Credit: REUTERS/ Gene Blevins
ProPublica Reporter Sees ‘Positive Effect’ in Half a Million Californians Losing Power in Homes

ProPublica Reporter Sees ‘Positive Effect’ in Half a Million Californians Losing Power in Homes

ProPublica reporter Abrahm Lustgarten suggested California’s rolling blackouts contains one silver lining: It highlights for people the gravity that awaits them if climate change is not addressed.

California’s largest public utility’s decision to shutter large sections of the energy grid forces citizens to notice what things will be like if climate change is not addressed, Lustgarten noted in a New York Times Magazine editorial Tuesday. He did remember to emphasize the blackouts are bad for a lot of people.

“But a mandatory blackout does have one radically positive effect,” he wrote. “By suddenly withdrawing electrical power — the invisible lifeblood of our unsustainable economic order — PG&E has made the apocalyptic future of the climate crisis immediate and visceral for some of the nation’s most comfortable people.

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Lustgarten added: “It is easy to ignore climate change in the bosom of the developed world. But you can’t fail to notice when the lights go out.”

“The blackouts have laid bare the uncomfortable fact that the infrastructure we’ve built and maintained over the course of many decades isn’t matched to the threats we face in our rapidly unfolding climate emergency,” he noted.

Lustgarten’s comments came after California’s public utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) began a days-long power shutoff Oct.9 to curb the risk of wildfires in the northern part of the state. Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, is dealing with several problems as he struggles with PG&E’s move.

Power went out for 513,000 northern California homes and businesses Wednesday morning, USA Today reported, and roughly 234,000 customers were expected to lose power later Wednesday night. Parts of Northern California struggled to deal with massive wildfires in 2018, which torched large tracks of land and killed several people.

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Cover image: Firefighters battle a wind-driven wildfire called the Saddle Ridge fire in the early morning hours Friday in Porter Ranch, California, U.S., October 11, 2019. (REUTERS/ Gene Blevins)

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