A Flooded Condition Transcript
Whenever a bad weather event strikes, media and politicians immediately attribute it to climate change.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a tornado, flood, wildfire, a hurricane or any other type of natural event that we’ve experienced countless times before. Or whether experts have said many times previously that there isn’t a known connection to climate change. Or even whether it happened somewhere else a few years earlier, was hyped as proof positive of global warming, and then things went back to normal there. Whenever an extreme weather event happens anywhere in the world, people immediately look at it and say… climate change.
The response is automatic and unconscious. Which should be a clue about what’s really going on.
We’ve been conditioned.
Probably not, but that’s because you aren’t one of Ivan Pavlov’s dogs who in a famous set of experiments a hundred years ago were conditioned to salivate and feel hungry when they heard a metronome.
Yes, I know, he famously used a bell. But he actually didn’t.
He used harmoniums, electric shocks and, yes, a metronome. And his experiments revealed the principle of a conditioned reflex, where you can make the brain connect two completely different things just by repeating the paired events often enough. Which is precisely what has happened to the public with climate change.
People have been told over and over and over that whenever a bad weather event happens it’s climate change. And at least some of us have been conditioned, particularly journalists and politicians, and can’t help themselves but assume all weather events are due to climate change, even when most people know it doesn’t make sense because we always had weather and it was often a problem.
So if you’re tired of feeling like you’re the unwitting subject of a psychology experiment, stick around for a Climate Discussion Nexus Backgrounder on Pavlov’s Floods.
As we’ve reported in previous videos, climate experts do not claim with any degree of consensus that flooding is increasing or that climate change is causing them to become bigger or more common. On the contrary, in 2012, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose inflammatory summaries are often further twisted by non-experts into a chorus of doom, actually said
“In the United States and Canada during the 20th century and in the early 21st century, there is no compelling evidence for climate-driven changes in the magnitude or frequency of floods”
The same year two scientists at the US Geological Survey published a study on long term streamflow records at 200 sites across the USA in which they specifically tested for evidence of trends due to global mean carbon dioxide (GMCO2) levels, and they concluded:
“In none of the four regions defined in this study is there strong statistical evidence for flood magnitudes increasing with increasing Global Mean Carbon Dioxide.”
In 2013 the IPCC, again, said:
In summary, there continues to be a lack of evidence and thus low confidence regarding the sign of trend in the magnitude and/or frequency of floods on a global scale.
In 2019 Environment and Climate Change Canada looked at precipitation records and concluded we aren’t getting more extreme rainfall than we did before:
The observational record has not yet shown evidence of consistent changes in short-duration precipitation extremes across the country.
Or in plain English, it's not raining any harder than it used to. And it hardly needs to be said that Environment and Climate Change Canada is a consistently alarmist body. But even they admit it. And the newest IPCC report, from 2021, says
[There] are studies in regions of almost all continents that generally indicate intensification of sub-daily extreme precipitation, although confidence in an overall increase at the global scale remains very low… In Canada, there is a lack of detectable trends in observed annual maximum daily (or shorter duration) precipitation.
Get the picture? At least here in Canada, and many other places as well, scientists have looked at the issue and concluded there is no known connection between climate change and flooding, nor is extreme precipitation getting worse at all, let alone because of man-made CO2.
That qualification matters because greenhouse gases and rainfall may have as much to do with each other as, say, a metronome does with dog food. Which is what made Pavlov’s experiments so interesting. He paired two unrelated events, like the sound of a metronome and servings of food for the dogs in his laboratory. Soon the dogs started to salivate every time they heard the metronome, even when they couldn’t see any sign that food was coming.
Classical Conditioning is a very powerful psychological procedure. And once you’ve put someone through it, they start to respond automatically. Even if they know it doesn’t make sense, it’s hard to resist. Someone once even conditioned rats to… no, never mind.
Instead, think of all the times that reports about extreme weather have been accompanied by claims that “experts say” it’s due to climate change. It’s happened so often that we’ve been conditioned. Now, you don’t even need them to mention climate change anymore. When a thunderstorm or a heavy rainfall passes by, many people think to themselves “hmmm: climate change.”
If you’re among them, congratulations. You’ve been conditioned. Which I realize is less common among our regular viewers than among our critics. But there are a lot of innocent onlookers who’ve also had the experiment run on them, and then with that conditioning in place, the next step is to create a reflex for them to demand that politicians come and save them from climate change by raising our taxes or rearranging the economy.
So let’s try to deprogram ourselves by looking back at how bad weather was talked about before the climate change metronome started that relentless ticking.
We’re going to go way back here, at least in the way that terms like “ever” are used by climate breakdown proponents. We’re going back all the way to 1986.
Like most years in Canada, 1986 had a string of weather disasters.
That year, Quebec lost nearly 200,000 hectares to forest fires, more than five times its annual average.
On May 14, a surprise snowstorm paralyzed the province of Alberta
On July 19, the North Saskatchewan River rose 10 meters and flooded the City of Edmonton.
And on September 10, heavy rains swept across Michigan, crossed Lake Huron and hit Southwestern Ontario, dumping 6 inches of rain in just over 24 hours.
Towns along the Saugeen River, which flows northwest through the region and drains into Lake Huron, experienced major flooding.
Newspaper reports at the time recorded the reactions of the people in the towns hit by the flooding. People were amazed at the amount of water that came down, they were relieved the damage wasn’t worse than it was, and they expressed specific concerns that the stormwater system wasn’t quite up to the challenge.
In Hanover, for instance, one resident specifically called upon the municipality to look at a bottleneck along 12th Avenue where three drainage lines collected through a single 29 inch opening. Now there’s an informed citizen.
Informed about something real, I might add. Because what’s remarkable, and refreshing, in all this coverage is what’s missing.
No one mentioned climate change. No one would even have thought about it, because the flooding took place long before the modern warming scare. No one had yet undergone the Pavlovian conditioning that would train them robotically to blame it on global warming, or climate change, or climate breakdown. Because their brains weren’t gummed up with conditioned responses, people could think sensibly about what had happened and what to do about it.
They didn’t make ridiculous suggestions like demanding people stop driving cars or heating their homes, and they didn’t ask the government to fix the weather by raising their taxes on energy or on everything. They asked the government to fix the sewers.
Back then people recognized that floods are rare but recurring natural events, and the best way to deal with that reality is to make sure there are enough places for the water to go that it doesn’t wash away the town.
Ahhh, life before Pavlovian Conditioning scrambled our brains.
It’s not too late to break the conditioning. The first step is to realize that it’s happened. Conditioning isn’t persuasion. No one gave you evidence proving that bad weather events are all caused by climate change, any more than Pavlov convinced his dogs that metronomes filled their supper dishes.
In fact the people who study it have been expressing doubts about the connection for years. But because journalists and politicians have ticked and tocked about climate change every time extreme weather happens, people have come to assume the two must be linked.
As a matter of fact, journalists and politicians ended up conditioning themselves as much as the rest of us. Possibly a lot more so. They certainly seem unable to help it now. Point them to a thunderstorm or even a gust of wind and they’ll go glassy-eyed and say Must. Be. Climate. Change. And then they start to salivate at the clicks, or taxes, they’re about to get.
So the answer is to turn off the metronome, electroshock, retweets or whatever the conditioning stimulus is and start thinking. Don’t let anyone mindlessly invoke climate change when some bad weather event happens. Look for logic and real data. And if anyone wants to push for public policy responses, focus on simple effective ideas that actually solve real-world problems.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting hungry. And a one and a two…
And for the Climate Discussion Nexus I’m John Robson.