Return With Us Now to Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear

The editors of the Wall Street Journal are chortling over the predicament in which the State of California has placed its residents:

Californians are learning to live like the Amish after investor-owned utility PG&E this week shut off power to two million or so residents to prevent wildfires amid heavy, dry winds. Blame the state’s largest blackout on a perfect storm of bad policies.

Two dozen or so wildfires in the past few years have been linked to PG&E equipment, including one last fall that killed 85 people. PG&E under state law is on the hook for tens of billions of dollars in damages and has filed for bankruptcy. For years the utility skimped on safety upgrades and repairs while pumping billions into green energy and electric-car subsidies to please its overlords in Sacramento. Credit Suisse has estimated that long-term contracts with renewable developers cost the utility $2.2 billion annually more than current market power rates.

PG&E customers pay among the highest rates in America. But the utility says inspecting all of its 100,000 or so miles of power lines and clearing dangerous trees would require rates to increase by more than 400%. California’s litigation-friendly environment has also increased insurance rates for tree trimmers and made it hard to find workers.

Meantime, opposition to logging and prescribed burns in California’s forests compounded by a seven-year drought has yielded 147 million dead trees that make for combustible fuel. Rural communities are at especially high fire risk when winds kick up as they have this week.

To avoid more damage, PG&E announced this week that it would cut power across 34 counties in Central and Northern California as long as there are sustained winds of 25 miles an hour and gusts of 45 miles an hour. After winds subside, the utility says it may take several days to inspect equipment before power returns, and there could be more blackouts this fall.

I wonder what the carbon emissions of several million gasoline-power generators is? I wonder when the state will prohibit their sale and/or possession?

Here’s the part of the editorial I found interesting:

A report this week by Next 10 and Beacon Economics warns that the state isn’t on target to meet its climate goals in 2030 because Californians refuse to abandon SUVs for electric cars. Wildfires last year produced more CO2 than the state’s businesses, homes and farms, offsetting state emission reductions in 2017 nine times over.

which highlights a debate I’ve had over the years. Assuming arguendo that carbon emissions produce climate change, it doesn’t make a bit of difference what the source of the emissions are—electrical power generation, transportation, cement production, running backup generators, or forest fires.

If you’re worried about climate change due to carbon emissions and neither nuclear power nor carbon capture figure in your plans to reduce carbon emissions, I don’t believe you’ve thought the matter through. Every baseload power generation method whether solar, wind, or nuclear requires backup generation capability and that is generally accomplished by burning fossil fuels.

16 comments… add one
  • steve Link

    Policies that might have made sense absent a 7 year drought dont look to be working so well. They need to reassess.


  • Guarneri Link

    Elections have consequences.

  • Grey Shambler Link

    Climate change is the primary cause of droughts in California, fix the climate through legislation and the trees won’t be flammable anymore. Of course it will take a year or two after that to repair the climate so in the meanwhile the power lines need to be shut down permanently. Yes private generators, outlawed and confiscated, other measure may be necessary, such as outlawing toilet paper and plastic bottles.
    Seriously, bad situation. What does PG&E pay for insurance? What do homeowners pay? Can they even buy it?
    I’ve read they aren’t allowed to clear brush around their homes because of kangaroo rat habitat concerns. Watch as more Californians, (native ones) move out to Idaho and Utah. Nevada as well.

  • What does PG&E pay for insurance?

    I would bet that PG&E self-insures.

    Presently, homeowners insurance in California is a combination of private and public but state-subsidized insurance which covers those who can’t get private insurance in their areas is coming up fast.

    California’s problem is that it is an environment which can support about 10 million people that has about 40 million people living in it.


    With a little research I did find that PG&E carries about $1.4B in wildfire insurance (not enough) but I haven’t been able to determine who their underwriter is.

  • Grey Shambler Link

    “state-subsidized insurance?”
    This situation is like homes perched on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific.
    If you need insurance, you can’t afford to live there. If California wants to subsidize risk, go ahead, but I still see more tragedies and more exodus by those who can, replaced by “the newcomers”.

