Amid decades of feckless leadership from Washington on climate change, the leadership of the nation’s largest state has been invaluable. Unfortunately, while California may be ahead of curve in engaging with climate science, its politicians can be just as prone as others to pretending there are no painful trade-offs.
Case in point is state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who issued a Jan. 4 report highlighting that property insurers in California are pulling back from offering coverage in areas at high risk of wildfire. This is a predictable response to the kinds of conflagrations that caused more than $10 billion in insurance claims in 2017. It also underscores the vulnerability of human settlement to changing climate patterns, particularly for the 3.6 million California homes that lie in the “wildland-urban interface.”