The Podcast: America’s power grids are no match for climate change

The Podcast

The Podcast: America’s power grids are no match for climate change

Share on

U.S. power grids are outdated and dominated by monopolistic private utilities. Without long-term change, we could see more blackouts and huge economic damage as the weather gets hotter and storms get worse, says Milo McBride, who recently wrote an in-depth report about the issue. Plus: Paris falls short of its namesake agreement, and the coup in Myanmar has surprising significance to the climate economy. (News brief at minute 0:38. Interview at 1:26. Commentary at 16:50.)


In this episode…

  • Before the interview, host Jared Downing gives a news update about a recent ruling by a court in France that the country’s government isn’t doing enough to meet its Paris Agreement goals.


  • Next, Jared speaks with Milo McBride about power grids. After a century of deregulation, America’s power industry is dominated by a handful of major utilities, he explains. This has left the grids overcentralized, meaning large and lengthy blackouts for comparatively small damage. The situation is already battering the industry, with companies like Entergy and PG&E struggling to stay afloat. The solution, he continues, lies in modern infrastructure, more municipal control over power, and federal backing for power reform.


  • Finally, Jared discusses this week’s military coup in Myanmar and the country’s role in the climate economy. Myanmar’s economic future depends on its fossil fuel industry, especially with China’s help. But, as an agricultural nation, it is also extremely vulnerable to climate change. The country is a prime example of the role of small economies in the climate war.

Written by

Jared Downing

Jared Downing is managing editor of Climate & Capital Media. Before Climate&Capital, he spent five years in Yangon, Myanmar, producing the human rights podcast Doh Athan and producing features, columns, and cartoons for Frontier Myanmar, that country's leading English language magazine. Prior to that, he was a freelance writer in Birmingham Alabama, focusing on city culture and social justice.