Black Swan” event, an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that would be massively disruptive, reports CNBC:

Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer has issued an unusual warning for investors, calling the threat of a widespread blackout from an electromagnetic surge the “most significant danger” in the world.

Called an “electromagnetic pulse” or EMP, the events can occur naturally from solar storms or artificially from a high-altitude explosion of nuclear weapons.

EMP USA.svg
EMP USA” by NACLE2Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

“While these pages are typically chock full of scary or depressing scenarios, there is one risk that is head-and-shoulders above all the rest in terms of the scope of potential damage adjusted for the likelihood of occurrence,” Singer wrote to clients of his $24.8 billion Elliott Management on Monday in a standard investment update letter. “Even horrendous nuclear war, except in its most extreme form, can [be] a relatively localized issue, and the threat from asteroids can (possibly) be mitigated.”

“(A natural EMP event) today would cause a massive disruption to the electric grid, possibly shutting it down entirely for months or longer, with unimaginable consequences,” Singer wrote. “Only two years ago, the sun let loose with a Carrington-magnitude burst, but the position of the earth at the time prevented the burst from hitting it. The chances of additional events of such magnitude may be far greater than most people think.”
Carrington refers to a solar storm in 1859 that caused telegraph systems to fail around the world.

Singer warned that a man-made EMP attack would be even worse…

[continues at CNBC]

, , ,

  • alizardx

    IIRC the fix for this is a large shunt resistor to ground at every electrical substation, estimated price $10K/site. I don’t think I have to explain to anyone here why this hasn’t been done. As why he’s telling us instead of telling his lobbyists to get to work on politicians (yes, there ought to be a law), interesting question.

    Paul Singer also has appeared recently in another vulture capitalist context: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/06/ignacio-portes-paul-singer-v-argentina-thriller-reaches-climax.html

    • Damien Quinn

      “federal legislation is laboriously working its way through the process”

      He’s on it!!

    • Simon Valentine

      thought it said “shiller”
      says “thriller”

      “in other news today reports are coming to us that false climax is at an all time high this week…adjust your Viagra stocks accordingly”

  • emperorreagan

    If you want to put on your “predict-a-conspiracy” hat, an EMP would be a good way to knock out communication devices that American neo-cons hate for their disruptive power (i.e. twitter and alt-news on the internet ruined the propaganda campaign to go to war in Syria! Oh no!).

    • sveltesvengali

      Carried out to the extremes shown here, it would also knock out a significant portion of government communications, even taking into consideration continuity-of-government contingencies. Since agents such as you describe would presumably want to mobilize force quickly to take advantage of such circumstances while the getting was good, I am not sure how well an event like an EMP would serve them.

      Though I am not completely discounting the possibility of the powers that be taking advantage of the confusion incurred by an EMP, why not just “wait” (with obligatory ambiguous quotation marks) for something on the limited but dramatic scale of another 9/11 to take place instead before any ostensible PNAC II is (re)applied? This is not least since, according to History Commons, about half of respondents in surveys have routinely contended that they still believe Saddam Hussein was involved with 9/11 (http://www.historycommons.org/project.jsp?project=911_project ). Watershed moment though unprecedented opposition to a Syrian intervention was, we are still dealing with many of the same people having the same capacity to have their emotions exploited – if not through a Strategy of Tension, then at least by the powers of post-catastrophe manipulation.

      Granted, the diagram shown here, which seems to be the go-to projection as far as hypothetical EMP attacks are concerned, conveniently leaves out some of the most dense areas of population, including the two largest population centers in the United States. However, by the same token, what good would an attack of such limited impact do for those seeking to exploit it for emotional value?

      • emperorreagan

        Conspiracy theories don’t have to make practical sense! You just float an idea without connecting too many dots.

        That said, I’d agree with the sentiment that there generally isn’t a need for conspiracies. It’s more a matter of opportunism. With everything from natural disasters (like Katrina, which charter school advocates pounced on as a chance to force charter schools on New Orleans, for instance) to blowback from US military/intelligence activity (9-11 being a great example of blowback, with something like the patriot act being passed in its wake), there’s really no need to do anything that’s going to leave a paper/money/people trail.

        • sveltesvengali

          In this instance, I wasn’t explicitly ruling out or defending any conspiracy theories, 9/11 or otherwise, but merely critiquing aspects of the one you put forth for fun.

          That said, for something vaguely intelligent yet conspiracy-minded in the vein of what you suggested, you can look no further than James Corbett:

          http://www.corbettreport.com/?p=6645

  • Simon Valentine

    someone’s going for the euphemistic “goose-egg on temple wheat”

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Well, I see only one way outta this: a mind-bendingly large no-bid federal contract to a shadowy private consulting firm to work on this immediately. Say in the region of $3-$5 billion. Per annum. Indefinitely.

    • kowalityjesus

      All nuclear reactors are protected against EMP attacks as of 2003. I guess they didn’t find it a priority before then.

  • mannyfurious

    The very fact that somebody predicted it means it’s not a “Black Swan” event.

  • Craig Bickford

    Is this guy Singer juts figuring this out, or is he banking on everyone else not knowing about this danger already, as in years ago? I’m going with Liam on this one, this stinks of a sweet heart crony bull shit deal.

  • sgtdoom

    Paul Singer, the Vulture Capital Fund douche?

    Singer is the major earthly disaster today!

  • Oginikwe

    Yes, I’m screwing over Argentina, but, oh! Look! EMPs!

  • Aipeed Teaitchse
    • Oginikwe

      Thanks for posting that. Good read.

21