A central theme of global guerrilla warfare is that the centralized systems we rely upon in modern nation-states are unable to withstand even a rudimentary low tech assault. The environmental movement picked up on this vulnerability for their own purposes. Their message: clean energy is more secure energy. This is accurate. Clean energy requires decentralized production and is by its nature more secure. An example of this trend is the Cascadia Scorecard (an area around Washington State) produced by the Northwest Environment Watch. Their report pointed out the following (maps of the systems in the area):
- The region's power and pipeline infrastructure is vulnerable to the disruption of a few long-haul connections.
- There is rampant co-location vulnerability where multiple systems traverse the same route.
- Growing energy usage strains the existing underfunded systems architecture.
A Green Guerrilla Scenario
Eco-terrorism isn't new. It is, however, typically ineffective. This report points to another potential scenario. If eco-activists adopt global guerrilla tactics, they could coerce a rapid move to clean energy alternatives. Small but extremely effective (high ROI) attacks on the energy corridors leading to target regions, would quickly increase the costs of conventional energy such that clean power alternatives would become extremely attractive. This would be dictated by a direct economic comparison (costs) as well as indirect factors such as reliability of delivery. This systems sabotage tax would induce a tipping point in energy market equilibria towards green alternatives if it is extended over a long period (longer than one season) and is of a sufficient level. See the brief Urban Takedowns for more on how a terrorism tax can impact market equilibria. Other factors:
- Green guerrilla activity would likely be lost in the noise of fears of Islamic terrorism, particularly if the attacks aren't claimed and the groups are extremely small.
- There would be few casualties (if any). This would make these tactics more palatable to a larger audience of potential participants. This points to the potential of widespread activity from multiple ad hoc groups.
- Systems sabotage during peak usage periods would have an extremely large impact footprint. It would also radically increase the general awareness of energy usage. Cascades of failure induced by simple actions could sweep from Washington State to southern California and last for days. Everyone, from consumers to businesses, would feel the impact.