  • jan Link

    PG&E has given extra monies to subsidize electric cars rather than maintaining their lines. This has been at the behest of CA environmentalists. Also, in appeasing liberal policies, building fire roads, culling old trees, planting new ones is no longer a practice employed here. Instead, old trees crowd out new growth and access to wild fires is limited to impossible.

    All negative events of nature, though, are conveniently blamed on global warming, despite studies done at a NW university, concluding that trade winds, not CO2, was the causative factor behind California’s extensive drought. In fact, other research this year, first in Finland and then collaborated by a Japanese University, shows that man made CO2 increases are too minute to have any impact on climate. In fact, there is a mountain of evidence available enumerating the incredible data fallacies being propagated and foisted upon the public by the UN-created IPCC. These include deliberate temperature data manipulations derived from erasing or cherry-picking data, to shoddy maintenance or erroneous placement of temperature stations. In fact, in 2005 NOAA created a clean sheet of temperature data by correctly placing 114 pristine, well maintained temperature stations throughout the US, and found no relative increases in temperatures from then to now. However, such experiments and climate papers are usually ignored or dismissed in order to promote and increase all the restrictive policies associated with climate change hysteria and their demands.

    Here in CA we are the perfect petri dish for all political foolishness.

  • steve Link

    Here are the critiques of the Finnish “paper”. Not estate it was published at an online site and was not peer reviewed. It claims that climate models are not an accurate way to make claims about the climate, but this entire “study” is a model. It does not cite its data sources. Has a lot of circular reasoning. Just a few problems.

    There is no mountain of evidence. (The USCRN network covers only the US. Since you want to write about climate science I assume you realize what a small portion of the globe that represents.)


  • Grey shambler Link

    AGW is superstition. Blamed for everything that goes wrong but proposed solutions are so much hot air.
    They might as well sacrifice virgins.

  • steve Link

    AGW has tons of science behind it. Your failure to understand it doesn’t make it superstition, though that does appear to be the level of science at which most conservatives function.


  • jan Link

    The Finnish climate studies were conducted by Turku University. and were among a series of papers dealing with upward temperature fluctuation associated with increased CO2, and how much if any said increase was contributed by humans.. The findings in this study were then collaborated by a separate research team, led by Professor Masayuki Hyodo (Research Ctr. for Inland Seas, Kobe University).  Both teams arrived at the same conclusion, identifying the prime driver of climate warming to be the “umbrella effect,” with no significant impact from anthropogenic factors.  While Professor Hyodo admitted the impact of cloud cover was indeed discussed by the IPCC, it was never included in their climate prediction because of insufficient physical understanding of it.  However, this is changing, with the emergence of additional studies giving serious climatologists the opportunity to challenge old assumptions and questionable temperature data promoted by the more politicized IPCC.

    Looking at a broader picture of climate change one must also take into account there are a mere 10,000 temperature stations covering earth’s 197 million square miles –  71% which is water – making efforts to accurately assess global climate via surface temperatures terrible.  Consequently, most global temperature calculations are derived from averages not even measured, and instead are interpolated assumptions based on records of other stations.   And, even though the US is considered to have some of the best temperature stations globally, of the original 1,221 climate-monitoring station overseen by NOAA in the continental US, nearly 9 out of 10 stations failed to meet the National Weather Service’s requirements for the capacity to record accurate readings.  When examined, it was determined they were more likely to report higher or rising temperatures because of being badly sited.   Then, when 114 stations were properly sited and maintained by a new surface temperature measurement system in 2005 ( USCRN), no warming was noted from their more accurate readings.  

    Putting even more doubt into the origins of global warming claims, was the finalization of a defamation suit brought by Michael Mann, the creator of the infamous Hockey Stick chart, against another Canadian climate scientist who had publicly rebuked his findings. The court ruled against Mann because he refused to show the work behind his climate data. Other troubling aspects of climate manipulations has uncovered whole periods of earlier temperature recordings being erased in order to create charts favorable to the current climate crisis predictions.  Why, in lieu of such unfavorable reveals in climate studies would we, much like the USCRN has eliminated the need to rely on and adjust the data from outdated temperature stations, not see a need to discontinue outdated “consensus” rhetoric, allowing dissenting opinions a seat in the climate change conversations?

  • steve Link

    Sigh. Ok, here is a key paragraph.

    “The main claim is based on a correlation: that as the Earth warms, low clouds disappear. The authors’ narrative is that low clouds are decreasing due to some natural cause (no mechanism provided by the authors) and the disappearance of low clouds then results in surface warming. This is akin to claiming that increased ice cream sales leads to warmer temperatures. In reality, the feedback is a known and documented phenomenon and works the other way: as the surface of the Earth warms, low cloud coverage decreases, allowing more sunlight to reach and warm the Earth’s surface.”

    And the key sentence is the second one. Magic occurs, then the cloud cover decreases and temperatures rise. (I read the paper. You should too. It is only 6 pages long with almost no citations, including where they got their data.) It is not science if your theory includes magic. They offer no explanation as to why the cloud cover disappeared. Elsewhere, actual climate scientists have published studies showing the mechanisms that cause low cloud coverage to decrease when temperatures increase.

    So on to the Japanese paper, which proposes that the magic you need is cosmic rays. They looked at historical data (note that they did not measure current cosmic ray occurrence) which showed that when they magnetic field flipped, cosmic rays increased. More cosmic rays lead to more clouds and we had cooling. The article notes we are currently looking at what may be an unstable magnetic field. However, if all of that is true, what we are actually seeing is warming, not the cooling the model would predict.

    While the first article is pretty awful and I suspect that is why they didnt try to get it published (it is only available at arxiv and I hope I dont have to explain that), the second article is interesting and needs follow up. I dont have the math anymore to chase it and genius son is not around to help.


  • Greyshambler Link

    You are right that when told that the end of the earth is nigh, and that the only way to save the world is to surrender freedom to an “international council”, the average conservative’s bullshit meter pegs.
    Your evidence isn’t persuasive so they brainwash a 16 year old girl to address the U N, streaming tears and crying out her future is hopeless unless, unless, what? More one world government control.
    B B B Bullshit.

  • steve Link

    “You are right that when told that the end of the earth is nigh, and that the only way to save the world is to surrender freedom to an “international council”, the average conservative’s bullshit meter pegs.”

    If anyone was actually saying this kind of nonsense, you might have a case. Ok, to be clear, there are almost as many people on the left saying this kind of stuff as there are people on the right saying we should stone to death all of the gay people. Feel free to show the quote where I said the end of the earth is nigh.

  • jan Link

    Call the Finnish/Japanese climate research papers “magical thinking.” However, the point made here is that two back-to-back papers, from 2 different sources, deviated from the absolute thinking of settled science “experts,” who base their climate predictions on computer models inputted with questionable (false) climate data. As they say, “garbage in, garbage out.”

    Furthermore, throughout the AGW continuum there have been dire predictions of catastrophic climate events which never came to pass. Rather than snow disappearing, snowfall and snowpacks are more plentiful and seem to be unseasonably early. With the identification of more underwater volcanos in western Antarctic, greater consideration is given to this being the cause of melting glaciers. The polar bear population has grown and is thriving, opposite from predictions of their extinction. The frequency of hurricanes and wild weather has zigzagged throughout the years of climate records, including periodic droughts experienced here in CA. One thing for certain, though, is the uncertainty of temperature monitoring accuracy, as well as the unpredictability of weather and what causes climate to change.

    “No more snow,” for instance, as snowpacks have been way beyond their norms, and unseasonably cold weather appears to again be the new norm this year. The identification of more underwater volcanos are Glaciers melting in the western peninsula of the Antarctic are being attributed with the identification of more underwater volcanos. Polar bear extinction has been corrected to a veritable explosion in their numbers. Greenland’s ice receding

  • Jan Link

    Tablet error by me including the 3rd paragraph in above post.

  • Greyshambler Link

    Most Democratic Presidential wannabes have throw out the number 10. 10 years from now it will be too late to take meaningful action to end devastating climate change. Sign on now, this offer ends in 10 years. Don’t even think about it, because time is short. Classic salesmanship.

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