Winter is Coming

«Let me tell you something about hu-mons, nephew. They’re a friendly, intelligent, wonderful people … so long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts, deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers, put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time, and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people will become as nasty, and as violent as the most blood-thirsty Klingon.»
Quark in Star Trek DS9: «The Siege of AR-558»

Currently there is serious concern in Germany about having enough natural gas for the coming winter. Thanks to serious political mismanagement, Germany is strongly dependent on Russian gas imports. Given that Russia is waging war, imports are reduced at the moment.

The message from politics seems to be to save energy, esp. reducing the heating. Some housing companies will reduce the overall indoor temperature coming winter. (Interesting what can happen if someone else controls your heating — both internationally and locally.)

While it might be fear porn, I am a bit concerned. Without gas, without warmth, things will get explosive. While there is a lot of public concern about global warming, currently it is cold that kills. Usually the homeless and those who fell asleep outside. But if heating fails, it won’t matter whether you are homeless or not. And yeah, you might still have a roof over your head, but an apartment can get very cold without heating. Just come home after xmas when the heating had failed while you were away.

Even worse, it’s stupid to assume that people will go along and reduce the heating. The tragedy of the commons will be in effect. Even if the gas is reduced centrally, people will compensate in others ways. And it will be much less efficient ways. You don’t even need electric heaters. In a pinch, some people will turn on the oven and open the oven door. Woefully inefficient, but at least it’s warm.

For a while. As all these strategies will use a lot of electricity, blackouts will be common. Now you have cold and dark.

There are — of course — methods to keep warm without electricity. But giving the lack of experience I’d expect a lot of fires and CO2 poisonings.

So yeah, if we do get freezing temperatures inside and large scale blackouts, things swill get very very ugly. Living completely off the grid doesn’t sound so strange now.