What will be the biggest threats in the next 10 years?

I have to say, this did make me chuckle a bit

NATO Review posed this question;

Getting a new defence product to market takes up to 10 years. So what do industry leaders feel we should be worrying about now? #NATOReview asks six senior company representatives to reveal where they see the biggest threats developing.

The answers were

The biggest threats, surely you mean what we can sell you now Afghanistan is coming to an end!!


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84 Responses

  1. Cyber seems to be the big issue, but one thing in my opinion they missed is the military space race. Intelligence gathering and the militarisation of earths gravity well by China will be a big issue, the destruction of Chinas defunct satellite by their own ASAT missile is a direct statement of intent and capability by the Chinese armed forces. The United States will not willingly relinquish its lead in military space technologies, so the ground or should i say space is set for some interesting times.

  2. “NATOReview asks six senior company representatives to reveal where they see the biggest threats developing.”

    Wow, that’s a silly idea.
    It’s like asking a politician a question. You will get an answer, but it will be an answer to the question he would have preferred.
    Arms industry CEOs prefer the question “what do you want to sell us?” over “what are we going to need?”, of course.

  3. Financial. The global debt bomb. The woes of the US, UK, Eurozone & Japan are well known, but perhaps the biggest threat is from the hidden debts of China. Chinese nationalism is almost out of control now, so what will happen to it if their economic miracle collapses? Could turn ugly. The Middle East is hardly an oasis of calm. Unlimited immigration raises the risk of an enemy army within.

  4. I could come up with a long list, but I’m particularly worried about the proliferation of very accurate, long ranged and essentially unstoppable PGMs, both ballistic and cruise. M&S referred to their possession as “hostaging” infrastructure deep in an opponent’s country. The problem with this is that you can end up with a form of MAD that won’t involve immediate mass casualties and therefore may be seen as an acceptable option where conventional military attack would not have been in the past. Likewise, faced with the prospect of losing essentially everything of military and economic worth in your country in a few minutes*, there will be a great incentive to be the one that shoots first. One only has to look at the resurgence in UK out of area operations since the fall of the Berlin Wall which, I would argue, has been partly driven by our possession of such weapons.

    *If you think that’s hyperbole, take a few moments out with Google and Google Earth to come up with a list of aimpoints, serious damage to which would seriously screw up the UK’s military and economy. The list won’t get very long before we’re essentially back in the pre-industrial era and pretty much defenceless.

  5. China is taking the economic route, not the military one ……….

    The militarisation and space race are missions of political intent and they will control the world like we controlled the Empire. We need to spend serious money to bolster our economic might, by what ever means; and reduce China’s advance.

    Start with shaking up the private equity sector – too much debt, not enough investment and they pay no taxes.

  6. I don’t know about 10 or 40 years, but the answer is the economic challenges faced by our current national demographic combined with increased mobility and understandable desires for a better life by peoples from Africa and Asia. To which point spastic floaty little QECs and dinky expensive hovering jets are the wrong answers.

  7. So this year’s bogey-man is cyber attack. I see three defences. One: detect the culprit and launch a fierce counter attack (cyber or physical) – this might be seen as hostility, likely to set the world against the initial victim. Two: spend vast heaps of cash on just-in-case cyber defences hoping to keep a step or two ahead of the attackers’ technology – very expensive, never ending development with no guarantees of effectiveness; clearly this is the software industry’s favourite because its a licence to print profit. Three: develop cyber resilience – by this I mean as a society, not just the processing machinery; its a case of breaking the dependence on software networks, teaching skills that were once second nature to users of IT so that they still retain capability if the network fails and so on.

    As an example I will return to RT on his infamous recce bicycle. As a result of training, experience and no doubt the application of personal intelligence, one man (and his bicycle) was able to gather intel, assess its importance, record the salient points and on return to his unit explain all the important details. This requires autonomy of tasking, autonomy of data gathering, autonomy of assessment. In the new world I am sure this would not pass muster – Scout-SV is being stacked up with IT so that it networks its gathered data immediately to expert image analysts and the command chain, so the people who ‘need the information’ see it as close to first hand as feasible. The personnel in the vehicle are no longer the ones making judgement calls on the importance or meaning of that which they watch. Their job is now to get the data capture platform to the right place, aim the sensors and switch on the datalink. The new system is dependent on data networking; it is vulnerable. Should the network get taken down, would the the personnel trained only in the network enabled world be capable of getting the binoculars out and constructing a formal recce report?

    Well they should be. I would go further; in my world software laden electronics would be used only when there was no alternative, particularly in military equipment. I see no advantage in replacing basic 24V switch-wire-load electrical systems with flashy microcontrollers. I don’t understand why every mechanical component needs a processor and has to refuse to work at all if it can’t communicate to other mechanical items. Its just not necessary; its adding in unreliability, and vulnerability, where it doesn’t need to be.

    But resilience needs to be much broader than military personnel and equipment. May I suggest children need to be taught how to live without 24 hour access to facebook? Taught to talk face to face with real people instead of typing crudities to their 12,000 virtual friends? Taught to communicate without use of SMS? This in addition to being taught not to believe whatever answer IT spews out, not to accept everything written in googlespace is absolute truth, not to think they’ve done a hard day’s work because they had to spend 10 minutes googling to find a bit of text to cut & paste as their homework. (An interesting game – find a line of text in Wiki, copy it into google and see how many different webpages return exactly the same text, all copied from Wiki as the ultimate source of all truth.)

    Cyber threats become much less of an issue if society has robust and reliable workarounds in place – whether that is by making sure people can perform an equivalent function without IT (and have that authority), or by running local off-line processors in parallel to the networked ones so they can keep doing their job when the network system is brought down. In any case, empowering people to act as responsible thinking individuals rather than IT process slaves can only be a good thing.

  8. Biggest risk?

    Budget cuts.

    The economic crisis has killed more heavy/medium armour than the US in GW1 and 2. How many countries have sold off their heavy armour in the recent crisis? Germany and the Netherlands are ones that immediately come to mind, and even the UK is not safe with the mothballing and storage of half your fleet of CR2s.

    It’s a civilian side problem, but the financial systems of NATO countries need to be a bit more robust with a bigger safety buffer. It’s more “dead money” yes, but in terms of investor confidence, such money is never really “dead”.

    This is also in addition to the view that military budgets are “excess spending” with the passing of the Soviet threat, leaving it hard to justify spending.

