The Wall Street Journal reports that PG&E, California’s largest utility, has declared bankruptcy because of its inability to cope with the costs of climate change. This rather stunning news is expected by observers to repeat itself in coming months. PG&E’s immediate problem appears to be the wildfires that its power lines have caused in its tinder dry surroundings.
I asked the question of whether we need to be afraid of economic issues in my last blog. I have just finished reading Jeff Goodell’s latest contribution to Rolling Stones “The End of Australia” in which he lays out the natural disasters that have hit Australia in recent years. If Goodell is right and the fires, the floods and the droughts that have ravaged Australia in recent years are indeed the result of global warming then economic issues rather pale into insignificance. Do not read this article just before bed.
A recent article in Nature reported in the Washington Post asserts that the recent environmental disasters around the world cannot be attributed solely to the normal fluctuations in the weather but bear the imprint of human-induced climate change. For those of us who live in places like Texas where the “disaster” amounted to a very pleasant week off from school, one might well ask, “So what. If this is what global warming means then we can live with it.” Of course, the sad part is that those who bear the brunt of the effects of climate change are not those who, many scientists believe, are responsible for its cause. Until the effects of climate change are felt at home, there is no incentive to change; and by the time the effects of climate change are felt at home, it will be too late to change.