Did climate change cause the Alberta flooding?

CC BY 2.0 Wilson Hui/ Flickr

People dead. Billions of dollars in damage. The catastrophic Alberta flood will take months to recover from. Yet even as people are still suffering, the Minister of Immigration, Jason Kenney, who actually represents Calgary South, is denying that climate change could have anything to do with it. He says in an interview, when asked if climate change was responsible:

Well no, this is a once in a century event, and there was no one talking about man-made climate change in 1892 when we saw the last flood of this nature. We haven't had a warm spring here, we had some rain for three days and a heavy run off that lead to this situation and the stuff that I've read and commentary from scientists says that there is not a connection between weather events of this nature and broader climate issues.

Certainly it is true about the confluence of events. But this is big, according to the Premier, it's the biggest flood in the Province's history.

It’s impacted our cities, our towns, First Nations communities and smaller communities across southern Alberta. This disaster is entirely unique in its speed, its scale and its scope, and the number of people and communities it’s impacted.

Meanwhile in the Tyee, Calgary writer Andrew Nikiforuk lists a series of reports going back a decade that predicted climate chaos and made recommendations about controlling development in flood plains, all of which were ignored.

The redundancy of the reports is startling. A 2011 document on climate change's impact on the Bow River warned that events could be far more severe than modern water management has previously experienced."

Nikiforuk calls the flood "Calgary's Manhattan Moment" and writes " I only hope my city's nightmare is the climate change wake-up Alberta, and Canada, needs." But with the Alberta and Federal governments in total thrall of the oil sands and the money that flows out of them, you can be sure that this will be called an act of God, not man.

Did climate change cause the Alberta flooding?
Nobody can say for certain. But that doesn't mean that the Conservative politicians have to deny it.

Related Content on Treehugger.com