  9. Observer, smaller inventories of major weapon systems are only a “problem” or “risk” if there’s enough of a threat to be concerned about.
    The only ones coming close to being such a threat are the Russians, and it’s obvious that we won’t fight them unless we turn most stupid. The only semi-plausible scenario for a conflict with them is in my opinion an dual intervention in the Ukraine. Our national security cannot be at stake in the non-ally Ukraine, though.

  10. Exactly SO. That is the biggest threat to NATO right now. To justify its existence. Without any national security threat, it is going to be hard to justify a regional military force and the drive to keep cutting it down is going to be greater the longer there is peace in the region.

    Not saying it is a bad thing, just saying that it is going to be their biggest problem in the future.

  11. This reminds me of Albright’s stupid question what a powerful military is good for if you don’t use it.

    To not need to use it means mission accomplished. The country is safe (maybe at too much fiscal expense, though).
    An alliance whose members fear no aggression has accomplished its mission (and shall keep doing so).

    We should make good use of the good times. Reform the military for better performance, more reserves, more stocks and higher efficiency. Use diplomacy a lot (I can’t remember major Western head of state visits in Ukraine, do you?). Crack down on greedy, slow and inefficient arms industries. Establish experimental units and formations and do lots of free play experiments. Purchase foreign military equipment of unusual philosophy and test it with our troops (BMD-3, LORA, TOS-1, BMP-T, BAMSE, Namer or Ray Ting 2000 , for example).
    Run exchange programs at the expense of active forces strengths in order to absorb tactics, SOPs and other ideas from foreign forces.

    Instead they do the most stupid thing; despair over “relevance” and seek some violent great power gaming opportunities.

  12. Ukraine may be the problem that leads to an unexpected war no one wants. Western Ukraine looks to Europe, while Eastern Ukraine looks to Russia. The logical solution is a referendum on partition. Western Ukraine would join the EU as an autonomous part of Poland. Eastern Ukraine would join the Russian Federation. So the one proposal that would solve it, is the one proposal not being discussed.
    Same for Syria. If the Alawites, Christians & Kurds were in one half & the Sunnis in the other, that could solve (at least for now) that civil war.

  13. What is the biggest threat we face in the next ten years?

    German politicians without the courage to either:
    1. End the euro (with Finnish & Dutch participation)
    2. Ask the German populace to do what rich regions do for poor regions in nation states* (with Finnish & Dutch participation)

    The end result of doing neither being a disorderly break-up of the euro which would utterly trash the Atlantic alliance as well as the EU. It is our network of alliances that make most of these threats meaningless, therefore I fear threats to the alliances rather than ourselves directly.

    At that point I will worry a Chinese plans to replicate the converted Ohis’s, for the reasons Chris Werb gave above.

    * http://jedibeeftrix.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/thoughts-on-the-enduring-weakness-of-the-eurozone/

  14. Finance:

    Free trade stops wars but when trade/work dry up lots of people have nothing to do and soon find someone or something to blame this build up anger and frustration which can boil over into instability now ably helped along but social media.

    social media:

    Hostage taking and uk nationals requiring evacuations have been triggered the by the rise of social media, execution or mock execution videos posted on it organisation of mass rallies to over through governments leading to nation wide instability the Arab spring, civil unrest in uk the London riots ect.

    The posting of chemical weapon attacks with minutes of them talking place requiring a response from the international community to limit there use and redoubling of efforts ensure the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are controlled.

    The denial of gps or communication satellites or undersea cables. Government interruption of these systems on the pretence of controlling there populace could end up severe restrictions to our ability to communication or indeed control assets.

    Climate change/natural disasters:

    Increase in population size mean people consuming more natural resource and moving into areas of more high risk to all the forms of natural disasters we see every year.

  15. @jbt
    Chancellor Kohl was quoted as saying that the failure of the Euro could lead to a civil war in Europe. It behoves us to listen to German chancellors predicting wars. We should certainly prepare for such an eventuality though UK could stay out of it as long as no one invades Belgium.

    The film clip seems to have been a marketing tool I hope that NATO Review got something out of it.

    You cannot hope to bribe or twist
    The honest British journalist.
    Considering what unbribed he’ll do
    There’s never an occasion to.


  16. A civil war is a war between organized groups within the same nation state or republic,[1] or, less commonly, between two countries created from a formerly united nation state.

    As the EU isn’t a state it can’t be a civil war. Chancellor Cabbage is a tad wrong.

  17. The biggest threat?

    Our own inability to envision a threat, until it’s nearly in biting range…
    And our own inability to rapidly respond to growing threats by expanding conventional forces….or developing appropriate strategic counters.

    Cyber- Chris has said most of what needs to be said…although I would argue that we need to make all infrastructure robust and capable of reversion.

    Africa- The ongoing human tragedy that is Africa, is already another islamic fundamentalist battle ground….

    China imploding- or worse, turning to military adventurism to feed it’s insatiable desire for resources… you don’t think they’ve landed on the moon for the good of all humanity do you?

    The Euro- it will be a crisis if it folds- one which Russia will take every advantage of in every way they can.

    Energy Security- we are now a net gas and oil importer, which means if we don’t address these problems now, we will be the hostage of anyone that supplies us.

  18. There are too many unknowns out there, including the unknown ones, for a definitive answer; but it would be useful to frame the question in terms of the threats to the UK, which overlap with but aren’t entirely the same as those to NATO. Put like that, I’d suggest that energy, regional instability and military alliance are cause for concern. Our energy policy has left us increasingly dependent on long-range delivery of supplies from unstable parts of the world, over vulnerable supply chains. Alliances and a strong navy and air force can mitigate this risk, but alliance and available force might also drag us into conflict that doesn’t serve our interests. Plus ca change (but at least we might have learned not to get involved on land).

  19. Chris, not too sure if the “infamous” bike is in itself a decent point of reference, but it had the benefit of not having micro-processors on board and I knew how it worked.

    The most important attribute, and the only one I graded my recce soldiers and young officers on was “attitude”. I never gave two hoots about their cleanliness or smartness or the length of their hair or whether they’d shaved or not. The NCOs worried about those things. I only needed them to do two things: to never ever give up seeking information no matter the physical conditions or how tired they were, and to then be able to pass it across in an intelligently abbreviated form. Oh, and to be fitter than butcher’s dogs. We did around 25 hours of physical training every week in my Squadron, including all sorts of other recce tasks like map reading and stealth approaches. The wagons were mostly ignored.

