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Fargo flooding not due to global warming -
It was a natural event aggravated by a colder winter and more snow
Obama flunks Global Warming 101 on Fargo

By Dr. Tim Ball


 “When the freedom they wished for most was the freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and never was free again.” Edith Hamilton.

20 Apr 09 - President Obama used recent flooding in Fargo, North Dakota to push his misguided belief in global warming. His comment, “If you look at the flooding that’s going on right now in North Dakota and you say to yourself, ‘If you see an increase of two degrees, what does that do, in terms of the situation there?’” is speculative and completely wrong.

Sorry President Obama, the Fargo flooding was not due to global warming or even a harbinger of an increased potential. It was a natural event aggravated by a colder winter and more snow. If global warming were to occur, in the Red River case less spring flooding would result. All this diverts from the issues of people living in environmentally dangerous areas and being encouraged to do so by government policies that remove personal responsibility.

The Red River is the largest and one of very few rivers that start in the US and flow north into Canada.

Rivers usually create their own valleys but the Red River runs through lowland formed and occupied by Glacial Lake Agassiz. This lake was created by the meltwater from the Wisconsin ice sheet. Half of Canada was still under ice as recently as 9,000 years ago, which underscores how quickly climate changes.

Maximum extent of Glacial Lake Agassiz. Source:

The size of Agassiz is emphasized by Lake Winnipeg (just below the word Manitoba), listed as the 13th largest lake in the world by surface area. This area was the bottom of Lake Agassiz and as a result is very flat and floods easily and extensively.

It is not a “no risk” world. Insurance and government assistance offset but do not eliminate risk. In fact, you can argue they aggravate the problem.

If you live in a flood plain you are going to get flooded and when it occurs frequently someone should consider what is happening. In the US most insurance companies don’t cover flood so there is a government program through FEMA

It is another example of how government policy rewards bad decisions or foolish behavior. It is probable that private insurance did not provide coverage because of frequent claims. The government taking over was not the solution.

Restricting settlement is difficult and potentially undesirable in a democracy, but there should be zoning of risk so people are aware. This way they cannot expect reward from other sensible people’s money. Cain’s question to God “Am I my brother’s keeper?” has come to mean responsibility for other people. I accept the responsibility for my sensible brother, but not my stupid brother.

See all of this great article by Dr. Tim Ball

Dr. Tim Ball is a renowned environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. 

Dr. Ball can be reached at:






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