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PG&E crews in Santa Cruz, Calif., as the CZU August Lightning Complex fire burns on Aug., 22. Photo: Karl Mondon/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

California power giant Pacific Gas & Electric is imposing intentional outages to prevent extreme weather from igniting new wildfires in the state already facing widespread blazes.

Driving the news: The company announced shut-offs Monday night expected to affect 172,000 customers in parts of 22 counties and tribal communities.

  • The utility cited forecasts through Wednesday morning of "widespread, severely dry conditions and strong, gusty winds that create critical fire weather with high ignition risk."
  • However, the company said distributed generation and other tactics will allow about 69,000 customers and several medical facilities to maintain power.
  • More than 500,000 people overall could be impacted, per WSJ.

The big picture: The new outages are just the latest woes in a state facing a brutal summer of extreme heat and bad fires.

  • The state's grid manager imposed rolling blackouts last month amid high demand, but was able to avoid repeating that step in recent days as it urged people to ease consumption.

Why it matters: Beyond the immediate danger and misery, the state is feeling the effects of climate change, which worsens extreme heat and also is one of the forces fueling western wildfires.

What they're saying: The Washington Post writes, "Michael Wehner, who researches extreme weather events at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, estimates 'climate change has caused extreme heat waves to be 3 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer in California.'"

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Amy Harder, author of Generate
Jun 1, 2020 - Energy & Environment
Column / Harder Line

Your guide to comparing climate change and coronavirus

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Climate change and the coronavirus have a lot more in common than the letter C, but their differences explain society’s divergent responses to each.

Why it matters: The Internet is full of comparisons, some from biased perspectives. I'm going to try to cut through the noise to help discerning readers looking for objective information.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.