  20. @ John Hartley

    You may be onto something there. This is relevant to your musings……


    When you look at 19th and 20th century history there lots of odd little wars, uprisings, coups, and stand offs in Europe. They must happen for a reason. You would think a wise British government with a relative settled civil structure and safe behind a big moat would do their best to avoid becoming embroiled overthere……….

  21. Same as it’s ever been, it’s the bloke doing the job that matters- everything else is just kit to help him.

  22. If the biggest threats are cyber and financial then we need to sure up against them.

    To me this means “off grid” systems and predominantly manpower based defence. “Manpower” because it costs very little when the chips are down.

    However, we are investing in highly interconnected systems and reducing reliance on manpower in favour of automation (“on grid” and expensive) and remote control (“on grid” and expensive).

  23. @x
    Whilst I would agree the CM/EC/EU is not a nation, there are those of a contrary opinion. Some third world historians refer to what we call World Wars as European Civil Wars. I defer to your knowledge, but as they say “that a tomato is a fruit is knowledge, not putting tomato in a fruit salad is wisdom.”

    Would the founding fathers of the USA have gone to war to prevent secession of a State? Yet four score and ten years later the USA and the secessionist states fought a bitter war on that very issue.

    Your post about C19 wars in Europe is spot on. The government must learn how to sit on its hands and avoid becoming involved in other peoples conflicts unless the UK is threatened directly.

  24. @Simon: “To me this means “off grid” systems”.

    Maybe. There’s a recent-ish paper on Stuxnet – To Kill a Centrifuge – which is worth a read. The important bit, from the “off grid” perspective, is when Stuxnet v2.0 enters the scene on p. 11. Don’t skip the sidebar.

  25. “What is the biggest threat we face in the next ten years?

    German politicians without the courage to either:”

    Look, maybe you didn’t get the memo yet, but Mrs. Merkel is no politician, she’s an administrator.
    She does not really do policy. She does power politics. All she cares about is to maintain power, and she does only do any policy change if this supports this one objective. She’s perfectly uninterested in policy or ideology themselves.

    There has been an election recently and there will likely not be another one for four years. This means in about three years she might do something about the Euro currency mess, but only if pressure becomes too great and only if she can blame her own guilt on others.

    After all, Greeks can blackmail Merkel by now. She guaranteed much Greek debts, and refusing ever new guarantees would mean she would have to admit that she wasted a hundred billion Euros German taxpayer money. I doubt her legendary power politics skills suffice to survive that in power. This situation also explains why the Greeks don’t care about actual reforms any more and don’t quit the Euro zone.

  26. Would anyone consider some sort of US implosion/ 2nd Civil War a possibility? Politics seems to be becoming increasingly polarised and angry over there.

  27. @ Deja Vu

    I know. But we have to tackle such errors when we see them before they become truth. This peddling of falsehoods and double speak is what we see in today’s education system.

    I am sadly very open to the idea of war never being an impossibility. I have wondered for a while now if the declining utility of military power actually means states may actually be more likely to resort to its use.

    I don’t know about tomatoes. But I know bananas are herbs. And I find that troubling on so many levels.

  28. There are worries about various viruses mutating becoming more virulent and perhaps acquiring new or enhanced means of transmission. Viruses aren’t the only thing that can mutate. What, for example, if some of the intelligence DNA of the Provisional IRA ended up in Islamist cells in the UK? PIRA and other Irish nationalist terrorist groups pulled off some pretty spectacular coups including mortaring 10 Downing Street and Heathrow, the Mountbatten, Omagh and Brighton bombings. What if an islamist group with PIRA’s intelligence went after our infrastructure? Our electricity grid in particular is extremely vulnerable and taking down major parts of it would not even require weapons or high explosives). The effects of protracted blackouts would be major disruption and dislocation and possibly societal breakdown in urban areas. At least without electricity there would be no cyber threat to worry about.


  29. Observer, agree with you on the budget cuts, although I also see the extended life and upgrading of existing systems as one possible positive outcome, rather than trying to stay ahead of the game using untried, expensive systems in small numbers.

    In this sense I see a potential large market for kit like the IAI Kfir C.10, old airframe with modern avionics and systems. Hmm, wonder if the People’s Democratic Republic of Scotland would be interested in them instead of the Typhoon?

  30. I agree with Chris Werb. The most likely conflict will be a rerun of Northern Ireland in England but with different players. The players may not include the government to start with, as the players will be fighting foreign wars in the UK, but the government will have to join in. The police will not be able to cope and the Army will be too small to help. Neither this government nor its likely successor will be capable of dealing with problem. The players will use cyber warfare as well as mass riots and terrorist attacks and will aim at our food chain. It will not be pleasant.

  31. Ourselves

    Overcommitting to some far flung enduring op with dubious national interest whilst at the same time leaving the gate unlocked for some terrorist atrocity on home soil

    Or continuing to seek gold plated state of art solutions on the kit front at the expense of broad spectrum capability. FRES for example at the expense of MPA

    We should become more uk defence focussed be it against terrosist attack, cyber attack etc. and rein In our aspirations for global adventure

  32. @ SO – i don’t really disagree with the diagnosis you offer of how we have got to where we are, but i don’t see that it changes the prognosis i suggest in consequence. :)

  33. Angus,

    I won’t pretend to have read all of that but the bits I did read were certainly interesting.

    It all goes back to what I was saying on a previous thread. It seems that it is ignorance that is the problem (e.g. the sheer vulnerability of an open OS API or network protocol). Also it demonstrates the danger of a virus that sits dormant in a printer’s memory. Looks even more concerning if it sits dormant inside a SATA controller’s EPROM so when you connect your laptop to the RS232 controller and plug in the USB SATA disk it undertaks a man-in-the-middle data insertion over a comms protocol that is unlikely to be secured or certified.

    Anything that has flashable firmware is vulnerable in the long-term.

  34. X I have a few Polish relatives who live the other side of the mountain from Nowy Sacz, so the Wiki article was interesting. I knew some of it, but not all of it. Poland has a national treasure fortress , the other side of Lvov, now crumbling deep in the Ukraine.
    I feel this great complacency that there is no great dictator so no war threat, is misplaced. The world is mainly governed by idiots, so the risk of accidental war by misjudgement is sadly quite high.

