California Wildfires Excuse: Climate change is the real problem

People walk past fallen transformer along Parker Hill Road in Santa Rosa, Calif. on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Electric Utilities are apparently claiming climate change is the real culprit, in response to accusations that their downed power lines triggered recent deadly California wildfires.

Best Shot a Utility Has Against Fire Costs May Be Climate Change

By Mark Chediak

23 February 2018, 11:05 GMT+10

Across America, utility executives are getting grilled this earnings season about the consequences of tax reforms, slackening growth and possible mergers. In California, though, Wall Street just wants to know one thing: Are power companies going to take the heat for deadly wildfires?

California’s two largest utilities, PG&E Corp. and Edison International, have both seen billions of dollars of their market value wiped out by devastating fires that broke out last year. Because of a state law, they could end up on the hook for damages if downed power lines were the cause. Their chief executive officers were prepared for a flood of questions from analysts about the blazes during their earnings calls, and they seized the moment to deliver what was essentially the same line: Climate change is the real problem.

The strategy could help PG&E and Edison fight the California law known as “inverse condemnation” that holds utilities liable for damages if their equipment’s found to have caused a wildfire — even if they followed safety rules. Edison and PG&E both said during their earnings calls that they’re pressing lawmakers and regulators to change the policy.

Read more:

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard the climate defence. In 2015 Hany el-Missiry, Mayor of the city of Alexandria in Egypt, suggested global warming was responsible for severe Nile flooding which inundated his city. Critics pointed out that that much of the flooding was due to serious drain maintenance failures on el-Missiry’s watch.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
February 22, 2018 9:40 pm

Socialism is the politics of the village. No one has individual responsibility in the village. Likewise, the utility company in this case is blaming someone/something else. Climate Change is a scapegoat. One more reason that scoundrels like it.
Climate Change is the politican’s ultimate dream excuse. They can use it to escape /accoutability/blame for their own inadequacies and shortcomings.
Climate change is the ultimate “The Dog Ate my Homework” excuse for dishonest politicians (is that redundant?) and in this case utility companies.

Walt D.
Reply to  joelobryan
February 23, 2018 7:12 am

dishonest politicians (is that redundant?)
Yes- it is a figure of speech known as a pleonasm.

Reply to  joelobryan
February 23, 2018 9:10 am

… and the crop failures were due to witches. It’s that sort of thinking.

Reply to  Pat Frank
February 23, 2018 4:10 pm

Hi Pat.
Regarding witchcraft during the Little Ice Age:
Thank you for this post about the Malleus Maleficarum, aka the “Witch Hammer”, first published in 1486 and used by the Roman Catholic Church as a tool of the Inquisition, to torture and murder hundreds of thousands of innocents.
Nowadays, we have the modern equivalent of the Witch Hammer: the phrase “The science is settled”.
“The science is settled” is used by scoundrels and imbeciles to dismiss scientific reality – that we still do not know enough about climate science to even agree on what drives what (for example, warmists “KNOW” that atmospheric CO2 primarily drives global temperatures, but the data shows that atmospheric CO2 LAGS temperatures at all measured time scales – the warmists are in effect alleging that the future is primarily driving the past).
For clarity in this context, scoundrels are warmists who know that global warming alarmism is a fraud, and imbeciles believe it is real.
The list of academics dismissed from their posts for speaking out against the falsehoods of global warming alarmism is growing, and the people compromised by this new Witch Hammer number in the millions.
Global warming alarmist mania will run its course, but it will take years to do so, and society will continue to squander trillions of dollars in scarce global resources in this new false alarm of alleged catastrophic manmade global warming, in a cooling world.
Regards and Happy New Year, Allan
of Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger
Unabridged online republication of the 1928 edition. Introduction to the 1948 edition is also included.
Translation, notes, and two introductions by The Reverend Montague Summers. A Bull of Innocent VIII.
The Malleus Maleficarum (The Witch Hammer), first published in 1486, is arguably one of the most infamous books ever written, due primarily to its position and regard during the Middle Ages. It served as a guidebook for Inquisitors during the Inquisition, and was designed to aid them in the identification, prosecution, and dispatching of Witches.

