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The Editors

The Simple Lesson of the Texas Blackouts

Climate change demands resilience — and the costs of inaction will only grow over time.

The view from Austin.

The view from Austin.

Photographer: Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

The details of what went wrong in Texas this week — most likely the biggest forced blackout in U.S. history — will take time to establish. So will exactly what to do about it. But this emergency already underlines something that should’ve been obvious before. As the growing threat of extreme weather puts vital economic systems at risk, climate resilience needs to be taken much more seriously.

As of early Friday morning, nearly 190,000 homes were still without power as Texas grappled with an unusual weather pattern that sent temperatures plummeting and demand for energy soaring. With the local grid overwhelmed, officials resorted to rolling blackouts that at one point left millions without heat or clean water and led to at least 20 deaths. President Joe Biden has declared an emergency and federal regulators have launched an investigation.