  35. @ x
    Unfortunately I think you’re right, war will always be with us…
    As for declining military utility…I think that between superpowers, global and regional powers, it won’t make a difference. Where it will change things, I think, is smaller states seeing it as evening up the odds, and where before they may not have taken on a more powerful state, for fear of getting a good kicking, they may not be so restrained now- access to powerful weapons or techniques will give some states ambitions beyond their borders.

    I thought a banana was either a fruit, nut or berry, depending on who classifies it, and indeed is also a measurement used in nuclear power plants; the “banana equivalent dose”, because yes, bananas are radioactive.

    The world is not safe i tell you…..

  36. Overpopulation
    Climate change (yes really the knock on effects will be huge).
    Islamic terrorism (some racial political terrorism as well) Northern Ireland is, not over yet!
    Cyber attack.
    Big headed politicians intent on jamming our dicks into light sockets.over committing us an wasting cash and men on Elephant keeping.
    Organised crime, corruption (more arround that you might like to want to know about).
    Fix that and then and only then will I worry about nameless isles ruskies Chinese etc. Etc

  37. Simon
    I am no friend of the the global warming industry or politicians.
    But man made or not there are things going on that WILL affect us.

    Rising sea levels,
    increasing ocean acidification,

    Are measurable now.

    If it happens on anything like the possible scale.

    Increased energy in storm systems.

    Are real possibilities.

    This stuff is going to hurt.

  38. @Tim

    Living in the US I think that the perceived political splits in the US, at least as they are viewed internationally, is vastly overblown. There is basically no support for anything of that sort and I don’t see it as particularly realistic at all. There is a reason that the compromise budget that was put through has seen widespread support among the actual people. For the most part the people want the parties to manage things in a cooperative manner. From the outside it looks worse than it really is for a variety of reasons.

    I do think there is a somewhat major threat of US disengagement globally. There is a strong undercurrent in much of the US that would still see it revert to some level of isolationism if certain things happen. With the shift in the energy situation in the US that seems to be occurring I think you will see a continuing downturn of involvement in the Middle East. If China or Russia makes themselves clearly the classic “big bad” then I think the US stays involved. If not then there is potential for continual pull back. Traveling back and forth I don’t think many in Europe or even Asia understand quite how remote they are seen as being from the US.

  39. @Chris W.

    “What if an islamist group with PIRA’s intelligence went after our infrastructure?”

    It is actually a bit frightening to thin what some extremist groups could accomplish if they better understood what would really cause terror among the populations they are attacking. Their fascination with known, major targets works wholly to the benefit of the West in my view.

  40. Or is it more a question of genuine intent? And having meaningful support for that intent.

    Look at the 7/7 Bombings. A truly disgusting outrage. But if I were to look at the event objectively the UK was lucky because it struck me, again being objective and sincerely without wanting to cause distress or offence to anyone, as well a bit amateurish. They could have been a lot worse. Without going in to Tom Clancy territory I bet the security services know (have gamed or done the staff work) on attack on the Tube. And I bet they would have come up with something far worse. Not because they are super men. Because they would have specialists involved to look at how “best” to do the job. Specialists though who are from unique to the UK; railways engineers, tunnel experts, and explosives experts are found the world over. A state backed terrorist venture like would be truly horrific. But, thank God, we have amateurs with few resources. And they choose to expend those few resources on hard targets. It isn’t just a question of technical ability or resources but imagination; luckily you can’t be the latter off the shelf in some dingy corner of the Third World. Even less imaginatively here we are in the busiest shopping period of the year, thousands of shoppers crammed into these malls, and yet where are the mass shootings and bombings. The UK is full of illegal east European weapons. Those malls have few exits; it would be like shooting fish in a barrel. Why hasn’t it happened? Why? No real intent. Nobody wants to do it. There is no gain. Nobody is sure to what end all this “terrorism is directed”. No real purpose. Nothing. Nada. Null.

    To be truly candid I am not sure what the Global War on Terrorism is really. I grew up in the 70s with the IRA/INLA shooting soldiers and blowing up pubs, it has been shown time again that the Irish Government was aware of a lot and may have been complicit in part, and yet HMG didn’t send a force of Vulcans and Tornadoes to bomb seven shades of Guinness out of Dublin. Even though Ulster terrorism soon became a cover for criminal activity there was at least some point a real aim, a real grievance to it all at some point.

  41. IXION

    Ocean Acidification their are two factors at play here. Neither are man made. One is Underwater Volcanoes and Hydrothermal Vents, pumping god knows how many tonnes of sulphur Dioxide (so2), into the worlds oceans on a daily basis.


    The other is the Internal Oceanic Oscillation. Which is the Rhythmic fluctuation in sea surface temperature, atmospheric pressure relationships and water current of oceanic regions having imprecise lengths ranging from a few years to many decades. It is not known if it involves pure self-oscillations of the climate system or if external factors such as solar activity have an impact. Example are the Pacific Decadel Oscillation (PDO) and the one that effects the UK and Western Europe, the North Atlantic Oscillation.

    Basically parts of the World Ocean switch from being warm and cold over a 60 year period generally swapping every 30 years or so in the case of the PDO. So the warmer the sea the higher the ph level. However when that area of the sea then cools the PH levels drop. It is natural variation.

    Oceans Rising
    The Oceans have been rising since the last Ice Age at approximately 1mm a year.


    What is never factored in is Teutonic shifts of the Earth plates as they rise and falls. These can measured in millimetres over thousands of years. Or in less than a minute, as in the case of the Earthquakes in the Indian Ocean 2004 and the Japanese Earthquake in 2011 and the subsequent Tsunami’s.

    Storm Intensity
    The recent Typhoon in the Phillipines was not the strongest storm ever recorded. It was probably the worst reported!


    This is a Philippine government PDF

    On the last page it warns of a Severn metre high storm surge! It was that, which caused all the damage and the majority of Deaths and not the wind!

    This year has been the quietest years for Hurricanes and Tornadoes in the US. However we are seeing Record Cold Temperatures and Record amounts of Snowfall across the Northern Hemisphere. It’s snowing in the Middle East and North America is being battered by Monster Snow Storms, and it’s not even Winter Yet! The Jet Stream is Oscillating all over the place this is causing major weather changes

  42. Cyber attacks aren’t just about loss of Facebook access, or even financial jiggery-pokery, think Stuxnet.

    I read this book earlier this year (CyberStorm – Matthew Mather). Whilst it is fiction and New York centric, it makes for a interesting “cyber first strike” scenario. It does throw in a few worst case bits n bobs… But as any player of Lotto knows impossibly improbable things happen most weeks. Anyway, amazon link:


    Read it, then disconnect all your web enabled infrastructure devices!