At the time of the writing of The Malleus Maleficarum, there were many voices within the Christian community (scholars and theologians) who doubted the existence of witches and largely regarded such belief as mere superstition. The authors of the Malleus addressed those voices in no uncertain terms, stating: “Whether the Belief that there are such Beings as Witches is so Essential a Part of the Catholic Faith that Obstinacy to maintain the Opposite Opinion manifestly savours of Heresy.” The immediate, and lasting, popularity of the Malleus essentially silenced those voices. It made very real the threat of one being branded a heretic, simply by virtue of one’s questioning of the existence of witches and, thus, the validity of the Inquisition.

It must be noted that during the Inquisition, few, if any, real, verifiable, witches were ever discovered or tried. Often the very accusation was enough to see one branded a witch, tried by the Inquisitors’ Court, and burned alive at the stake. Estimates of the death toll during the Inquisition worldwide range from 600,000 to as high as 9,000,000 (over its 250 year long course); either is a chilling number when one realizes that nearly all of the accused were women, and consisted primarily of outcasts and other suspicious persons. Old women. Midwives. Jews. Poets. Gypsies. Anyone who did not fit within the contemporary view of pious Christians were suspect, and easily branded “Witch”. Usually to devastating effect.
It must also be noted that the crime of Witchcraft was not the only crime of which one could be accused during the Inquisition. By questioning any part of Catholic belief, one could be branded a heretic. Scientists were branded heretics by virtue of repudiating certain tenets of Christian belief (most notably Galileo, whose theories on the nature of planets and gravitational fields was initially branded heretical). Writers who challenged the Church were arrested for heresy (sometimes formerly accepted writers whose works had become unpopular). Anyone who questioned the validity of any part of Catholic belief did so at their own risk.
The Malleus Maleficarum played an important role in bringing such Canonical law into being, as often the charge of heresy carried along with it suspicions of witchcraft.
[end of excerpt]

February 23, 2018 10:22 pm

This witch discussion is off topic. Please refrain from further commentary on it.

Reply to  Pat Frank
February 24, 2018 11:07 pm

Apologies Anthony – but there are clear parallels between the many superstitious executions of so-called “witches” in Medieval times due to false accusations of “weather cooking”, and the extremist persecution of climate skeptics today by warmist hysterics.
My friend Sallie Baliunas noted these parallels when she discussed the Medieval executions of those accused of causing extreme weather in this 2008 video.

That is all I will post on this subject, provided I remember your admonishment.

dodgy geezer
February 22, 2018 9:44 pm

Hmmm. There hasn’t BEEN much ‘climate change’. The dangers only exist in the ‘projections’.
They would be on stronger ground if they claimed that CO2 was responsible. More CO2, more tree growth, more interference with power-lines…..

Kristi Silber
Reply to  dodgy geezer
February 22, 2018 10:41 pm

There will never be much climate change if you don’t want to see it. Plenty of others are living its effects – people in the Solomon Islands, Miami Beach, Alaska…then there are the clues that are around but people don’t think about, like vast forests killed by bark beetles in the Rockies.
Climate change is here.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 22, 2018 10:49 pm

Climate change has been with us for thousands of years, its not a new phenomina.

Bengt Abelsson
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 22, 2018 10:58 pm

The climate is always changing – 3km ice above Chicago not long ago.
To what degree did release of antropogen CO2 increase wildfires in Ca?

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 12:13 am

Miami Beach is suffering from subsidence. Build dozens of mega-tonne of condos and high rises on a sand beach with clay-silt underneath.. it sinks. Simple geo-engineering 101.
And on “Alaska?” Are so you just stupid? Really! That one enshrines you in the Hall of Stupidity.

Extreme Hiatus
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 12:40 am

The recent mountain pine beetle outbreaks in the Rockies were and are a fake poster child for The Warming. The real cause was and is fire suppression which allowed vast areas to mostly even-aged lodgepole pines to mature. They typically grow in even-aged stands because they are a relatively short-lived fire adapted species; their cones pop open when they burn and they can only start growing in the full sunlight that follows.
Mountain pine beetle habitat is a THICK cambium layer found only in mature lodgepole pines (and a few other pine species). Except in freak conditions like the recent hyper-epidemics when they were attacking – but not surviving in – even younger trees and unsuitable species, they only attack mature pines. In most of their range under ‘natural’ conditions, these forest would burn – as they were in Yellowstone – before they were mature enough to support attacks. (These beetles then persist in low numbers attacking weakened mature individual trees.) Due to fire suppression, this time the beetles killed them first and turned them into endless firewood waiting for the next fire – which will then replant another even-aged stand, and so on.
Warmer than average winters do (and did) allow for higher overwinter survival of these beetles – which is why the Climate Gang jumped on this (plus great images of endless dead forests). But that was beside the point. Without all these ‘unnatural’ mature forests there would have been no habitat to support these exploding populations, period.
Smokey the Bear caused these beetle epidemics. And you’ll note that you rarely hear about them anymore because the beetles have already killed off most of the available mature pine forests.

