Catastrophic catastrophic flood insurance

I’ve often written about situations where free markets don’t work. This time, for a change, I’m writing about a situation where government caused disasters by interfering with a free market. In 1965, Hurricane Betsy struck the Gulf Coast, causing massive damage. At the time, no companies offered flood insurance. So in 1968, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is managed by FEMA. Although flood data allowed some commercial insurers to start offering flood insurance over the following decades, there was a problem: NFIP insurance was really affordable.

A warm and sunny Christmas to all

It’s Christmas Eve, and it’s a balmy 21°C in New York City. People are out strolling around in T-shirts. In the UK, spring daffodils are in bloom. It’s 11°C in Toronto. 2015 is the warmest year in recorded history, even hotter than the second hottest year in recorded history — which was 2014. Of course, that’s just weather, not climate. When you average over the entire globe, for the entire year, things don’t seem so crazy.

A few words for global warming skeptics

[Updated 2013-06-26.] If you’re still considering yourself a ‘global warming skeptic’ in 2012, then we need to talk. Let’s start off by looking at Wikipedia’s summary of scientific opinion on climate change, and look at the list of statements by dissenting organizations. It notes that since 2007, no national or international scientific body has made any statement rejecting the reality of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change. The last organization to express ‘skepticism’?

Obesity and climate change

BBC news: Obesity needs to be tackled in the same way as climate change, a top nutritional scientist has said. In that case, let me get my soapbox… You know, there is absolutely no proof that people are getting fatter. Sure, there are fat people around, but that’s just part of the long term historical trend towards people being better fed. The occasional truly fat person is just a statistical blip.