In my long-time business of commercial litigation, engaging in obvious exaggeration and hyperbole, not to mention disprovable falsity, was the surest way to discredit yourself in the eyes of the judge and jury. Even one instance of such, and your credibility would decline noticeably. Keep it up and it would only get worse and worse.
Meanwhile, over in the field of "climate communication," the conventional wisdom seems to be completely the opposite: Our job is to scare the bejeezus out of people, and we will say whatever it takes, no matter how obviously exaggerated or even false. Well OK guys, if you think this works, go ahead and keep trying it.
I won't bore you with too big a round-up of alarmists trying to blame the destruction from Harvey and Irma on "climate change." You well know that there are hundreds of examples to choose from. But here is a small sample:
Los Angeles Times, August 30 editorial, "Harvey should be a warning to Trump that climate change is a global threat":
[W]arming . . . certainly makes such storms [as Harvey] stronger, more unpredictable and quicker to intensify. Experts . . . say that warmer air temperatures mean more evaporation of moisture from the seas to the skies, and thus more rainfall from storms. Warmer seas — including the Gulf of Mexico — intensify storms, from their size to their wind speeds, and amplify storm surges.
Or try this one from the same LA Times on September 10, "Fires, droughts and hurricanes: What's the link between climate change and natural disasters?":
GET READY FOR RAIN. Climate change can influence hurricanes in a number of ways — for example, in the amount of rainfall they drop. As the planet warms, the atmosphere can hold more moisture. So when it rains, it really pours.
And then from the exact same article:
RAIN-BLOCKING: On top of that, climate change might mean that subtropical high pressure systems are likely to get stronger and larger. Those systems keep moist air from traveling upward in the atmosphere, where it can condense and eventually fall to the earth as rain or snow. By gaining in size and strength, those systems may become even more effective at blocking precipitation.
So "climate change" both causes more rainfall and also blocks rainfall! Scary!
From New York Magazine (David Wallace-Wells), August 28, "The Specter of Climate Change Hangs Over Hurricane Harvey":
Was Hurricane Harvey the result of climate change? . . . As journalist Robinson Meyer, at The Atlantic, and climate scientist Michael Mann, on Facebook, have explained very clearly and very helpfully, global warming has meant more moisture in the air, which intensifies rainfall and flooding, and significant sea-level rise, which leads to bigger and more invasive storm surges — these elements, along with lesser anthropogenic factors, account for as much as 30 percent of the deluge, according to one scientist Meyer spoke with.
And for today's award winner in the category of Say-Absolutely-Anything-To-Advance-The-Cause, we have Emily Atkin from September 7 in The New Republic, "This Weather Is Not Normal. And It Will Only Get Worse."
How many more lives must be destroyed by historic hurricanes, floods, and wildfires before the government admits that climate change is a problem?
[T]here was no avoiding the mass devastation [from Harvey]. Homes were destroyed. At least 60 people died. The flooding has not even fully receded, and now forecasters are tracking another frightening storm that they don’t quite have the language for. . . . Irma is threatening carnage worse than Harvey, having alreadywreaked havoc in the Caribbean as it barrels toward the mainland U.S., where both Florida and South Carolina have declared states of emergency. . . . Climate scientists have been warning us for years about this very scenario. “We have extensive scientific evidence that extreme events are increasing around the world, and will continue to increase as climate change gets worse,” said Noah Diffenbaugh, a professor of earth system science at Stanford University. “We see global-scale temperature increases. Global sea level is rising. The amount of heat and atmosphere and ocean is increasing. The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is increasing. What we’re seeing as a result of those changes is an increase in not only the mean, but the tails of destructive weather events.”
Are you scared yet?
So then, which of these articles (or of the dozens of others parroting similar talking points that you have undoubtedly read in the last few days) acknowledges or deals with the extraordinary 12 year hiatus of major (cat 3, 4 or 5) hurricanes making landfall in the U.S. immediately prior to Harvey and Irma? None of them. Which of them acknowledges or deals with the ongoing long-term decline in the number of landfalling hurricanes in the U.S.? None of them.
Or consider this chart from actual hurricane expert Philip Klotzbach of the most powerful hurricane landfalls in the U.S. since the late 1800s:
If Harvey and Irma are supposedly evidence that "climate change" makes for more intense and dangerous storms, how is it that here, deep into the human-produced CO2 era, Irma still ranks only 7th in intensity and Harvey 18th? How is it that the very most intense storm, both by windspeed and pressure, was back in 1935 -- before any significant amount of human CO2 emissions? If your hypothesis were right, shouldn't we be smashing these records by large margins every year?
And how is it that 12 of these most powerful storms are found in the 60 pre-human CO2 years of 1898 to 1957, but only 9 in the 60 post-human CO2 years of 1958-2017?
Again, which of these articles actually acknowledges or deals with any of this obvious adverse evidence? None of them.
Too bad that we never get a chance to cross-examine any of these people. Meanwhile, does anybody really believe that "climate change" has anything to do with hurricane frequency or intensity? On what basis?