dodgy geezer
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 4:14 am

…There will never be much climate change if you don’t want to see it….
What are you talking about? I WANT to see it! I want to see the evidence for the AGW hypothesis in the raw data.
I want to see a tropospheric hot-spot, and global temperatures matching the predictions based on CO2 comcentration. I want to see global temperatures dropping as we generate less CO2. If that were to happen, a belief that human-generated CO2 was influencing the Earth’s climate would be adequately proven for me.
But none of this is happening. Quite the opposite. The climate does NOT follow the predictions, and so they are modified each year in order to keep the theory alive. The data does not suport the AGW hypothesis, so it is massaged, amended or suppressed for the same reason. Finally, the only claim that can be made is that we have a beetle infestation somewhere (hint – we ALWAYS have one somewhere in the world) that MIGHT count as evidence.
No, that doesn’t work. Show me the base data for your hypothesis, and how it makes testable correct predictions. If you can’t do that, it’s not science…

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 5:20 am

I must protest. I put in an order for the special goggles, plus a supply of the climate koolade over ten years ago, and still haven’t received either. That is unconscionable. Do I complain to Al Gore?

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 5:40 am

Come on, you guys!!!
Kristi doesn’t understand the physical differences between weather events (short-term, within a life span) and climate events (long-term and gradual, extending over generations).
Besides, when a company operates in a state with a governor whose head is off in the clouds like the current one (nothing is wrong, nothing is wrong, everything is just fine), it sometimes works to blame your own mistakes on an amorphous non-extant entity called ‘climate change’, whatever that is. If I were in California right now, I’d be looking for a place somewhere else, but that’s just me.
As I understand it, the grapevines in wine country are recovering from the fires and are budding early, but the article I read doesn’t say if it’s a universal thing or a local occurrence. My question would be will the fires produce a better vintage?

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 5:44 am

If sea level is rising in Miami, it also has to be rising in Ft Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, Boca Raton, Palm Beach, etc, etc, which is not happening. So an intelligent mind would consider other causes.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 6:30 am

“Plenty of others are living its effects – people in the Solomon Islands, …”
For what is happening in the Solomons, see the WUWT threads listed in this search-result:

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 9:13 am

If you don’t want to see climate change, then stop imagining something that isn’t there.
Sea levels have been increasing since the end of the Little Ice Age with no acceleration in the present.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 10:38 am

WUWT threads on Alaska, some of which debunk alarmism, are here:

M.W. Plia.
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 12:12 pm

Kristi, you say climate change is here. Ok, I have to assume by that you mean the warming effect from the atmospheric CO2 of fossil fuel combustion.
The actual mechanism (the Enhanced Greenhouse Effect) is not in question. CO2 is a radiatively active molecule, it is largely infrared resonant at an amplitude of 15 microns for which the corresponding temperature is over 50 degrees C. below zero. This is why AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) occurs well above the cloud deck (still within the troposphere) where there is no water vapor.
Adding CO2 to the atmosphere raises the ERL (Effective Radiation Level) to a colder level thus disturbing the equilibrium where outgoing terrestrial longwave IR (infrared radiation) balances incoming solar shortwave IR. The accepted math yields a forcing estimate of 3.7 watts/meter squared per atmospheric doubling of CO2 (560ppm) from pre-industrial ice core calculated levels (280ppm) which translates to roughly an increase of +1 degree C to the surface mean temperature. To the extent this idea of an “increase” can change the climate is where the science ends and the supposition begins as 3.7 is less than .3% of incoming solar at 1362 watts/meter squared.
Where the concern kicks in is the positive water vapour feedback hypothesis. The IPCC endorsed numerically modeled temperature projections to 2100 include an imagined feedback response over and above the “known” effect of CO2 (~+1C per doubling of concentration) due to increased water vapour from the Anthro CO2 warming. Water vapour is the most abundant and forceful ‘greenhouse’ gas in the atmosphere, ergo even more greenhouse warming, supposedly two or three times as much as the original increase in CO2.
The higher estimates of climate sensitivity, the origin of the catastrophic scenarios thus the need to mitigate, are based on the water vapor feedback/amplification “triggered” by AGW concept. However, there are uncertainties. More water vapor from increased evaporation (itself a profound cooling effect) means more daylight clouds in the lower atmosphere which reflect incoming solar while shading the surface, thus a significant cooling effect to counter the AGW effect along with the nightly warming effect of the low level clouds.
CO2 has risen monotonically since we began measuring it 60 years ago. During this time there have been decadal periods where the temperature mean has risen, fallen and times when it has gone in neither direction. So the instrumental record either does not support AGW theory, or the effect is statistically negligible. Either way the need to impose taxes, a cap and trade system and other costly methods (think replacing coal with wind/solar) to reduce combustion emissions is not justified.
Just sayin.

