Thursday, October 10, 2019

Climate Change: Paying the price in California

Last year, California burned. This year, to stop it happening again (or rather, to stop themselves from being found liable if it happens again), Pacific Gas and Electric is cutting power to half the state for a week:

Schools are closed. Traffic lights down. Tunnels dark. Businesses unopened. Hospitals running on generators.

Much of northern California is facing life without electricity or gas for as many as five to seven days, after the country’s largest utility company cut power to an unprecedented swath of the state as a preventive measure against wildfires.

The preventive power shutoffs by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) may affect up to 2.5m people by the end of the week. The first wave of shutoffs began on Wednesday to portions of 20 of the state’s 58 counties. PG&E is expected to shut off power to 10 more later in the day.

And that's the price of climate change: a huge chunk of one of the richest parts of the world where you can no longer get reliable electricity for fear of climate-change induced fires. And its a terrible price, because its not just a question of inconvenience - PG&E is basicly leaving anyone medically dependent on electricity to die (the expected cost of that presumably being lower than the expected cost of being found liable for another massive fire). And given the way the climate is going, this is likely to happen every year, until they find a way to stop their lines from causing fires (or until people adopt distributed generation to avoid disruption).