  43. @Jeremy M H: look on the bright side with regard to PIRA, at least they are now shutting down all those city centre gasifiers :-)

  44. “What will be the biggest threats in the next 10 years?”

    I suppose it depends on what one means by “biggest”. Are we talking here about the most likely threat, the one that could cause us most damage or something else again?

    The climate change stuff I’d tend to ignore. Even if the lobby is correct in its predictions, it won’t hurt us in the next 10 years. Mind you, the measures we are taking to “decarbonise” the economy will, but that is an issue for a different web site.

    Terrorism, is also unlikely to be more than the pain in the arse it has been for the past forty years or so. Unless some nutter gives a group nukes or other deployable WMD terrorists are not going to significantly affect the life of the nation in the next 10 years anymore than they have in the last 40. That is not to minimise the impact a terrorist act has on individual families, but in terms of fabric of the Nation it ranks as negligible threat, probably lower than other organised crime.

    Of course if some nutter does give a terrorist group WMD then we have moved into a different ballgame. We are now talking about state on state war, albeit by proxy. There has long been recognised a convention amongst states that an attack using WMD will invite retaliation in kind. Are there any nutters out there who want to see their country turned into a glass parking lot, I dunno, but I doubt it.

    As for cyber stuff, we seem to have lost that battle. Anyone who puts anything sensitive on a computer connected to the internet might just as well email it to Peking. Why Qintiq is still allowed to do do sensitive business is beyond me.

    Outside the WMD arena, what are the threats to the UK as an independent state actor? Only one that I can see – trade . We import about half our food and a seemingly ever increasing proportion of our energy and we live in a commercial world of just in time delivery. Chop off, or even seriously disrupt our trading links, and HMG would be fecked, forced to give in.

    So, I would suggest that the defence funding priorities for the next ten years ought to be the RN (including re-enstatement of ASW capable MPA), the Vauxhall Cross people, GCHQ and Box. The army at 80K is plenty big enough (just dump the unworkable reserve plan) and as for the Crabs, well I’d take the F35 commitment away from them (its just a a distraction) and look to see what role they really have.

  45. The main threat we face over the next ten years is surely that of unilateral disarmament.

    The government pouring money into defending against over-hyped cyber threats that perhaps never materialize. Pouring money into overseas aid in the mistaken belief that the positive soft-power effect will make everyone love us, or that we have the economic weight to put the world right. And pouring money into the public sector as they resume the ever so easy wasteful spending of the past in order to win more votes.

    Meanwhile, we continue to see the old fashioned conventional armed forces squeezed, and programs cut, for another decade.

  46. @WF

    Yeah, but I do really worry about how the West would be forced to respond if the terrorist got really smart. They are not trying to cripple a nation after all, they are simply trying to cause enough terror that we decide we have to quit doing what they want us to stop or overreact badly enough to really advance their cause.

    I mean what if they infiltrated 100 guys and simply started tossing high explosives into child care centers at random, mostly in smaller towns? Forget about trying to blow up someone at a premier league game and make a statement. There is plenty of security around those. Go for the youth soccer games. Attack retirement homes. Bust into random houses every night and kill everyone.

    It would not take all that much of that to effectively put the West on lock down. Everyone worries about them going after a nuclear reactor or power plant or government buildings. In my view they are wasting their time there. Spread terror among the populace at large against the softest targets you can find and you force some very uncomfortable choices on the West.

  47. But Jeremy, if they start industrial sale atrocities against soft targets then they understand there will be a whirlwind to reap, a whirlwind supported wholesale by the population.

    I wonder if that has ever come into their calculations, or are they just crazy

    This discussion reminds me of the theoretical ones on nuclear weapons

  48. “Bust into random houses every night and kill everyone.”

    Clever that one. Not only would the police be busy trying to find the terrorists they would also be busy locking up any householder who tries to defend themselves.

    Now that is clever. :)

    Remember the police aren’t legally obligated to protect to you……….

  49. I think that would be obvious if the atrocity level went through the roof, you would see a step change in attitudes and the majority would care little for the minority.

    It would take an unprecedented level of violence or social disruption to initiate it but I can see the possibilities, forced deportation, internment on religious or race lines, draconian border and immigration security and military action against any nation voicing even a whiff of support.

    Its a modern nightmare but the west is extremely vulnerable, our critical infrastructure is woefully protected

    Have you ever watched V for Vendetta?

    Scarily possible

  50. @Jeremy MH: there have been discussions on various lists about how easy it might be to smuggle explosives inside various internet exchange points by posing as a customer for example, something which I suspect has become less of a problem due to increased diversity.

    With regard to random violence, I think it would become actually highly counter productive. When you get that level of violence, the populace start arming themselves and becoming hyperactive. You saw this around London during the riots a couple of years ago where near my location Millwall and Charlton fans were linking up and looking for troublemakers (yes, I know, *Millwall*!). And yes, they were talking to the police too….

  51. @TD

    “It would take an unprecedented level of violence or social disruption to initiate it but I can see the possibilities, forced deportation, internment on religious or race lines, draconian border and immigration security and military action against any nation voicing even a whiff of support.”

    That is really what I was getting at. A widespread campaign of random violence would really challenge open Western societies. I am not sure how we would respond but it would not be pretty either at home nor abroad.

  52. “what if they infiltrated 100 guys and simply started tossing high explosives into child care centers at random, mostly in smaller towns? Forget about trying to blow up someone at a premier league game and make a statement. There is plenty of security around those. Go for the youth soccer games. Attack retirement homes. Bust into random houses every night and kill everyone.”

    That would be a terrible threat. And, indeed, it’s not that they haven’t thought of it; similar things have happened in countries with real terrorist problems. Iraq in the civil war, for example; lots of markets being blown up. Israel; the PLO used to make quite a habit of sneaking into schools or houses (or putting bombs on buses or in cafes) and just killing a few Israeli civilians. Pakistan. etc.

    But they haven’t really been doing it in the UK, have the? And the most plausible explanation for that is surely not that they just haven’t thought of it yet, but that there just aren’t that many highly motivated, competent terrorists in the UK, and the security services are all over most of them.

    I agree that “biggest threat” needs a bit more elaboration. I mean, the threat that’s going to kill most Brits in the next ten years is heart disease. Should we be using the armed forces to respond to that? Get the PTIs to implement compulsory jogging for all civilians, and have roving patrols doing snap VCPs to check people’s cholesterol levels? Storm Shadow strikes on chip shops?

