Climate Change Solutions Panel Formed
EC Reviewing Climate Statement
As noted in the May EXPLORER, the proposed climate change position statement has been available through May 30 on the AAPG Web site for member perusal and comment.
As of May 15, more than 50 comments had been recorded. An e-mail also notified the membership of the discussion.
The Executive Committee, in consultation with DPA and DEG leadership, will take the Web site comments into consideration in approval of a final policy statement, according to AAPG President Lee T. Billingsley.
“This position statement is one component of AAPG’s effort on the topic of global climate change,” Billingsley said.
A special ad hoc committee that crafted the proposed statement (which was approved by the EC following review by the DPA and DEG) also recommended a continual process for supplying members with information on global climate change. They recommended “Frequently Asked Questions” as a format for documenting facts on all sides of an issue.
FAQ Discussion Points
Are temperatures during the last two decades warmer than any other time in the last two millennia?
What mechanisms are proposed to explain the temperature variations recorded over the last century?
Is the recorded increase in greenhouse gases clearly attributable to fossil fuel consumption?
Are increases in greenhouse gases the only plausible mechanism to explain this warming? Can any other forcing factor (such as solar variability) explain the increase in surface temperatures?
How do climatic variations recorded in geologic history compare to the current observed and projected climate changes?
What global change lessons do we gain from Earth history?
How reliable are climate model predictions for the next century?
How can we better assess the potential impact of climate change variability?
The committee has proposed an initial group of eight questions (right).
The EC has approved the Global Climate Change Solutions Committee (see committee charge, left). The chair and members will be named later. “That committee will manage an ongoing Web forum that contains both information and discussion” in accordance with the recommendation.
“As president of AAPG I receive a steady flow of questions, suggestions, opinions and demands, but no topic generates such a polar diverse set of correspondence as global climate change,” Billingsley said.
“As president this year, I felt that I had a responsibility to best represent all members on this topic,” he continued. “Alternatively, some would suggest that true ‘leadership’ would take a stand and lead the organization in one direction or another. Others want leadership to review survey data and try to serve the majority view.”
Billingsley summarized the two polar views on global climate change as:
- CO2 emissions from human activity have very minor influence on global climate.
- CO2 emissions from human activity are responsible for a large percentage of global warming in the last 100 years.
“At this stage of scientific knowledge, neither of these positions would best serve AAPG and its members,” Billingsley said. “Instead, AAPG needs to be involved in global climate change solutions. AAPG needs to be part of those solutions.”
The Climate Change Statement and populating the proposed committee will be considered at the June 30 EC meeting .