Carbon Bigfoot
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 25, 2018 7:27 am

Obviously you have been propagandized and are new to this site and the dismantlement of the CAGW by the many contributors to this scientific website.

T. Port
Reply to  dodgy geezer
February 23, 2018 8:09 am

Also, if the power companies are required to guarantee zero fires from power lines, even in the face of 60 mph winds, the cost of power will have to go up dramatically. So, another indirect tax increase.

Patrick MJD
February 22, 2018 10:05 pm

“This isn’t the first time I’ve heard the climate defence. In 2015 Hany el-Missiry, Mayor of the city of Alexandria in Egypt, suggested global warming was responsible for severe Nile flooding which inundated his city.”
Flooding that’s been happening for thousands of years in recorded history. But it’s OK, the path of the Nile flows through Ethiopia and Ethiopia are building the biggest dam in Africa near the border with Sudan. The project has some years to go to completion but it already can control the flow of water down heading downstream.

Kristi Silber
February 22, 2018 10:29 pm

“This isn’t the first time I’ve heard the climate defence. In 2015 Hany el-Missiry, Mayor of the city of Alexandria in Egypt, suggested global warming was responsible for severe Nile flooding which inundated his city. Critics pointed out that that much of the flooding was due to serious drain maintenance failures on el-Missiry’s watch”
What you fail to mention is that it rained 5 times as much that day as it usually rains all month. Sure, the drains may have been in bad shape, but that doesn’t mean that climate change wasn’t a factor. More intense precipitation events is one model prediction that has quite a lot of evidence.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 22, 2018 10:38 pm

It’s only weather.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 22, 2018 10:43 pm

Yes, climate changes.If it hadn’t warmed 20,000 years ago, we’d all be living in Africa.

Phillip Bratby
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 22, 2018 11:19 pm

Show us the evidence.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 12:16 am

You are child. We all are children when we consider the weather records of the pat 140 years.
Do you know how much it rained in 1918 there?

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 12:24 am

If you have recently graduated from a university or college…you should petition for a tuition refund.
They clearly failed to provide you with an education in critical thought and logic.

Extreme Hiatus
Reply to  joelobryan
February 23, 2018 12:47 am

“They clearly failed to provide you with an education in critical thought and logic.”
That doesn’t seem to be the objective these days, in some fields at least. Recall seeing some research done recently that confirmed that university graduates did not improve their critical thinking skills at all.
All that SJW stuff does not exactly promote thinking at all. (Guess this comment belongs on a groupthink post.)

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 1:41 am

one model prediction that has quite a lot of evidence
the IPCC has already stated that climate predictions are not possible due to chaos.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 5:31 am

” More intense precipitation events is one model prediction that has quite a lot of evidence.”
More intense that what? The Great Flood of 1862? Still waiting…

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 5:46 am

Kristi, heavy rains are weather. They have nothing to do with climate change. They are normal occurrences. Please stop flogging that dead horse.
Heavy rains occur everywhere and are nothing new. If the ground is frozen from winter weather and precipitation in February comes as rain instead of snow, there is nowhere for the water to go to be soaked up and you have flooding. That is NORMAL!!!!
The Nile River has flooded for thousands of years, carrying fertile soil in the form of silt northward to the floodplains of Ehtiopia and Egypt. This is NOT something new nor is it the effect of climate change. It is NORMAL.
Try to learn something about natural occurrences, please!