  53. Probably one of the most effective campaigns PIRA ever ran was the mainland one not long before GFA. A couple of big bombs (warnings phoned in, near nil casulaties but big infrastructure damage – M1?), followed by a sustained number of threats, not all real.

    No real bodycount for people to get outraged and mobilised about, but loads of significant transport closures and economic dislocation. What people hate the most is to be inconvenienced without an obvious fix or foe. Imagine that prosecuted at a reasonable tempo for some years and what you’d have to do to counter it.

    It’s a good thing Achmed the Awful is so fixated on martyrdom……

  54. You only have to look at the hysteria over suspected paedophiles, to see what the great unwashed are capable of…
    the paediatrician’s house in Portsmouth that was attacked because the idiots couldn’t spell….

    the Loner that was murdered, because he was ‘taking pictures of kiddies’, whereas he was actually taking pictures of the people tormenting him…..

    You only need one nasty-minded idiot…to shout loud enough for every other idiot to follow blindly like mental sheep….

  55. The way I see it is that terrorism is still the significant threat.

    However, it can be waged both conventionally and in cyberspace.

    I also acknowledge that piracy can also be conventional or cyber, especially with respect to finances and data. Furthermore, WMD proliferation and resource extortion could fall under these two headings as terrorism and piracy really define the reason why the atrocity/crime is being committed.

    In most cases the perpetrator is fairly well hidden so we need to find them.

    That means spies, both legged and remotely piloted.

    The perpetrator will also need to be neutralised across unobliging sea and soil – this calls for a strike force.

    Add to that a need for manpower and the RFA to help rebuild after a natural disaster and AWACS, QRA, SSNs and a home-guard to keep the barbarian hoards at bay and we’re just about done.

    I’d like to add a ballistic missile defence screen to the list too, but have a feeling that will fall on deaf ears ;-)

  56. “What is never factored in is Teutonic shifts of the Earth plates…” – Should have known. Another plan for world domination.

  57. Threats, like risks (perhaps they are the same) are socially constructed. Asking what is a threat is contingent on the position of the person giving the answer.

  58. @Simon 257 – you seem pretty knowledgeable about the behaviour of Oceans…I seem to remember reading somewhere that if the Arctic warms up enough, it switches off the Gulf Stream…thereby both refreezing the Arctic and giving British Isles and all points Gulf Stream Influenced a sharp reminder that we are on the same line of latitude as Newfoundland (5 month winters with lots of snow)…any truth in that? I’d like to know before IO start buying the land to establish a serious ski resort somewhere to the West of Gloomy Court…

    @The Alphabet Soup – I hope none of your ideas for random mayhem get taken up, or we will all be in a dungeon somewhere getting extremely radical manicures and non-therapeutic EST…

    And finally, without banging on about the New Caliphate I am struggling to see how the disorder from Egypt to Pakistan is going to work out well for us…especially if the US continue their increasingly Isolationist course (The “You losers can Frack off Strategy”)…we need Gulf Energy much more than the Cousins do…

    Bad time either for dodging the column on Energy Security or reducing our ability and willingness to intervene if necessary…and we are currently doing both.

    As I say, no clear view as to how it might turn out beyond a strong belief that the map of that area will look rather different in 2025, and none of the States appearing on it are likely to be secular democracies uninfluenced by Radical Islam and friendly towards the West…


  59. @Simon 257 – You seem to know a good bit about how Oceans behave, and I wonder if I could pick your brains? I seem to recall reading that as the Arctic thaws, it slows down the Gulf Stream and will eventually stop it altogether thereby refreezing the Arctic, and reminding those of us getting the benefit of the GS that we are on the same Latitude as Newfoundland…four months of snow and freezing temperatures, that sort of thing…is there any truth in that? Should I start acquiring land to build a Ski Resort a few miles west of Gloomy Court at some point?

    @The Alphabet Soup – I hope your various ideas about random mayhem don’t get picked up out there, or we will all end up in a dungeon getting radical manicures and non-therapeutic EST..!

    More seriously, does anyone think the disorder from Egypt to Pakistan can possibly end well for Europe? The whole map of that area could well be redrawn by 2025 and without banging on about a New Caliph I am struggling to imagine a lot of new secular democracies not influenced by radical Islam and friendly towards the West…and with our wilful refusal to take the question of energy security seriously and our determination to reduce military expenditure still further, that has to be very bad news…we now need Gulf Energy much more than the Cousins do and the “Pivot to the Pacific” looks more and more like old-fashioned isolationism to me…

    If all those Wars were really “all about the oil, stupid” we might need to fight the next lot without help…and that is without considering armies of refugees at the gates…increasing if covert state support for terrorism…and the subsequent decay of tolerance and a civil society at home…

    A very gloomy Gloomy

  60. GNB – maybe your comments fail acceptability criteria on the Gloom-O-Meter?

    Mine get lost occasionally – even rejecting repasted ones (I keep copies now…) as “You already said that” – not that the spammuncher condescends to post them. Many more fall into a relative time wormhole and reappear hours later but in the comment stack timeline at the time they should have been posted – could be 20 comments back. I haven’t determined what the spam hating misery-guts picks up on to reject posts yet, so its a bit like Russian Roulette – pull the trigger & see if the comment lives or dies

  61. Gloomy,

    If the post doesn’t appear at the bottom just click [back] and [Post Comment] again. Most browsers will remember the text field content.

    If it’s a duplicate the nice “Duplicate Eater” will have a word and you know it’s simply going to be sanity checked by TD, which, to be honest, unless he’s on the toilet, happens pretty quickly ;-)

  62. @ GNB & a,

    Not too proud of myself, but a little anecdote. In the early 90s I was the regular Adjutant of a TA Regiment based in the north west. Lancashire Police wanted to do an exercise based on emergency protection of some industrial infrastructure from a terrorist threat, and asked me to be the “red” commander. I was given some terrorist assets, and made a plan. I thought I needed a diversion plan, so the first serial in the exercise I machine gunned a primary school playground at break time, well away from the site of the critical infrastructure. I thought that might give the Police Gold Commander something difficult to deal with.

    It turned out that I miscalculated. My opening gambit triggered a regional response, with calls for support from every force between Liverpool, the Scots Borders, and the whole of Yorkshire. There was simply no spare capacity to deal with the subsequent hostage delivery of an IED by taxi driver (also a diversion) and the main attack.

