Mother Jones Warns Global Warming Will Boost National Flood Insurance Premiums - Misses Point

flood insuranceCredit: Webking: DreamstimeThe Climate Desk over at MJ cites a report done for the Federal Emergency Management Agency that concludes that rising sea levels and harder rains could increase the areas of the United States at risk of floods by up to 45 percent by 2100. Mj reports:

Like previous government reports, it anticipates that sea levels will rise an average of four feet by the end of the century. But this is what's new: The portion of the US at risk for flooding, including coastal regions and areas along rivers, will grow between 40 and 45 percent by the end of the century. That shift will hammer the flood insurance program. Premiums paid into the program totaled $3.2 billion in 2009, but that figure could grow to $5.4 billion by 2040 and up to $11.2 billion by the year 2100, the report found...

...for the program to stay solvent, the average price of policies would need to increase by as much as 70 percent to offset projected losses, according to the FEMA report. That means individual policyholders who now pay an average rate of $560 per year could have to pay as much as $952 per year by 2100.

In its rush to declare a crisis that only benevolent government bureaucrats can solve, MJ characteristically overlooks the fact that there should be no National Flood Insurance Program in the first place. If private insurers think it's too risky for someone to build a house on a plot of land due to the high probability of inundation, then why should taxpayers subsidize their folly?

Second, assuming that the U.S. government does not manage to stop modest economic growth for the next 90 years that would mean that today's per capita GDP of $43,000 growing at 2 percent annually would rise to $255,000 by 2100. It is not unreasonable to think that Americans who would be six times richer in 2100 might be able to afford to pay double for their flood insurance.

And thirdly, let's consider those 4-foot sea level rise projections. Indeed wise climate modelers have managed to tweak their computers into outputting just such data. And who am I to gainsay them? Nevetheless, I can't help noting that a study just last week taking glacier melting and thermal expansion into account in Nature Geoscience found that between 2006 and 2011 sea level rose by 2.4 millimeters per year. Extrapolating that increase for the next 90 years suggests an overall increase of about 212 millimeters by 2100, or just over 8 inches. Interestingly, a 2006 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences came to much the same conclusion.

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  • Marshall Gill||

    Like previous government reports, it anticipates that sea levels will rise an average of four feet

    And yet you still take these people seriously, Ron? One would think that, after the millionth incorrect prediction, all of these propagandists would be out of work. Paul Erlich's continued success is simply more proof that we will never reach Peak Retard.

  • Ron Bailey||

    MG: You did finish the post before you sent this, right?

  • ||

    Psh! Reading is for Kochtopus shills.

  • Marshall Gill||

    I did, Ron. My point is that while this prediction is obviously fantasy, those that are less obvious are still fantasy. This isn't that much different than "we know Global temperatures for the last 1000XXX years" or any of the other AGW claims. Complete bullshit pulled out of someones ass.

    I re-read and still didn't see anything about how you have finally come to your senses on this subject. You do still take some of them seriously, don't you?

  • ||

    I think we have to take the fact that they're saying this stuff seriously, because PEOPLE LISTEN TO THEM. If/when people with power over us stop listening to them, it won't matter. But we're not there yet. Ignoring that people DO listen to this stuff doesn't help move us beyond their meddling.

  • Joe Durnavich||

    Darius is right, Marshall. Global warming proponents aren't just informing us of the science. They are also prescribing policy. There is almost always something like a, "therefore, we have to impose a carbon tax right now" tacked on after the sciency bits.

  • Jerryskids||

    Holy shit! Mother Jones is telling me that if 45% more of the country becomes susceptible to flooding that 45% more of the country will be susceptible to flooding? This changes everything!

  • Anomalous||

    Maybe they're closet fans of Ayn Rand, and are stating that A=A.

  • Tony||

    the fact that there should be no National Flood Insurance Program in the first place

    That's an opinion, not a fact. Why "insure" you against theft or assault by paying for police and courts? You chose to live among other human beings. Why should I have to pay for your folly?

  • Cytotoxic||

    And here is a shithead who doesn't understand what 'insurance' is.

    You chose to live among other human beings. Why should I have to pay for your folly?

    Then don't pay or force others to, shithead.

  • tarran||

    Why should I have to pay for your folly?

    We agree, you shouldn't. Now national Flood Insurance forces you, Tony, to pay for rebuilding the property of people who are foolish enough to build on flood-plains. Abolishing it would, in fact, allow you to stop paying for the folly of those aforementioned fools.

    Glad to see you are joining our ranks. ;)

  • Tony||

    There are various risks in life. Some we "insure" against collectively. Libertarians are OK with this process for some of the risks of life (burglary, assault, foreign invasion). The principle is really the same. Sure not all of us live in floodplains, but not all of us live in a neighborhood with a high risk of burglary either. The mote of consistency that seems to exist in collective insurance programs libertarians are OK with is that human agency is involved in all of them. This is of course a fallacy. Humans and criminality is appropriately thought of just another one of the risks of living in the world. Why floods or medical problems for that matter should be considered inappropriate types of risk to collectivize against isn't necessarily clear.

