It goes something like this:
"Hey, what's with that smoke coming from the kitchen?"
"Oh, relax. Don't be an alarmist. We're only halfway through the second period with the score tied. We can deal with the smoke after the game."
The old denialist crowd, the Fossil Fuelers and their fringe sidekicks, have finally had the outright denialism beaten out of them but they're not finished yet. Their second line of defence is the "alarmism" argument. Yeah, okay, global warming is happening and it may be largely man-made but so what? It's really nothing to get worked up about. Don't listen to the other side, they're alarmists.
They may be down to scraping the bottom of the barrel but those scrapings can still have a useful impact on delaying meaningful action on arrest global warming. Every child can play "is too, is not."
Striking the alarmism chord is appealing to a good many people, including plenty of intelligent types. It gives them badly needed reassurance, however tenuous, that what they keep seeing and reading about really isn't as bad as it looks, as it is.
In the northern hemisphere it's only been the past few years that we've been experiencing a lot of really severe impacts of climate change. Russia's drought, wildfires and crop failures. Britain's sustained drought followed by sustained flooding. Europe's deep freeze winter that reached south far enough to freeze Venice. North America's super mild winter, early spring and summer mega-drought. Heat waves, flash floods and cluster tornadoes but we're just getting the first taste of our new climate reality.
Besides, linking all these is, well, alarmist. And there the flat-earthers are right on the money. It is pretty damned alarming what's unfolding, deservedly so. Then again, isn't everyone who spots the smoke and flames and pulls the fire alarm an "alarmist?"
Meanwhile, George Monbiot proclaims that yesterday marked the day the world went mad.