Will It Work?


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PG&E, the giant west coast power utility, is wrapping itself in climate change.  Its CEO is saying the company can't be held to strict liability for fires resulting from its power lines because the climate has become drier and hotter.  If the utility were to pay claims from recent fires, which destroyed structures and took lives, it would be on the hook for $75 billion, far more than the balance sheet can handle.  One could be cynical about this outlook, but California's firefighting officials have made the same point.  We are entering an era when a company's messages will have to reconcile a changed world with economic transactions.  PG&E is in the vanguard despite denial from the government that climate change is occurring.