    It taught me that our Police are not geared up for an onslaught of unexpected events. They could only process one set of events at once, in isolation.

    I hope they are rather more flexible now.

    I also stress that this pre-dated the terrible events in Dunblane by several years. When that happened, I recall feeling wretched.

  63. GNB I have just been force fed an Open Uni Global Warming block as part of a science module. The short answer re Gulfstream, is no one is sure, but there is a lot of hot air between the deniers & the pushers. The GW position that the Gulfstream may be stopped, might have an element of truth, but the sun will still warm the ocean at the equator. That energy will have to go somewhere, so unless the Earth starts spinning backwards, it will still come our way, though perhaps not with the same vigour & may not take its usual route. The mid Atlantic ridge will still pump out lava on the sea floor, causing warming there. In short, there are a lot of other factors. Will ice melting raise sea levels? If its icebergs, then no, just as melting ice cubes do not overflow your gin & tonic. If its ice sheets on land that melt then flow into the sea, then yes.

  64. At least I proved my ramblings have a certain internal consistency..!

    @Simon – thanks – I’ll try to remember that…

    @RT – Sad but true – peacetime public service provision post-privatisation allows practically no slack for the completely unexpected, and the more catastrophic the event the worse the likely outcomes…the Police and Emergency Services are no different…the aim of the accountants is to make sure there are (just) enough of them to cover normal activities…which clearly couldn’t possibly include more than one big shout at once could it?

    The consequence in purely civil emergencies is that where at one time everybody working for one Council had a strong sense of being on “the same firm”…and to some extent that impulse remains strong amongst the men and women on the ground…they are only really free to exercise it once a variation to contract has been agreed with their distant bosses…

    The consequence where lethal force might be required I hesitate to think about…

    My own solution would be some sort of Gendarmerie, ideally linked with the Army…and with all those soldiers being made redundant, now would be a good time to establish it…could be a useful place to accumulate and develop a lot of COIN skills as well…

    @John Hartley – thanks…life (or oceans) are never simple are they?


  65. J H

    The only hot air has only ever come from the Global Warming Lobby. For example, back in 2007, and almost to the day. The Great Fortune teller that is Al Gore, said in a speech in Germany that by 2013 the Arctic would be Ice Free! However according to the BBC today, the Arctic has 50% more ice than this time last year. Although they are discussing the end of the melt season! They never talk about the extent of Winter Ice!



    Just out of interest, during your recent course, did they explain the pause in Global Warming, it’s that, their has been no Global Warming since 1998. Because if they can’t explain that, they can’t explain the cause of so called global warming! And did they mention the decline in Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) which is the main driver of the climate on the planet, as the Sun goes into a prolonged slumber. This Solar Cycle 24 (SC24) is the weakest since the Dalton Minimum (SC5) 190 years ago.



  66. i read Geology and the best summation of the argument i could come up with was:

    “It is possible to note that complex systems such as climate with lots of feedback mechanisms and tangled hierarchies often fall into non-linear dynamical systems that exhibit chaotic behaviour and strange attractors in phase space, that climate has been chaotic and quasi stable long before the humans were around, and that the real argument is whether our input is disruptive enough to reposition climate into a new and wholly undesirable quasi-stable state.

    It is equally possible to note that while climate dynamics are non-linear, they are not unbounded, and that while climate is wildly chaotic on both the geological and micro time-scale, this is not the case over the time frame of next few hundred years, which is what the IPCC and humanity should be primarily concerned with, and thus we can have a high confidence that there will be at least two degrees of warming before we run out of 22nd century.”

    even if when we get two degrees (or a little more), on the likely timescales we are talking about that will still be eminently solvable with economic development costing billions, rather than the post-kyoto trillions needed to be spent in attempting to turn back the clock on climate change.

    the simple fact is that climate remains a complex system which is poorly understood and very poorly modeled, and post 2007 climate science suggests that:
    1. CO2 has less of a multiplier effect
    2. there are natural negative feedback loops which kick in

  67. @ Simon,

    Erm, you seem to have done a spectacular job of misrepresenting all the data in that BBC article. Al Gore is still a wally and should probably be retired into a home out of harms way, or at least somewhere that we don’t have to listen to him, but the BBC article did not say that there was 50% more ice. It simply said that the area covered by the ice was 50% greater, while the total volume of ice remained about the same. Which is what matters.

  68. Simon

    The why’s of global warming are very long term.
    And no, I am no fan of the warmists.

    But nether am I a fan of the deniers.
    Both sides go in for spectacular elective fact quoting.

    Although the warmists have a lot more to quote from.
    If the land ice sheets melt you can kiss goodbye to most of southeast
    And eastern England. As for the recent storm in the western Pacific
    It was one of the biggest ever recorded. And the storm surge last week on the eastern coast was as bad as 53 and worse than 78. It only did little damage because of a great deal of DEFENCES (my emphasis) paid for after 78.

    As for terrorists and what to attack … I will share my little scheme.

    Does not need any guns does not need anyone to die a martyr’s death.

    10 – 12 fittish youngish guys and 4 cars or vans start two from London heading north and one from Newcastle and Carlisle.

    Give them a little basic training and some homework and recon.

    There are hundreds of sets of points junctions and crossings in remotish areas unmanned and unmonitored, on the British railway network.

    If they unbolt and unscrew and cut their way through the points signals and cabling on the main lines on a Sunday night, zooming from place to place along the lines. It would be hours before the trains started crashing and maybe 12 or so before it was confirmed as sabotage. Hundreds poss dead and east and west coast lines closed for days, no rail freight etc, as every screw bolt and electrical connection checked…….

    With a dark night a few vehicle changes and a fair wind, the terrorists would be home in time for cocoa and prayers………..

    And if you want to get really spectacular and you have the rescources…. Some big fertiliser bombs under bridge sections of m6 m1 and a1. Job done country in a mess for days.


  69. Just out of interest, during your recent course, did they explain the pause in Global Warming, it’s that, their has been no Global Warming since 1998

    1998 was an abnormally strong El Nino year, and cherry-picking it as your start point is a bit intellectually dishonest. Some more honest statistics might be:
    We’ve got more than 150 years of reliable world temperature data. The warmest ten years of that are all within the last 15 years.
    The coldest year so far this century has been warmer than any year in recorded history before 1990.

