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Extremist rhetoric

22 May 2024 | News Roundup

The latest climate alarmist “Gotcha” is that, as Canada’s state-funded CBC put it, “The increasing frequency of extreme weather events across the country has caused the sums paid out annually for catastrophic insurance claims to explode – and annual payouts for the last four years now rank among the ten largest on record, says a new Statistics Canada study.” There’s a whole lot wrong with this claim, starting with the fact that extreme weather events are not becoming more frequent across Canada so they can hardly explain an upward trend in payouts (or anything else). Instead there is more stuff on the ground, and more valuable stuff, for them to damage when they do hit. The failure to adjust damages for the growing size of the economy when tallying up insured losses then blaming it all on climate change has been lambasted many times by Roger Pielke Jr., most recently in a new peer-reviewed article debunking the alarmist government agency NOAA’s highly-touted media-friendly “billion dollar disaster” tally. This alarmist jiggery pokery just won’t die, but let’s put yet another stake through it.

As we showed in our video on urban flooding in July 2019, “It’s Not About Climate”, there has been no increase in extreme rainfall in Canada since 1950, and no increase worldwide going back (in some places where records permit) since the 1700s. What there has been is an increase in paving floodplains, creating terrible runoff problems. So yes, it’s man-made. But not the weather. The cement and asphalt pools in which we build our homes and wonder why they’re wet.

And another thing. Two months later, in September 2019, we did a video “Insurance and Climate Change“ because of (wait for it) a panicky newspaper column about how climate change was driving up insurance costs. In that video we showed an image of a bucolic area northwest of Toronto in 1959 that by 1992 was already heavily urbanized. We also cited, of all outfits, the IPCC saying that there had not been an increase in flooding in Canada or the U.S. due to climate change. Nor is there more rainfall. In their most recent report the IPCC said  “In Canada, there is a lack of detectable trends in observed annual maximum daily (or shorter duration) precipitation” (p. 1560). What there was, and is, remains an increase in flooding due to poor land management by governments that then duck responsibility.

If all this comes as a surprise we have to mention our February 2022 video on how people were conditioned to link flooding to climate change despite the total lack of evidence that any of the causes of flooding other than bad land management have increased. This scare is old news, and bad news.

CBC was not alone in jumping on the extreme payout bandwagon. CTV also says:

“The increasing rate of natural disasters like wildfires, frigid cold and hurricanes is leaving many Canadians and their insurers forking out billions of dollars, according to a new study from Statistics Canada.”

And once again the intrepid skeptical journalists now responsible for the dwindling audience and revenue of once-mighty media outfits do not bother to research whether extreme weather is becoming more common or more severe. Instead they interview the “vice-president of climate change and federal issues” at the Insurance Bureau of Canada for a totally disinterested take on the matter.

Speaking of the IBC, it’s worth noting that the Bureau’s big takeaway on the matter is the need for (wait for it) government subsidies. Specifically a promised “national flood insurance program” that the Trudeau Liberals predictably promised then failed to produce, “deliverology” being one of their great weaknesses. Not that the IBC has a dog in the fight, you understand. Just a hat out.

On another page on their website, the IBC hollers:

“Climate change is a threat to our shared future. But it’s also having a serious and growing impact on our safety and our communities today. More and bigger floods, wildfires, hailstorms, and windstorms – influenced by our changing climate – are costing billions and putting people and property at risk…. In the decade since the catastrophic floods of 2013 in Alberta and Ontario, Canada’s insurers have stepped up to protect Canadians from the growing effects of climate change.”

You fine people. How disinterested. Except they then yap on endlessly about flooding and it’s very clear from all sorts of data that flooding is not getting worse. Its impacts are, due to bad municipal planning, and the industry wants money money money from you you you via the government government government.

Speaking of disinterested, in several of our videos we mentioned the tendency of the press to seek commentary from the “Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation” without dwelling on its being embedded in the University of Waterloo but funded by … Canada’s largest property insurance firm. And sure enough, the CTV story presents a totally unbiased and disinterested assessment of the fact that “Extreme weather events are going to get more extreme going forward” from the totally unbiased and disinterested… Blair Feltmate of the… um… Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation (as well as a long-time government insider), whose funding source CTV unaccountably failed to mention. Perhaps it is only climate alarmist skeptics who are liable to be tainted by money.

