People would take the idea of climate change more seriously if people sounding the alarm about if they stopped trying to oversell it. Global warming has been blamed for just about every weather disaster, real and imagined, for the past 20 years. Now, according to a story in the LA Times, climate change is to blame for another disaster, the wreck of the Exxon Valdez and the subsequent massive oil spill that polluted Prince William Sound and wreaked havoc on wildlife in 1989.

Most people have forgotten the details of the Exxon Valdez Disaster. The oil tanker was headed out to sea, headed for Long Beach, California with a full load of oil.

The captain, who was in his cups, had retired early to bed and had left the ship under the command of the third mate. An iceberg was detected ahead and, remembering no doubt the example of the Titanic, the third mate ordered a course change to avoid a collision. Unfortunately, due to navigation errors, the supertanker hit Bligh’s Reef and spilled 10.2 million gallons of crude oil. The spill was the worst in history until the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The cleanup of wildlife and the waters of the sound was one of the most expensive in history and gave Exxon, one of the largest oil companies in the world, a black eye from which it never recovered.

The LA Times story ties the Exxon Valdez to global warming in a couple of ways.

First, if climate change were not a real thing (and it wasn’t really an issue in 1989) then the iceberg would not have been floating around Prince William Sound, and therefore the supertanker wouldn’t have run aground trying to avoid it.

The other way the disaster is tied to the human-caused global warming in the conspiracy theory that Exxon knew about the phenomenon all along but choose to conceal it in order to hang on to, as Jimmy Carter once called it, obscene profits.

The theory is the same kind of story as the fictional 80 miles a gallon carburetor the oil companies are supposed to have suppressed. It’s a way for certain unscrupulous state attorney generals to shake down the oil companies for a big pay day to fatten the coffers of state governments.

The report has received quite a bit of mockery in the press and on social media.

One media report opined that the only ice responsible for the Exxon Valdez disaster was that which cooled the captain’s drinks. Another noted that every other ship that sails in the region has managed to avoid icebergs without running aground.