    This is the Met Office speaking here. And maybe they’re wrong. I very much hope they are. But they probably aren’t, and that makes this a very significant threat.

  70. ” Job done country in a mess for days”

    For days. That’s the point, Mr. Ixion, isn’t it? People, perhaps lots of people, will die but the long term effect of such terrorism is virtually zero and most of what little there is is actually created by HMG panic measures to show they are doing something.

    Terrorism is a pain in the arse, not a threat to the nation unless we choose to make it one.

  71. Chris B

    On the BBC link, I used that to make a point. Al Gore stood up and told the world that by 2013 the Arctic would be ICE FREE. Well it is 2013 and is the Arctic ice Free, NO it is not. This man has pontificated and most of the world has listened to him. He is a failed Politician, not a Scientist in any shape or form, but people listen to him and worse believed him to!

    The Arctic Sea ice Sheet isn’t that thick, anything between 6 to 8ft thick. An absolute nightmare if you are a Polar explorer. However the Icecap is not permanent like Antarctica’s. It will break up in Summer due to 24 hours of sunshine and the massive cyclones that occur. In principle, the state of the Arctic, it is just a repeat of the Medieval Warm Period of the Ninth to the Fourteenth centuries, which occurred during the last solar activity maximum as part of the 1000-year cycle. This is the period that the Vikings were able to undertake expeditions to Iceland and Greenland in the ninth century before settling.

    Satellite’s cannot tell how thick the Ice sheet is due to the Snow that lies on top of it. Neither can they tell the difference between a broken ice field, which will eventually freeze back up and open water.

    The links below shows Submarines at the North Pole, the first shows HMS Superb, USS Billfish and USS Sea Devil taken in May 1987, in which they are in a Broken Ice Field. The second one was taken in May 1986, featuring USS Subs: Archerfish, Ray and Hawkbill, where they have surfaced through the Ice. And the the third one is of USS Skate and Sea Dragon, with a distinct lack of ice!


    I found this, this morning probably should have a thread of its own. Apologies for the dodgy beginning. HM Subs Superb and Turbelent at the North Pole


    The BBC in general, cannot be at all to be considered to be impartial. Google 28Gate and you will see what I mean!

    The Met Office official view is that the Global Warming pause began in 1997, other say 1998. Take your pick. The temperature flatlined until 2003 and then their has been a slight drop in temperature. But we are talking a point of a degree. So much you wouldn’t notice. The El Niño’s occur when powerful warming of the upper water layer of the Equatorial Pacific take plac. Occurring irregularly every 2-7 years. High and low pressure zones switch location so that atmospheric and Ocean currents in part reverse during an El Niño event. As a result, weather anomalies occur over much of the globe and result in pronounced warm peaks in the global temperature curve with magnitudes of 0.2-0.7’c.

    It is part of one giant cycle, the Planet was been a lot warmer in the last Ten Thousand years than it is now. It know doubt be warmer again.

    If I’m, correct you are a Lawyer. So evidence is a major part of your work. All the deniers ask is for the Global Warming Lobby to show their evidence. All you get is Computer Model Simulations and ifs and buts. No real Scientific Evidence is offered up for Public and Peer Scrutiny. And the times that it has, it has been torn to shreds, the Hockey Stick theory for one is the best example.

    In Austrailia people are so annoyed the Managing Dirctor of Australia’s ABC has had this sent to him. Not sure if legal will follow though


    Sooner it happens to the BBC the better!

  72. Simon257

    The best available evidence, and that is all there is, is that the planet as whole is warming.
    Why and by how much for so long etc, frankly a lot is theory and yes some of the early theories and projections from the late 80’s have been proved to be bollocks.

    But we now have much much more data. Theories based on that data can be argued, but the propensity of the evidence is its getting warmer.

    But I do accept this unlikely to be a major issue in next 10 years. but if its true it will become a big one eventually.

    But since we have the propensity of scientific community on one side and some scientists (although not many climatologists) on the other funded by big oils and a set of vested interests so vested they should work for Daimart… on the other, I doubt this is an issue two numpties on a defence blog can either thrash out or come to agreement over.

    Hurst LLama

    Yes initially, a few days but funding the massively increased armed British transport police or gendarmerie needed to protect those and like targets subsequently will be a defence head ache. As I am sure the relatives of the dead, and their fellow travellers will feel secure known we have an Elephant tied up in Portsmouth, to protect them. there might be some calls for re defined defence priorities.

    Remember The IRA closed down the M with 1 bomb threat bringing the midlands to a halt because the threatened pillion/ mast would fall on the road if it went.

  73. Ref warm world – it is clear, global warming or not, that an alternative for fossil fuel must be found. The replacement if we have options must be plentiful and inexhaustible. Some think windfarms are the answer – they are not. Some think solar is the only way – that’s a good deal better but the energy density from current solar collectors is feeble. Some thought nuclear was the way to go, but the dangers and the waste products have shown atomic power to be – difficult – despite the high power density available. Some want to grow fuel crops, but as population rises the allocation of vast acreage to fuel production will be difficult to justify. Every time I think this through I reach the same conclusion – the only sane future fuel is Hydrogen. It is available in vast reserves (water) and when burnt the exhaust is clean and non-toxic (also water). It requires energy to split water to Hydrogen & Oxygen, for this Solar would seem most rational, because its genuinely free and (in some parts of the globe) guaranteed to shine down every day. Personally I’d look to use both the Hydrogen and the Oxygen as internal combustion fuel – the density of Oxygen might allow the Hydrogen to deliver almost as much calorific value per litre of fuel as current petrochemicals – Hydrogen burnt in air provides much less energy than liquid fossil fuels.

    Advantages – no global warming effect (although humidity might rise); almost instantaneous return to original source chemical (water) after combustion; fuels existing internal & external combustion engines with relatively small changes; may fuel vehicles directly (can’t mount a windfarm on a vehicle, the only way to use other non-CO2 producing energy sources is by fitting batteries made of exotic and expensive materials.

    Go Hydrogen!

  74. Well if governments had kept development spending going for High Temperature Gas Reactors (nuclear), they can produce Hydrogen on an industrial scale as a byproduct. They also produce far less waste than a PWR.

  75. wf – better and better – so long as the prime resource we use is H2 and not fossil or farmed carbon I think we have energy stability for a very long time.

    Of course there is little apetite in the big energy firms for this technology – no magnate no matter how wealthy or powerful can monopolise the raw material – water – so their profits would crumble. Our hearts would all weep.

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