"It's clear that Sandy, Hurricane Irene, and the October ice storm represents extreme weather events that have become commonplace."
Who said that? Ralph Izzo, the chief executive officer of Public Service Enterprise Group, Inc., the parent of the NJ utility PSE&G, as quoted in yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer. Climate change is here and now!
And what does Ralph Izzo propose to do about the climate change that has already arrived? For sure, he is no ostrich with his head in the sand. Instead, Izzo is the first utility executive in America to my knowledge that seeks to spend billions to deal with the reality of climate change.
Izzo wants to invest an incredible $3.9 billion that will be repaid by ratepayers with a return on investment to change fundamentally the grid in the PSE&G utility service territory. Miles of cable in key areas would be put underground. Equipment would be raised to prevent it from being inundated by sea surges and flood water. Poles would be strengthened to withstand higher wind speeds.
All that investment is to be better able to keep the lights on in an already changed climate, with even higher temperatures and seas on the way. No matter the ridiculous denial of climate change, businesses and families cannot tolerate being plunged into the dark for days, weeks, even months by the wind and water of more frequent big storms.
Sitting in the dark and cold is not an acceptable option. The costs of doing nothing are much higher than the costs of preparing for bigger storms. The costs of doing nothing are also much higher than the costs of reasonable prevention--reducing heat trapping gas pollution in smart ways.
PSE&G's $3.9 billion grid hardening investment proves the climate change bill has arrived, and it is expensive.