Before the catastrophic Camp Fire destroyed Paradise, Calif., the Pacific Gas and Electric Company was worth more than $25 billion. Now it’s C.E.O. has stepped down and the company, which provides natural gas and electricity to 16 million people in California, has filed for bankruptcy as it confronts billions of dollars in potential liability claims following recent wildfires. It is perhaps not the first bankruptcy in which the changing climate played a role, but it is almost certainly the largest. And no doubt, it won’t be the last. Of course, it’s not easy to attribute any particular event to climate change, and it will take time to sort out all of the causes of the Camp Fire last November, add up the damages and assess liability. Last week, in a small bit of good news for the company, the state concluded that PG&E was not responsible for the 2017 Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County that burned nearly 37,000 acres, destroyed more than 5,600 buildings and left 22 dead. But the company says it still faces “extensive litigation, significant potential liabilities and a deteriorating financial situation” following the “devastating and unprecedented wildfires of 2017 and 2018.” Many fires in recent years… Read full this story
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