The climate change position statement rewrite process in AAPG brought to light several interesting characteristics of our membership and AAPG as an organization.
- We have a broad range of opinions, beliefs and science-based interpretations related to climate change.
- We are not shy about going beyond our specific areas of expertise in developing these.
- We are willing to commit energy, personal time and meeting time through AAPG to the consideration of topics that some do and some don’t consider mainstream to the profession of petroleum geology.
- When the process was completed, we not only had a new position statement, but demonstrated a willingness to institutionalize activities in this area through the creation of a permanent committee, the Global Climate Change Solutions Committee.
The first and second of these should come as a surprise to no one. We have opinions and beliefs about a wide variety of things that some may consider not germane to AAPG’s mission or program and, while they are commonly expressed freely, they don’t become part of the AAPG program.
The third point is the one that merits considerable attention, for it is in this area that we find the potential for growth in the mission and role of AAPG – and when we decide to move in a particular direction, we relate to the fourth point by institutionalizing the effort in some way.
Two of our divisions, EMD and DEG, are examples of this.
In both cases the formation of the divisions was preceded by discussions of whether or not activities in these areas were significantly relevant to the mission and role of AAPG and whether they should be made a formal part of the AAPG structure and program .
In both cases there were opinions, beliefs and science-based interpretations brought to bear in the process that led to the decision to form the divisions. In these cases, many of the companies, agencies and universities we work for were engaged in activities that would fall in the domains of EMD and DEG and the decisions were made to proceed.
If we fail to consider opportunities for expansion of our program we will limit the impact of our profession.
If we make the wrong decision we will blur our focus – to the consternation of our members and those who view us from the outside.
This is a DEG column. How does all of this relate to DEG?
The decision to institutionalize climate change activities includes a role for DEG in supporting technical sessions and publications in this area.
Are there other areas where AAPG as a whole or DEG might develop activities or programs that follow the same path as climate change in terms of being considered in ways that lead to their becoming an ongoing part of our program?
For DEG these might include the environmental aspects of:
- Alternatives to petroleum such as biofuels and hydrogen cells.
- Water resource impacts of various energy technologies.
- Habitat impacts and enhancement in energy resource and infrastructure development – for example, offshore seismic surveys and production platforms.
- Best practices in implementing energy-related environmental regulations in the United States and abroad.
Thanks largely to the action of Mike Jacobs during his term as DEG vice president, we have added committees and strengthened others to increase our activities in some areas such as environmental geophysics and hydrogeology.
What needs further consideration is the range of subjects that are of interest to the membership of AAPG, relate to our capabilities and mission and enhance the services we provide to our members and the profession.
DEG also would like to expand its membership, which in part could come from offering programs that appeal to those who have energy interests and who would join AAPG principally to be involved in DEG programs and activities.
I and other members of the DEG Executive Committee and Advisory Board welcome suggestions for appropriate expansion of the scope of the DEG program into areas that would keep us moving forward.