Reply to  Sara
February 23, 2018 5:49 am

Durn! “ehtiopia’ should be ‘Ethiopia’. Too early. Not enough caffeine! My bad.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 8:52 am

Is there anything that you can think of that isn’t a mumbo-jumbo witch doctor sign of your beloved human “caused” climate change? Perhaps better still you should provide us with a short list of anything that you would agree points to the planet NOT warming in the way you claim.
Hint – no acceleration in sea level rise?
Looking forward with interest.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 9:16 am

In other words any weather event that differs from average, is caused by climate change.

Reply to  Kristi Silber
February 23, 2018 9:25 am

“What you fail to mention is that it rained 5 times as much that day as it usually rains all month.”
That, my dear Kristi, is how weather works in a desert climate. It doesn’t rain often, but when it does rain, it tends to rain A LOT. In a short time. I’ve camped quite a bit, on four continents, but the only time I’ve gotten really wet doing it was in the Sonora Desert. And I have had my engine flooded on the main street in Dubai City. They hadn’t bothered with drains either.

February 22, 2018 10:52 pm

A few thoughts:
1. Article is short on details, and I’m disinclined to chase them. I need more specifics on the “California law known as “inverse condemnation” that holds utilities liable for damages if their equipment’s found to have caused a wildfire — even if they followed safety rules. Edison and PG&E both said during their earnings calls that they’re pressing lawmakers and regulators to change the policy.”
2. This being California, I’m not quick to blame the utilities without more facts.
3. I live in ground zero of the Sierra Nevada pine beetle mortality. I’ve seen PG&E undertake massive efforts to take down large hazard trees in densely packed rural cabin communities, as well as along their distribution lines between widely dispersed properties. My own property was served in this effort. The PG&E crews and contractors have been doing a great job for several years now.
4. I’m disappointed to see the utilities joining the Brownian choir of blaming it all on climate change. It’s probably a defensive posturing to avoid liability costs, but I’m sure they know it’s bullshit.
5. Having said that, I know there are distribution system shortcomings: aged poles, lines strung on trees to residential services downstream from the transformer, etc. Much of these conditions are simply backlogged corrections from earlier, more permissive standards. I also know the company has been doing a massive effort to correct these problems over a span of several years, as noted above. Tree growth over a 40 to 50 year period contributes to the problems on private lands. Clearing is needed. My neighbors and I have been doing as much as we can toward this, and I appreciate the no-cost corrections PG&E has made across our properties.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 23, 2018 12:32 am

I agree, Eric. Nice and concise.

Gary Wescom
Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 23, 2018 7:06 am

It may simply be a stance the CPUC is requiring them to take.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 23, 2018 9:19 am

On the other hand, if they have stockholders, fiduciary duty requires them to reduce their exposure to such legal action, through any legal means necessary.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 23, 2018 10:26 am

I agree w/Eric, too. Of all people, utilities should know better than to play the “global warming” card. The utility I worked for suffered a massively destructive ice-storm in ~1994, but didn’t make excuses….

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 23, 2018 11:57 am

My first thought was: “Really ? — THEY played the climate card ? — only when it helps their bottom line ? — parsitizing a claim that they consider unfounded ? — a claim, which actually is based on dissing THEIR source of energy? — do they HAVE any integrity?”

Reply to  Ed
February 23, 2018 12:25 am

Nevada is calling. No income tax.

Reply to  joelobryan
February 23, 2018 12:34 am

Yep. I like Texas, too. Just too old to start over.

February 22, 2018 11:14 pm

‘Climate Change’ and ‘Global Warming’s are the ultimate ‘Get out of Jail Free Cards’. They are deployed by dishonest politicians, bureaucrats and big business whenever they are threatened with punishment for their misdeeds. No wonder they are all united in their reverence for and pushing for ‘Global Warming;’ and Climate Change’ legislation to cement the scam in place.

Barry Sheridan
February 22, 2018 11:37 pm

Why are businesses still operating in California. Shut up shop and leave! This will invoke the sort of crisis that politicians cannot avoid as the population is brought face to face with the folly of their own ignorance, lack of realism and interest in electing proper leaders instead of ideological idiots. Apologises to those who are sensible, but they do appear to be a minority in the Golden State.

