"I work at the circus, and I sleep with the clown
And when I took off my dress, the sky fell down
But if the sky falls down, then we play on the ground
'Cuz I'm pretty and high, and only partly a lie."
"... Don't you realize how everyone in the process (of planning for a disaster) has an interest in inflating figures, to inflate their importance, get as much funding as possible, etc?"
Lysenkoism rearing its ugly head, yet again: It couldn't possibly be the case that these folks make honest best estimates, based on their experience, expertise, and knowledge of the domain. Nope: They must just all be out to enhance their status...