It’s also interesting that the Bureau lists a series of “Severe Weather Events in 2023” that starts with the “Atlantic Canada cold snap” of February 3-5. Of course they say “snap”, we no longer have cold spells or waves or periods, just “snaps”, brief interruptions of the warming trend. But we are meant to think that this cold is the result and proof of global warming although to be fair there is nothing climate change cannot do including make cold that’s heat. And a good thing too because the next item is “Ontario and Quebec spring ice storm” of April 5-6. More proof of warming.

Then we get fires, summer storms, flooding, more fires and a hailstorm in Winnipeg in August, where ice fell from the sky in midsummer due to… warming. But as we have repeatedly demonstrated, notwithstanding Canada’s bad wildfire season in 2023, the overall trend here has been down for decades. And the United States had a very quiet wildfire season in 2023 so again unless global warming affects different parts of the global in opposite ways, no sensible person would blame Canada’s fluke wildfire season on anything but bad luck, bad forest management or both.

If you look at the Bureau’s list of the “Top 10 Highest Insured Severe-Weather Loss Years on Record” adjusted for inflation, the worst is 2016, nearly a decade ago now, followed by 2013 which is more than a decade ago, and was driven by urban flooding and an ice storm. Then you get 2022 and 2023 and other years going back to 1998. And it’s worth noting that the worst year, 2016, saw $5.96 billion in claims, whereas 2017 isn’t even on the Top 10 list, 2018 clocks in at $2.40 billion, and 2019 is absent. The 10th-highest, 2012, is just $1.65 billion. So the numbers jump around a lot rather than showing a clear trend. Except the trend that as the nation gets richer and more dumbly urban, a lot of stuff gets hit by the rain we have always had and always will have.

One line in the StatCan study that triggered the CBC story that didn’t catch the eye of journalists is that in the latest “Annual Risk Outlook” from Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions:

“climate risk is mentioned as one of several key financial system risks. Companies face not only physical risks from weather events, but additional risks as Canada transitions to a low-carbon economy, a shift that could worsen traditional risks such as credit, market, insurance and operations.”

In short, the “energy transition” is extremely dangerous to our financial institutions. And yes, it is getting worse. Unlike the weather, though very much like the journalism.

5 comments on “Extremist rhetoric”

  1. The BBC are banging on again this morning about the same thing. Doesn't anyone ever check the factual record? If it's not true, it's a novel, not a textbook.
    Incidentally, the BBC ascribed yesterday's Singapore turbulence event as "climate change". .......

  2. These insurance companies love the alarmist hysteria.It gives them an excuse to raise your premiums.And if you're insured with Intact,you're probably
    paying too much for insurance.I was with them,but they kept jacking up my premium every renewal.So I shopped around and found another insurer and
    saved nearly 40%!Apples for apples same coverage.

  3. Carbon dioxide as the primary cause of climate change is a very bad guess that needs to be put to bed. There is no strong evidence that it has a significant effect on climate other than by global greening (cooling effect) or increased humidity (possible warming but where is the data.) I am happy to see, John, that you at least give a moment to human caused climate change.
    What is missing from the discussion is micro, mini, macro and global climates as a whole. The lower end of this scale is highly influenced by human activity while the changes by human activity to the upper end may not even be within a range of accurate detection. Each range is influenced by the ones below it on the scale.
    Every gardener is aware of special climatic conditions in spots or landscaping around their property that provide special climatic conditions or micro climates. Some are even controlled.
    Mini climates include urban heat islands that most are probably aware of. A rather extreme manifestation of a human created climatic situation.
    Then there are regional climate zones which range from wild areas free from most human influence to developed and agricultural areas.
    The global climate is the the most obvious and misdirected concern. Even if there was agreement as to the dangers there is no possibility of coordinated action. There is no indication that emissions can be controlled and no evidence that it would have any affect.
    What is obvious is that the most impact an individual or group could have is in the modification of their immediate surroundings including their homes.
    Reduce your emissions if you must but be aware that there many other options to adapt your environment to perceived dangers.

  4. Blaming higher insurance losses due to weather events (climate change to some) is like saying that higher losses due to car accidents is a reason to drop speed limits to 25 MPH on interstates, denying that the coats of vehicles (new and used) have increased dramatically and I'm sure that insurance to cover them is outrageous as well. Given that housing prices are going through the roof (no pun intended) its no wonder that insurance losses have skyrocketed during weather events.

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