Reply to  Barry Sheridan
February 23, 2018 12:28 am

The outflow is steady. In 20 years, California will be just shell of what is was in the 1990’s. Parallels with Puerto Rico are coming for Cal.

Reply to  Barry Sheridan
February 23, 2018 9:20 am

Kind of hard for an electric power utility to move to another state.

Melbourne Resident
February 22, 2018 11:57 pm

As usual arrant nonsense with no evidentiary support. My house was one of over 2000 destroyed by black Saturday bushfire in Victoria in 2009. It followed the millennium drought and was a hot and windy day, but the cause was badly maintained power lines that failed and sparked the two worst fires. This was proven in court and we shared in the compensation that paid for our rebuild.

Reply to  Melbourne Resident
February 23, 2018 12:31 am

So it must be assumed that brush-fires never happened in Victoria before your house was built there…
Dumb beyond words.

Reply to  joelobryan
February 23, 2018 5:42 am

I suggest you re-read the post, and the re-read what Melbourne Resident actually wrote. What part of “the cause was badly maintained power lines that failed and sparked the two worst fires. This was proven in court” isn’t clear?

Reply to  joelobryan
February 23, 2018 9:21 am

Proven in court often means that you found a jury that was willing to take money from someone with deep pockets in order to help people the jury decided to help.
Proven in court does not mean it actually happened.

February 23, 2018 12:41 am

The climate change we have been expeirincing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. Extreme weather events are part of our current climate. Wild fires have been taking place in California for eons. It is last years rains that really increased the available fuel and then a dry spell got the additional fuel ready to burn. If such a fire had not been started by downed power lines such a fire would have been started by other means. The weather conditions were not all that unusual but apparently the power lines were not designed to withstand the high winds that did happen. Undergrand lines are inharently safer in terms of starting fires but they are more expensive. Who allowed the power companies to put such dangerous lines in such a fire prone area. Then there are the people building houses in such fire danger areas and not taking adequate precautions and government lets them do it. Many of these situations are desasters waiting to happen. What is the responsibility of government who let it happen. In many of these wild fire prone areas, the question is not whether a fire will happen but when and how bad will it be.

AGW is not Science
Reply to  willhaas
February 23, 2018 12:59 pm

Exactly – and note that “weather” is only “climate” when it’s “bad” weather – otherwise all you’ll hear is crickets.
And if they had a lick of sense (as opposed to a thirst for political campaign contributions from developers looking for “developer friendly” rules), they would restrict all building in wildfire prone areas to non-combustible steel reinforced concrete, including the roofs, which would remain standing and unharmed after each fire moved through, instead of becoming another pile of ashes that helped add to the fuel load.
Same thing applies to all the matchstick houses they allow to be built along the east and gulf coasts, spitting into the wind of the Atlantic hurricane season. Make the requirement steel reinforced concrete construction, including the roofs, and the houses will be undamaged by the highest of winds and (if elevated, as should also be required) the highest of waves/storm surges.
But instead, they keep repeating stupid, and whining about the “climate change” boogyman being the “problem.”

Extreme Hiatus
February 23, 2018 12:53 am

Re: blaming anything on The Warming in California. I’m guessing that’s where the biggest pools of free government money are available, so why not? Blaming Zeus won’t work anymore.

Robert from oz
February 23, 2018 1:05 am

While In Oz we can do fuel reduction burns again I was told it’s almost impossible to do in the states due to green regulation .
Our first inhabitants used fire stick farming to their advantage which apart from many advantages for hunting it also reduced the incidence of catastrophic wild fires .
Regular burning in patches is beneficial to all but the leftoids .

Extreme Hiatus
Reply to  Robert from oz
February 23, 2018 1:27 am

Robert, indigenous hunter-gatherers and farmers in North America used fire too. That is the often forgotten underlying fact of ‘natural forests’ for thousands of years – not as long as Oz – and everything changed when that was stopped. Coastal California is a classic example. The early people there could never have survived with the kind of fuel-loaded infernos they blame on The Warming now. The first Spanish explorers saw fires all along the coast with tons of subsequent historic records. Multiple reasons for burning. Those famous oak groves were one of the products of indigenous fire management (acorns were a staple food).

February 23, 2018 3:03 am

So many houses with flammable roofs built so close together in fire-prone areas are the reason for most of the monetary losses. Something the power companies had no control over.

