LA Times article labeled ‘peak climate idiocy’ after floating ‘occasional blackout’ for ‘the greater good’

One user surmised that the Los Angeles Times was finally saying 'the quiet part out loud'

Social media users are criticizing the Los Angeles Times for a piece that wondered whether tackling climate change would be easier and less expensive if people accepted the occasional electrical grid blackout. 

In a Thursday Los Angeles Times piece, writer Sammy Roth questioned what is more critical, "Keeping the lights on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, or solving the climate crisis?"

Last week, lawyers representing the Sierra Club and the California city of Glendale provided arguments over whether to continue operations on a gas-fired power plant located across the Los Angeles River. The city has argued the plant is needed to avoid blackouts and catastrophes for its nearly 200,000 residents. 

The Times opined that the courtroom contention is a "highly technical dispute" and part of a larger conversation about how much "blackout risk" is considered "acceptable" in society. Additionally, the piece questioned if society's expectations should "evolve" in the name of "preventing climate catastrophe." 


la times article labeled peak climate idiocy after floating occasional blackout for the greater good

The Otay Mesa Energy Center, a natural-gas fired, air-cooled power plant, in Otay Mesa, California, U.S., on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020.  (Photographer: Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Experts have previously told Fox News Digital that California's electric grid faces years of potential blackouts and failure as state leaders continue pushing aggressive measures to transition to renewable energy sources. The state's grid, which is still mainly powered by fossil fuels, is shifting significantly from natural gas and coal to renewable power like wind and solar.

As part of his research, Roth asked Twitter users whether society could start cutting gas sooner and save money by "accepting a few more blackouts" over the next several years. 

"Of the hundreds of people who responded to my question, most rejected the idea that more power outages are even remotely acceptable — for reasons beyond mere convenience," Roth admitted.

For example, a former member of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's board of commissioners, Aura Vasquez, told Roth that "someone dies every time we have a power outage."


la times article labeled peak climate idiocy after floating occasional blackout for the greater good

This Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021 file photo shows power lines in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Similarly, John Moura, director of reliability assessment and performance analysis at North American Electric Reliability Corp., said blackouts are "not really about keeping the light on."

"It's about keeping people alive," he said. 

Despite these concerns, Roth said he has increasingly concluded that solving climate issues will "require sacrifices" to provide for "the greater good." Such sacrifices, he hypothesized, could include driving less, eating less meat, accepting large-scale solar farms that will destroy some wildlife habitat and eating the cost of expensive rooftop paneling. 

"Maybe learning to live with more power outages shouldn't be one of those sacrifices. But at the same time, we might not have a choice," he added. 


la times article labeled peak climate idiocy after floating occasional blackout for the greater good

A still image pauses the onslaught of warmer temperatures in NASA and NOAA data summarizing global climate changes. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

Many social media users ridiculed the piece for considering the idea of orchestrated blackouts to curtail climate change. 

Rebutting the train of thought, media strategist and journalist Gabriella Hoffman wrote, "Ironically, it is actually net-zero policies - or decarbonization pushes - that lead to grid instability, energy insecurity, and blackout."

Junk Science Founder Steve Milloy called the article "peak climate idiocy."

Energy-related public policy analyst David Blackmon claimed the article was part of a "propaganda campaign" designed to "condition" people to believe they have no choice but to live with and accept frequent blackouts. He also suggested the LA Times was finally saying "the quiet part out loud."

"This is classic religious cult propaganda," Blackmon added. "We have seen it a thousand times down through history. And it appears the entirety of our legacy media is totally down with it."

Climate analyst Ryan Maue also weighed in on the article with a simple "yikes!"

Fox News' Thomas Catenacci contributed to this report. 

Nikolas Lanum is an associate editor for Fox News Digital.

Authored by Nikolas Lanum via FoxNews July 21st 2023