  • Generic Stranger||

    Insurers aren't going to insure against something that's going to bankrupt them every five years. Floods happen, often, and they cause lots of damage, so private insurers aren't going to take that risk.

    Theft and burglary don't happen all that often, and the damages are small, so insurance companies can make a profit insuring against it. That's how insurance works, shitstain.

    There's no fucking reason we should be insuring people to live in a high risk area that costs taxpayers billions every wet year.

  • Tony||

    I think you're making my argument for me. I'm not talking about home insurance, but the "insurance" provided in the form of law enforcement and paid for by taxes. With no law and order, theft and burglary would indeed be a large, uninsurable problem. In a sense, taxpayers are subsidizing private insurers in that case by paying for the mitigation of most of the risk.

    Government "insures" against precisely those risks that are too large to be handled in a private market.

  • ||

    With no law and order, theft and burglary would indeed be a large, uninsurable problem.

    [Citation needed]

    And the analogy isn't very apt. Not everyone is at risk of floods, but everyone IS at risk for crime. And government's don't provide recompense for damages received as a result of crime, further distinguishing it from insurance (of any sort).

  • Calidissident||

    Yeah, punishing another person for assaulting you or taking your property (and perhaps forcing them to compensate you) is not the same thing as paying you (with taxpayer money) if your house is destroyed by Mother Nature

  • Tony||

    Only if you consider human agency a relevant factor in determining what should constitute collective action.

    It's a strictly moralistic system, meaning it's like religion. What people do is all that matters. What happens to people only matters if somebody does it to them against their will. Why should we ignore natural disasters? What does human agency have to do with the correct application of collective action?

  • ||

    Only if you consider human agency a relevant factor in determining what should constitute collective action.

    Since human agency is the ability to choose, I think that's very relevant when evaluating collective action. Is it not? For example, gang rape is wrong because...

    It's a strictly moralistic system, meaning it's like religion.


    Google "secular ethics." Unless you believe all ethics are like a religion (including any you may have yourself), this statement must be false.

    What people do is all that matters. What happens to people only matters if somebody does it to them against their will.

    This would imply that the only things that matter are what people are forced to do. Is this a strawman of libertarianism, or a vision of the ideal world, according to a Democrat?

    Why should we ignore natural disasters?

    Not wanting to insure floodplains against floods != ignoring natural disasters. People frequently give to charities to help for natural disasters (see Haiti). You seem to have trouble embracing the facts.

    What does human agency have to do with the correct application of collective action?

    A lot. Gang rape is wrong because...

  • Tony||

    Not everyone is at risk of floods, but everyone IS at risk for crime.

    Good, so the argument is government/collective action/social insurance is OK as long as it truly is a collective problem. But not everyone is at risk for crime, at least not equally. Yet we're all taxed the same to pay for the criminal justice system. That's why it's called social insurance. Personal relative risk isn't considered; some problems are considered collective. Is a natural disaster in another state a nationally collective problem? I guess it's debatable, but I don't see why not. Few of us live in a state without risk of natural disaster. As hypocrites like Tom Coburn should have found out, maybe it's best if we cover coastal hurricanes so that those (much richer, btw) states will help cover our tornadoes.

  • ||

    Tony:

    Yet we're all taxed the same to pay for the criminal justice system. That's why it's called social insurance.

    The criminal justice system does not satisfy the definition of social insurance. You need a better embrace of the facts.

    I guess it's debatable, but I don't see why not.

    Reality is not limited by what you can and cannot see. Your arguments from ignorance are more fallacious than anything you've tried to pin onto libertarians. You see no differences where clear differences exist, claim that libertarians are fallacious for preferring one over the other, and then argue from ignorance. How compelling.

  • Joe Durnavich||

    Tony, if few of us live in a state without risk of natural disaster, then normal private insurance could cover the cost of the damages because of the large number of people choosing to insure against those risks. I suspect, however, you would find that state of affairs unsatisfactory because it lacks the element of force, specifically, forcing people to buy insurance.

  • Joe Durnavich||

    So, Tony, are you suggesting that the Miami police force helps me up here in the Chicago area?

  • LarryA||

    the "insurance" provided in the form of law enforcement
    That's a strange kind of "insurance." The police aren't obligated to protect you as an individual. If you are robbed or burglarized the government won't replace your property or pay your medical bills. The proper vehicle to cover those losses is commercial, individually-purchased policies.

    A better example of government's role is to fund flood-control projects that would minimize the problem, which still isn't "insurance."

  • Gilbert Martin||

    The police department is not an insurance program.

    And that's all that needs to be said to prove you wrong.

  • DJK||

    I think Tony's making the argument for private defense agencies. Glad to see you making some sense for once, Tony.

  • ||

    Tony:

    There are various risks in life. Some we "insure" against collectively. Libertarians are OK with this process for some of the risks of life (burglary, assault, foreign invasion). The principle is really the same.

    Actually, no. If a Libertarian buys life insurance, he's mitigating a risk with a collective (i.e., with all the other people who also bought life insurance with the company). That's very different from claiming that law enforcement and military force are an insurance product, as other people have already pointed out. You're coerced to pay for it, there's no compensation for loss, no premium refunds for lost coverage, etc.

    The mote of consistency that seems to exist in collective insurance programs libertarians are OK with is that human agency is involved in all of them. This is of course a fallacy. Why floods or medical problems for that matter should be considered inappropriate types of risk to collectivize against isn't necessarily clear.

    You seem to be confusing collectivization with government coercion. Don't worry: progressives make this mistake all the time. You might figure it out before you die.

    People can and do choose to buy flood, health, and crime insurance (i.e., home insurance, car insurance, etc.), and libertarians are not against that. They're against coercion. You are a flamethrower in a room full of your own straw men.

  • Joe Durnavich||

    Communities form police and legal institutions not so much to socialize the costs, but to minimize the use of force. Rather than have people shoot the teens that throw beer cans on their lawns, we let the police department have the monopoly on coercion.

  • ||

    $

  • ReganT||

    As someone who lives about a mile from the beaches on the MS Gulf Coast, I wish there were no such thing as NFIP. Almost 8 years ago Hurricane Katrina tore us a new one. Since then many people who weren't in a flood zone before were now faced with the situation of having to buy into the NFIP before they could rebuild their homes. Most of the people who were already living in a flood zone still have not rebuilt due to the cost of insurance. I doubt they will ever come back. So I guess the high price of flood insurance has at least made some people make wiser choices as to where they dwell. Others, however, will have to pay high premiums because of a hurricane that we will probably (fingers crossed) never see the likes of again.

    Now, can I build a home on top of an active volcano and force all of you suckers to take on some of my risk? Y'all don't mind, do ya?

  • Redmanfms||

    Now, can I build a home on top of an active volcano and force all of you suckers to take on some of my risk? Y'all don't mind, do ya?

    Spaces doesn't seem to mind.

  • WomSom||

    Dude seems to know whcih way is up I think?

    www.AnonGots.tk

  • ||

    I have responded to these kinds of posts before.

    The fact is that there are already numerous places in the world that are prone to dire climatic events like hurricanes, tornadoes=es etc.

    These places were already at risk. It is not like the NY-NJ area never had a "superstorm". New Orleans has always been in the path of a possible "Katrina" (not that Katrina was the worst storm that NO could have).

    The AGW advocates are talking as though absent me driving my El Dorado no one in Banglagesh would ever haven't to be worried about drowning in a cyclone is nonsense. Banglagesh needs to build storm proof infrastructure now. So does NYC and NO. Or else people who don't want to pay for it or prepare for it need to move. As do people in NYC or the Jersey shore.

    It has nothing to do with "global warming", it's a fact of life.

    Now, Bloomy's pricetag of $29B might be excessive, but sorry kids civil works of these kinds are expensive even without union wages. The rich can afford to live on the beach.

    The rest of us need to live inland and to stop subsidizing the rich fucks that live on the coast.

  • Tony||

    Yes by now at-risk places need to be preparing. But since you, I, and the fossil fuel industries caused the increase in risk to those places, why shouldn't we help cover the cost?

  • ||

    Bullshit, Toady!

    The fact is that all of these places have always been at risk.

    We had a half century of benign weather from 1940-90 and thirty years of super-benign weather 1950-1980 during which time developers (with government subsidies) added huge populations to coastal zones.

    It was your team that created "FLOOD INSURANCE" because they thought that insurance premiums that reflected actual risk were unfair "to the workers".

    Of course, in the end, subsidies like this are only advantageous to coupon-clippers like you.

  • ||

    ...they thought that insurance premiums that reflected actual risk were unfair "to the workers".


    Of course, given a choice "the workers" would have bought inland properties. Flood insurance made them believe that they could afford properties on the coast.

  • Rrabbit||

    The predicted sea level rise depends on location. To evaluate the risk, you need to look at the predicted local sea level rise along the US coast, rather than merely apply some world wide average sea level rise.

  • kurt kramer||

    6th Grade Arithmetic Problem
    (e.g. 6th Grade “Reasoning”)

    Antartica: 5.4 M sq miles with an average glacier
    depth 1.25 miles

    Greenland: .83M sq miles with an average glacier depth
    1.5 miles

    Total cubic miles of glacier on earth:
    5.4M X 1.25 + .83M X 1.5 = 8M cu. Miles

    Total area of the oceans:
    140 M sq miles

    Sea level rise if all ice on earth melts:
    5280 ft X (8M cu mi / 140M sq mi) = 302 ft

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