Roger Knights
Reply to  icisil
February 23, 2018 6:25 am

“So many houses with flammable roofs …”
The law should mandate metal roofs. They’d save the owner money in the long run (fewer re-roofings). They don’t leak (provided pipe vents are securely caulked and/or flashed). They consume fewer resources. They provide some stabilization in an earthquake too.

Peta of Newark
February 23, 2018 5:01 am

A bit OT but still a story epic buck passing. One of bureaucratic bungling brought on by a panic response to an imagined problem, (wilful?) ignorance of Jevon’s Paradox and the Broken Window problem and good intentions.
People’s houses and fire
And just look at the cost of it, cronyism in hyper-drive at Warp factor 10
£30,000 per flat – what is the area of the external wall in one of those flats? 30 or 40 square metres?
Where *do* they think that money is coming from?
How much Natural gas would that buy?
In the wider sense, does it not involve the ‘gathering’ of low value resources followed by the time & energy-intensive processing of said resources.
Resources that they were trying to ‘leave in the ground’
Quite quite insane.

Tom Halla
February 23, 2018 6:46 am

The state government of California wants to blame climate change for the consequences of it’s own wildlands management policy. Forbidding most controlled burns in the interest of reducing air pollution is one policy they should reconsider, as is mostly banning woodburning fireplaces and the collection of deadfall firewood.

February 23, 2018 6:57 am

I don’t think PGE’s climate claim will stand up t scientific scrutiny I posted an essay linking to recent research sowing why climate had nothing to do with the fires and it is mostly an issue of human ignition.
Similarly Jon Keeley from the USGS posted an article and links to their research on California fires stating similar conclusions and that placing power lines underground would help.
Gov. Brown vetoed a bill to help put more power lines underground.
It is typical these days for politicians to blame climate change for their bad decisions

February 23, 2018 7:45 am

“Electric Utilities are apparently claiming climate change is the real culprit” No, envirowackaddodles blocking efforts to clear deadwood and under brush is the real culprit. Look at the records from Spanish settlers in the region, they detail wildfires. How did they deal with it? Building structures with adobe and keeping brush cleared away from their settlements. Where, exactly, is the complicated part of this? Less fire prone building is rather simple, keeping brush and trees cleared away from structures is just as simple. Millions of convicts in Cali, put their a$$es to work clearing brush and deadwood, then shred all that material and use it for paper products. Again, where is the complicated part?

Roger Knights
February 23, 2018 8:15 am

Well, the utilities could blame CO2 for increased greening and foliage, leading to more fuel, leading to worse fires. That would bring CO2
‘s fertilization effect into the public’s awareness.

February 23, 2018 8:20 am

Is there anything the omnipotent “climate change” can’t do? Any plague it cannot summon?

The Original Mike M
February 23, 2018 8:53 am

But then what if the energy that sparked a forest fire came from a wind turbine?

The Original Mike M
Reply to  The Original Mike M
February 23, 2018 8:56 am

Or more directly …comment image

February 23, 2018 9:00 am

Lack of proper forest management is a bigger cause of the rampant wildfires. Leaving the trees to just grow haphazardly is not good forest management.

February 23, 2018 9:04 am

The deleterious governments of British Columbia, be the BC Liberals or the NDP/Green coalition have been harping on climate change to justify water restrictions in summer… while forgetting that population in the Lower Mainland in 30 years has grown by 50% and no new reservoir has been built. Dereliction of duty by various levels of governments is always better blamed on Climate Change… They feel off the hook. But they lie.

Reply to  TomRude
February 23, 2018 12:07 pm

interesting how, right across Canaduh, they only options in EVERY election, provincial, federal, and municipal, are socialist governments. Even the conservatives have changed their names to include the Progressive moniker. They are just Liberal lite.

February 23, 2018 9:10 am

No matter how badly government messes up, leftists will never admit that government is the problem.

Steve C
February 23, 2018 9:29 am

It’s a fine example of how Californian politics sometimes works in ways, um, not necessarily immediately obvious to the rest of us.
Surely most people, if they were in positions of power after (what we used to call) an Act of God would think, “Okay. How can we grease the skids in every way and get this state up and running again?”
But it seems we should be thinking, “Aha! A chance to do even more damage to the state’s infrastructure by bankrupting the power company!” It’s politics, Jim, but not as we know it.

