The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which provides unrealistically cheap flood insurance to high-risk property owners is experiencing a disaster of its own making — a balance sheet that is $24 billion under water.
The planned bailout solution will remap flood zones based upon hypothetical sea level rise projections to spread premiums rather than penalize high-risk flood-prone development.
A Biggert-Waters bill passed in 2012 was intended to get FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) out of the red by mandating that the agency establish more realistic pricing in keeping with about double the “actuarial” rates charged by private companies.
The strategy was to discourage homeowners and developers from rebuilding in active flood zones, in part due to cut-rate incentives afforded in about one-fifth of FEMA policies.
So in 2013 FEMA did exactly that, phasing in higher premiums which were often thousands of dollars higher — most particularly for second homes and properties which have subsequently changed hands.
This led to a different sort of FEMA disaster as disgruntled property owners flooded their congressional representatives with angry calls.
That tidal wave of protests led to an emphasis upon Plan B.
Buried in the 63 pages of the Biggert-Waters bill was a provision requiring that a sea level rise (SLR) component be added to future coastal and flood maps to reassess flood zone designations and risk categories.
Whereas these maps were previously based upon the last 100 years of historic data, they were now to be adjusted by a national committee called the Technical Mapping Advisory Council (TMAC) which would determine which data sources should be used.
Last October TMAC made their official recommendations — and that’s where it gets into hot water. A key source will be the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and its SLR data will be heavily based upon wildly speculative global warming scenarios.
NOAA recently released a report that downwardly adjusted previous ocean temperature records in order to make global changes between 1998 and 2012 appear much warmer.
This was accomplished by throwing out global-coverage satellite-sensed sea surface measurements taken since the late 1970s — the best data available — and upwardly adjusting spotty and unreliable hit-and-miss temperature readings taken from oceangoing vessels.
NOAA’s “corrections” to suggest warming between a huge 1998 El Niño another big one last year contradict data provided by a large integrated network of Argo ocean buoys operated by the British Oceanographic Data Center in combination with satellite-enhanced data which reveal no statistically significant warming.
House Science Committee Chairman Smith has expressed strong suspicion that the real purpose of NOAA’s report was to push President Obama’s political agenda.
In 2012 NOAA projected “with very high confidence” (greater than 90 percent chance) that the global mean sea level will rise at a huge possible range of at least 8 inches and no more than 6.6 feet by 2100.
The lowest scenario is based upon historic rates, with the highest assuming a maximum plausible contribution of ice sheet loss and glacial melting due to ocean warming.
Bear in mind that sea levels have been steadily rising in at the rate of about 4-8 inches per century over the past 150 years, with no significant acceleration over the past half-century.
Even according to the latest of all unfailingly alarmist U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, “It is likely that GMSL [Global Mean Sea Level] rose between 1920 and 1950 at a rate comparable to that observed between 1993 and 2010.”
Also consider that while the world’s mean surface temperatures have also been gradually rising in fits and starts over the past 100 years, they have been flat between the two major El Niño’s over the past 18 years despite rising atmospheric CO2 levels.
Warren Buffet whose Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. is the largest shareholder in Munich Re, the world’s biggest re-insurance company, summed up the situation in his 2015 annual report: “Up to now, climate change has not produced more frequent nor more costly hurricanes nor other weather-related events covered by insurance.
"As a consequence, U.S. super-cat rates have fallen steadily in recent years, which is why we have backed away from that business.
"If super-cats became costlier and more frequent, the likely — though far from certain — effect on Berkshire’s insurance business would be to make it larger and more profitable.”
Buffet then offered some good advice: “As a citizen, you may understandably find climate change keeping you up at nights. As a homeowner in a low-lying area, you may wish to consider moving.
"But when you are thinking only as a shareholder of a major insurer, climate change should not be on your list of worries.”
As for many thousands of FEMA National Flood Insurance Program subscribers, worry more about a rising tide of climate alarm that will influence premiums.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of “Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom”(2015) and “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax” (2012). Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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