Reply to  Steve C
February 23, 2018 9:58 am

I believe it’s more that when a disaster happens they are looking at ways to increase their personal power and wealth.
The impacts on others just don’t matter to them.

February 23, 2018 10:10 am

I think it is a brilliant defense, not because it is true, but because a conviction would expose the state government and the Governor’s office to some serious problems. The state cannot pass all of those idiotic green laws by citing climate change, then turn around and become ‘climate change deniers’ in order to soak the utility companies.
The utilities are simply aligning themselves with the Governor and legislature, and saying: “If you take us down, we will take you down with us.”
It will likely go to some back room settlement without any embarrassing public court time. The utilities will get a slap on the wrist plus a ‘favor’ to named later, while the politicians proclaim victory!

Neil Jordan
February 23, 2018 10:27 am

Inverse condemnation is in the California Constitution. From Wiki:
Article I, Section 19 of The California Constitution provides the basis for recovery against government entities and public utilities via the theory of inverse condemnation. That section requires that just compensation be paid when private property is taken or damaged for public use.
A legal summary is here:
If water is involved, look up the Paterno Decision (not the state penn Paterno). Cost the state about a half Billion $ dollars.

February 23, 2018 12:52 pm

The powerline maintenance and protection is a thorny issue.
Is the powerline completely on private property owned or leased by the power company?
No doubt there could be problems with transformers and such, but the actual copper wire route seems to be the issue and government and power companies have to cooperate to get you the juice.
Having grown up and now living in “hurricane alley” on our U.S. Gulf coast, the power folks and local governments share the burden of protecting the lines. That’s cause most of the lines use state or city or federal property, and few own their own right-of-way. So we see county/city crews clearing the branches as well as power company and their hired outfits helping out.
We travel a lot away from here and I am always surprised when I see many powerlines running thru trees and such along the highway. I contrast that with our coastal communities that see much mitigation and “clearing” of the powerlines. Government and the power company split the cost most of the time, but I do not have the actual numbers. Up at my Colorado cabin, our IREA does most of the powerline clearing, and the U.S. Forest Service and BLM do squat. Local government is helpful but not many $$$.
So if you want power ya gotta pay for it, and that includes maintenance and keeping the lines clear of tree limbs.
Finally, If we didn’t prevent wildfires the Rocky Mountain beetle infestation would likely be lots less. It is prolly true that warmer winters will help those suckers live thru the winter, but the big deal is less fires, especially for the lodgepole forests. We have owned our cabin for almost 50 years, so my log book has the required 30 years to qualify for “climatic data”. LOL………… Our beetles seem to come in when wind blows them from a hundred or more miles awways. We spot their sap or maybe a tree they killed a year ago and take “extreme prejudice” measures, plus cut down newly infected trees and burn them or cover with the evil plastic covering.

February 23, 2018 1:28 pm

I think they need to do a study to see if the wind turbines are blocking moisture carrying wind currents off of the Pacific. I think it is the wind turbines causing the fires!

February 23, 2018 9:30 pm

Utility companies shouldn’t be penalized when they are forced to contend with “off spec” power from a dozen wind farms with a dozen turbines all operating at different times and producing different quantities of electricity. With this junk power being dumped on the grid is it any surprise that a transformer overheats?
Wind power gives you lots of:
Voltage regulation (magnitude and frequency)
Voltage sags and swells
Harmonics and inter harmonics
Real and reactive power
Sub synchronous resonance issues due to interaction of the electric network and the complex shaft/gear system of the wind turbine.

Russ R.
February 25, 2018 10:14 am

Wildfires are due to “accumulation of fuel”, not source of ignition. When you allow the fuel to accumulate over decades of fire suppression, and no removal of tinder, you will get wildfires. It is just a question of how long you can get away with living in a tinderbox, before it all goes up in flames. And it will usually be on a hot, windy day that it burns.
Better to manage the problem on a cool, calm day, than to fight it under conditions that are out of control.
This is the leaky roof syndrome. On dry days it isn’t leaking, so no incentive to fix it.

Reply to  Russ R.
February 26, 2018 4:47 pm

See, here is the problem! You insist on injecting facts and reality into leftards narrative! Shame on you!!!!! How dare you expect them to live in the real world whe,,,,,, SH*T I busted out laughing before I could finish typing that sentence. Bad dawg, no biscuit!

%d bloggers like this: