Are There Benefits to Climate Change?

News reports and editorials about human- caused climate change are a daily feature of modern life, as politicians, environmental activists and industry leaders grapple over how to mitigate or avert the expected global catastrophe to ensue. Gregory R. Wrightstone takes a different view.

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Gregory R. Wrightstone

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Comments (27)

Global Cooling
We don't need a Carbon Tax: what Al Gore and his handlers wanted and STILL want. We are in the 3rd consecutive year of global cooling; NewsMax, one of the largest cable/internet/satellite news providers in the US (conservative, not liberal) is all over this with their own reporting: This can be validated by checking your monthly utility bills, where they report average monthly temperature vs. last year, as it affects cooling/heating degree-days, which affect electricity and natural gas consumption, respectively. Mine shows cooling of ~0.5F or ~0.25C per year cooling, averaged over the course of a year, and this is consistent with NewsMax reporting. I understand that this is due to solar activity that peaked in 2012, the hottest year I remember in CO, with lots of fires that summer to boot (the prior peak was 1936). A solar cycle of ~80 years seems to be at work, so the cooling trend from 2016 - present may last until 2052 !!! As earth scientists, we should remain science-based. Accept new information, as that presented by Gregory Whitestone, and make good decisions with said new information.
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9/16/2018 10:47:15 AM
Climate Article
I am greatly dismayed to see posted comments that make ad hominim attacks on Ken Martin and Gregory Wrightstone. Those making such posts should be deeply ashamed of that unprofessional behaviour, which - by the way - is a violation of the Association's Code of Ethics. I think that some apologies are in order.
8/29/2018 5:00:06 AM
More on media policy issues
Map stories can provide dynamic visualizations of the Anthropocene to broaden factually based public understanding July 2014The Anthropocene Review 1(3) DOI: 10.1177/2053019614542354
8/27/2018 9:55:53 AM
At last, a book on global warming by a GEOLOGIST
Well done AAPG for having the courage to publish this interview. Why ARE we geologists so relatively silent about the issue of whether or not mankind is responsible for Earth's undeniable overall warming of the last 100 years? (Worryingly for alarmists, warming may have ended in 2016; the next 2-3 years will tell, so keep a sharp eye on NASA's online global monthly mean temperature graph.) An earlier comment (above) urges more "posts from actual climate scientists". Yet only geologists are intimately aware that climate (and sea level) ALWAYS change, having done so for billions of years. The unproven idea that a trace gas constituting a mere 1/2,500th (400ppm) of the atmosphere is the fundamental controller of climate is intuitively ludicrous and, for good reason, remains no more than a belief/faith. Besides, CO2 is a PRODUCT, not cause, of warming oceans. The public now, more than ever, needs geologists to speak out.
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8/26/2018 9:33:13 AM
Benefits of global warming
Thanks for publishing Wrightstone's article that brings back a geologist's perspective. The counterpoints in the comments to the article are filled with passionate words like .nonsense, climate apologism, self styled distressing, appalling, garbage, pseudoscience etc. Let's not forget that passion is inimical to rational thinking. Graham Brown has mentioned 'AAPG Studies in Geology #47 "Geological Perspectives in Global Climate Change'. To add, I request the members to watch BBC's The Big Freeze from Earth Story series and read Rothman, D.H. 2002. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels for the last 500 million years: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 99: (4167-4171). Before turning abusive, we may like to ask ourselves these questions. a. Did warming and cooling happen umpteen number of times before humans appeared on earth? If yes, have the natural factors controlling such events disappeared with the advent of humans? b. Did sea encroach and withdraw from land masses in past cycles; what do the oilfields producing from marine sediments deep inside the land masses tell us in that context? c. Isn't CO2 plant feed and the rise in CO2 results in spread of greeneries as Mr. Wrightstone postulates, quoting various third party studies? d. Can we control solar activities and the ocean currents which are the biggest climate drivers or even smaller drivers like the volcanoes? e. in the name of controlling climate aren't we trying to control pollution. That is a worthy cause to pursue.Why give it a big, self-deceptive name? Notwithstanding the larger than life ego the humans carry, they are a minor constituent of the natural system. It might be judicious to accept that one component of a particular system cannot comprehend the system as a whole, let alone control it. It would be definitely better and easier to adapt to changing climates rather than trying to discipline nature at a huge cost.
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8/24/2018 3:06:25 AM
"Comment is free, but facts are sacred"
I knew Milam as Geobyte editor in the eighties, and I wish that as Explorer correspondent today, he did not wade into Climate Apologism. By giving Wrightsone a forum, he irretrievably associated the Explorer in particular and the AAPG in general with controversial ideas, which are not balanced with countervailing arguments. I co-chaired the Young Professionals forum in London last fall at centennial AAPG ICE - also manage the Visiting Geoscientist Program for W Europe - so I'm most concerned that AAPG science live up to the next generation's expectations. I also blog on geo info, dedicating the last five posts on Arctic and Antarctic data science to help tackle climate issues from a historic perspective, read, since 1750. I also spent a decade in Texas and California with major petroleum service integrators, so I am quite familiar with Creationism en-vogue last century: As Canadian-trained geologist, I contrasted Earth Sciences needed to find oil&gas in frontier areas, with lower-50 States oilmen and landmen who need no science to "punch holes into the ground". In eighties Calgary I helped a CBC Radio journalist run seminars on factual reporting, after mis-reporting lead to an operator's demise. Last but not least, next year will be forty years since I joined AAPG as a yet-to-graduate student. Milam's two-page spread in the Explorer is not Climate Science - Wrightstone's self-styled area of expertise - but Data Journalism: How does one report facts in order to promote "fair and balanced" discourse, to quote said CBC journalist's mantra? Describing Data Journalism, Wikipedia says: ... "Comment is free," wrote Guardian editor CP Scott in 1921, "but facts are sacred". Ninety years later, publishing those sacred facts has become a new type of journalism in itself: data journalism. And it is rapidly becoming part of the establishment... AAPG's foundation predates that quote by a scant four years... So let us live up to our organisations' high standards!
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8/22/2018 1:21:55 AM
Peer-Review EXPLORER
I think the time has come for AAPG to implement a peer-review system for the EXPLORER. GSA does it for GSAToday and AGU does it for Eos. As an active member of the organization, I find this "a bit" distressing.
8/21/2018 8:25:38 AM
'That' Explorer Article
Twitter forces one to be succinct, to the following I only add: AAPG is 5 years older than the Guardian, so please live up to your hard-earned reputation! To @AAPG @AAPGpresident @dcm_5070: ""Comment is free," wrote Guardian editor CP Scott in 1921, "but facts are sacred". Ninety years later, publishing those sacred facts has become a new type of journalism in itself: data journalism. And it is rapidly becoming part of the establishment." (Wikipedia)
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8/21/2018 7:21:06 AM
Factually inaccurate article on climate
It is appalling that AAPG provides platforms for contrarian science and does not educate members in climate science. Why not have such posts from actual climate scientists? Indeed, to be proportional, there should be 30 articles by climate scientists for every such contrarian article. Gregory Wrightstone’s article is full of inaccuracies, logical fallacies and cherry picking. I have dissected his article, highlighting the numerous woeful errors, with evidence and sources here: It is appalling that AAPG Explorer publishes such an obviously erroneous article without editorial or peer review. AAPG should be trying to educate its members in climate science, rather than promote clear falsehoods.
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8/20/2018 5:49:54 PM
geologic vs. human-caused climate change
Thanx to AAPG for publishing the article on Mr. Wrightstone's thinking. Nice - for once - to have some geologic perspective inserted into what is otherwise the province of politically-motivated officials and/or job-security- driven academics. Even non-scientist and high-school educated Americans have heard of the Pleistocene ice sheets and the glacial sculpting of Yosemite's Half Dome. That these ended only some 11,700 years ago should indicate that the planet has been warming - for natural reasons - for that period of time. Perhaps the warming rate of the past 100, fossi-fueled years is "high" and perhaps it isn't... that's kind of difficult to determine... and even if it were known, separating the various potential causes from one another is going to be extremely difficult. So yes, let's reduce the horrible air pollution in places like Beijing and northern India - but let's do it because it's harmful to health and not as part of a politically-driven "human-caused climate change" agenda...
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8/20/2018 3:43:09 PM
Just the facts with no spin
Scientists should not be biased by political motives when they construct and test their hypothesis. I thought it curious that Mr. Wrightstone used a quote from H.L. Mencken, who died, I believe, in the 1950s. Many AAPG members were either not born or were toddlers when Mr. Mencken died. Mr. Mencken has lived on though, in a sense. There is a society in his name that functions to discuss the political direction of America. Based on Mr. Wrightstone's position on climate change, he appears to be aligned with the society's "independent right" slogan.
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8/19/2018 4:45:57 PM
From the AAPG President
The EXPLORER is a non-peer reviewed monthly magazine. The article about Greg Wrightstone’s talk at URTeC was intended to portray his views on the subject not imply AAPG endorsement of the content. It is a presidential priority for AAPG to address the science of climate change and update its climate statement.
8/18/2018 6:02:35 PM
Fake news from the AAPG
I was surprised and offended by the article “Are there benefits to climate change” by G R Wrightstone. How wrong he is! This is, as David Lageson and so many other commentators say, clearly pseudoscience. Unfortunately, it appears not to be just pseudoscience but a deliberate attempt to distort facts in order to deny the evidence based claims of the majority of the world’s scientists. I fully believe in balanced reporting of scientific news but this article gives the impression that it has the support of the AAPG. I would welcome a comment from the AAPG review board and editor.
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8/18/2018 5:32:10 AM
"Benefits of climate change" -- really AAPG?????
I have been a member of AAPG since August 1973 and actively engaged with the petroleum industry throughout my career of 50+ years. I read the article in the August 2018 issue of Explorer entitled “Are there benefits to Climate Change?” with dismay and regret for AAPG. It is unbelievable to me that an organization that claims to publish credible scientific literature would stoop so low as to give this article a readership platform. I cannot begin to cite all the inaccurate, slanted and biased comments made by the author in this article. To claim that the thousands of international climate scientists are engaged in speculative research or that these scientists are heavily invested in advancing the narrative of human-caused climate change as “Hobgoblins of alarm” – whatever that means – is outrageous and disgusting. What is most outrageous is the claim that present-day global warming is nothing to worry about, because Earth has experienced many cycles of warming and cooling in the past. No geologist has ever denied that – it is a stupid and idiotic argument because we are dealing with anthropogenic climate change TODAY that is adversely affecting the lives of millions and ultimately billions of people. Frankly, there is NO climate change “debate” among the thousands of credible scientists who have studied this topic for decades (scientists who are not financially invested in fossil fuels), as egregiously suggested by this author. I am angry with AAPG for continuing to support “fake news” about the reality of present-day climate change and providing a readership venue that suggests this is a scientific debate, let alone something that is a “benefit” to humans across the planet. Don’t insult my intelligence by claiming that AAPG presents a balanced view of a so-called controversy that does not exist among honest, objective, and dedicated scientists. I resign my membership in AAPG effective immediately and ask you to take my name off your membership list permanently.
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8/16/2018 3:31:42 PM
Thank you AAPG
Thank you AAPG for publishing this garbage in the Explorer magazine, making my decision not to renew membership with your organization an easy one. We can promote and advance the science of petroleum geology without resorting to self-delusion regarding the very real harm our industry is doing to the planet. Member since 2004.
8/15/2018 9:41:37 AM
I am appalled that AAPG Explorer would publish an article touting the “Benefits of Climate Change” without any mention of opposing views and relying entirely on the opinions of Gregory R. Wrightstone. Mr. Writestone’s conclusions have never passed the scrutiny of scientific peer review nor has his work been published by a reputable scientific journal (including any of the scientific publications of AAPG). His book was self-published, as I presume that no legitimate publisher would take it. He uses “cherry-picked” published data and incomplete data sets to draw dubious conclusions. This is classic pseudoscience. In fact these standards are even lower than that of your average creationist publication. What this comes to is downright irresponsible journalism on the part of the Explorer staff. What is worse is that the quality of legitimate AAPG scientific publications is brought low in the eyes of the rest of the scientific community as well as the public. I already have to fight with colleagues who question the scientific quality of AAPG outlets where I publish. For the record, I have been a member of AAPG for 44 years. For the past 30 years I have taught and conducted research in sedimentary geology at major American and European Universities. I also have been employed, at various times, in the petroleum, minerals, and environmental industries.
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8/12/2018 12:02:32 PM
Tell the Kids!
Members of AAPG should be pleased that THEIR science is being presented in relation to the important subject of climate change in Mr. Wrightstone’s book. Atmospheric science without geological perspective, like the person trying to describe an elephant from 12 inches away with blinders on, has limitations and can be misleading. Observing its components over timeframes that are meaningful allows us to understand where we are today. This book is blunt, but that is much needed given the absence of such information in the opinion forming media. I greatly appreciate that this resource became available. I am sharing copies with all my family members and some favorite local educators to help provide insights (typically unknown by the public) from the science that has been so important in my life.
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8/8/2018 8:42:16 AM
Are There Benefits to Climate Change
Climate has always changed and always will - as geologists we all know this. Perhaps some of the commentators should read AAPG Studies in Geology #47 "Geological Perspectives in Global Climate Change". Massive climatic changes are clearly demonstrated that had nothing to do with human activity. They were caused by natural cosmic and earth phenomena which continue to operate today, and we have no influence on these. I often wonder how we would react if the sea level rise which occurred ten thousand to about five thousand years ago, which was approximately 125 metres, was occurring today. The current sea level rises may well be remnants of this activity. The comment by Edith Newton Wilson "Perhaps Mr. Wrightstone should ...... incorporate data from the past decade into his graphs" is the type of comment that we should not be hearing from AAPG members - short term climate variability is not "Climate change". Ecosystems, plants, animals and humans have adapted to past climates and the fact that they continue to do so does not indicate disaster, but natural changes that are to be expected and managed. Graham Brown, AAPG member since 1962.
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8/8/2018 12:06:57 AM
Correction to Source
The source for the NASA "Greening" slide is incorrectly listed as Zhu Z, et al (2016). Although the figure is derived from the work referenced, it is not in the paper but rather listed on the NASA site which incorrectly links to the Zhu paper. Permissions were granted by his co-author R. Myneni for publication and sourcing as listed. Corrected source should be NASA (2017) Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth, Study Finds, (accessed 3/2017) permission by R. Myneni 7/13/2017 This change will be made in the upcoming 3rd printing of the book.
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8/6/2018 8:53:43 AM
Are There Benefits to Climate Change
I find very contrasting the articles featured in the August 2018 EXPLORER. One article features a whiz-bang new IBM AI-based adviser computer technology. And another features the musings on climate change of someone who has not published a single peer-reviewed research paper on the topic and who is an employee of an “action tank” as well as a “think tank”( ) that advocates against action on climate change. Please explain to me how the editors of the EXPLORER have not violated AAPG Code of Ethics by featuring an article describing Gregory Wrightstone views? Mr. Wrightstone may be a good geologist but he is not an atmospheric scientist. AAPG loses credibility as a science and technology organization when it selectively chooses what science it accepts.
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8/5/2018 2:59:41 PM
Are There Benefits to Climate Change
Very refreshing to read an article about climate change that is not all gloom, doom, extremist alarmism and human generated catastrophe! I am very thankful that AAPG had the courage to publish Mr. Wrightstone's presentation and not to hide behind the global political correctness that is swamping us. I read the book by Mr. Wrightstone titled “Inconvenient Facts: The science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know." I can honestly say that it was well written and easy for a scientist and long time AAPG member, such as myself, to understand. He clearly stated in the book that the global environment is always changing. One need only look at the data regarding ancient and recent past climate cycling to understand this. Will some people suffer? Yes, this is inevitable. However, whether some islands will be submerged by rising sea level depends on tectonic plate warping, coral growth (which does keep up with rising sea level in the southern Pacific), cyclonic activity and other factors. Also, deserts will shrink and grow depending on glacial advances and precipitation which is driven by local oceanic current activity. Canada and Russia will be able to grow more wheat with the longer and warmer springs and summers! The oil industry has been horribly persecuted worldwide by environmental extremists whose only goal is to bully the public into toeing their agenda - regardless of who it hurts (anyone want to spend $3000 more on a car with additional air pollution equipment when human input of CO2 to the global atmospheric budget is negligible?). This really has to do with obtaining power over people worldwide so that they can establish a "world order." Environmentalism is just a tool for doing this! Thank goodness AAPG supports efforts to train and promote oil and gas geology. We will definitely need more fossil fuels of all kinds as the demand for concrete and steel continues! Raphael Ketani, MS, PG (New York), CPG
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8/4/2018 11:26:49 AM
It is time for geoscientists to offer our special perspective!
Humans seem to revel in thinking that major happenings over our tiny life spans are “unprecedented” or “the worst ever”. Geologists, dealing with deep time know that many apparently unprecedented or catastrophic events have actually happened repeatedly and routinely throughout time. Science by blind consensus brought us spontaneous generation and the universe orbiting the earth. That said, the wisdom of numerous dedicated, technically superb scientists, across a remarkably broad spectrum of research specialties, deserves our attention. I am presently fact checking Mr. Wrightstone’s presentation against a broader literature base. He presents a specific viewpoint (that anthropogenic CO2 and rising temperature isn’t all bad, and may have positive impacts). Some plots are truncated, but cover most of the time anthropogenic CO2 has been increasing and other plots appear accurate, though contrary to the news we usually hear. Mr. Wrightstone suggests we should look at ALL of the data, not just information supporting pre-conceived notions. This knife of objective data assessment must cut both directions. As a scientific organization we can’t take a politically acceptable stance to avoid conflict, nor bury our heads in the sand, nor whitewash the impact of burning fossil fuels. Hopefully we will invite respectful, data-based discussion. If heat waves, fire and drought have spiked in the years after Mr. Wrightstone’s plots stop, we should extend the plots and objectively discuss the observations within the context of our knowledge of deep time. Ultimately, extremely costly policy decisions which will span multiple cycles of governmental administration must balance immense human need and dire energy poverty with protecting our precious planet. Geologists owe society our special perspective, hopefully derived through respectful and truly objective evaluation of data from modern, recent and ancient systems. It is up to us to actively join the discussion.
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8/3/2018 7:00:08 PM
A fact not in line with a majority opinion is not proof of flawed science
Gregory's article lists observable facts not in question. I think we need MORE climate facts, not less. If only facts that fit with a certain narrative are presented and considered then there is no balance. Gregory's article IS that balance. After all, it isn't like there is a dearth of climate-warming-will-end-life-as-we-know-it narratives that are overwhelmed by volumes of contrary opinions. Quite the opposite. It reminds me of the Ether debate where essentially the entire physics community had people who didn't believe in, accept, and promote the presence of Ether as a fact, ostracized, held in derision, mocked, and marginalized. But then came Michelson, Morley, and Albert....
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8/3/2018 3:04:27 PM
What nonsense is this from a scientific organization???
First off, there are major negative consequences right now from Climate Change. Ignoring the heat wave that is gripping much of the planet, as that might be an annual perturbation, several islands in the Pacific have or are about to disappear. Do we simply ignore the poor people who live on those islands while we count our cash? More importantly, this is a selective presentation of one extremely biased side of a discussion. Taken to an extreme, which is always a good way to show the absurdity of an argument, one could make a case that complete melting of the polar ice caps would generate significant property value increases for those that live along the new position of the coastline. This non-scientific, very biases reporting has become more commonplace in the Explorer. Either the editors need to get back on their game or they need to be replaced. There is no place for this nonsense.
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8/3/2018 2:57:45 PM
Climate Change "Debate"
As an earth scientist, it distresses me to see a professional organization of which I am a member present incomplete and misleading data in support of a parochial view of an important global issue. While the author's data may be "drawn from official government sites such as NASA, NOAA and peer reviewed studies" they are truncated and skewed to tell only a fraction of the story. Perhaps Mr. Wrightstone should read the Fourth National Climate Assessment ( cover to cover and incorporate data from the past decade into his graphs. Thank goodness business drivers for the development of low carbon energy resources will soon make this a moot argument as new technology provides clean and affordable energy to communities world-wide. Recent financial data reported by Bloomberg indicate that investment in fossil fuel supplies has dropped by 30% from 2014 to 2016, while investment in renewables holds steady, supplying an ever growing consumption curve more efficiently. Mary, the cartoon that came to my mind while reading this article was that of the dinosaur at a podium lecturing his peers, and the caption, "the picture's pretty bleak, gentlemen....the world's climates are changing, the mammals are taking over, and we all have a brain about the size of a walnut." As a postscript, how interesting that the comments on this article to date come from three PhD carbonate geologists, all veterans of the oil and gas industry.
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8/3/2018 2:17:54 PM
Response to the article about the talk by Gregory R. Wrightstone
This report presents a one-sided picture; reporting should present all sides of this debate. An organization such as AAPG that purports to use science to find resources should present a balanced discussion of this complex issue. A full discussion is imperative for AAPG members to develop an understanding of all issues of climate change. This skewed presentation embarrasses me, a member since the 1960's.
8/3/2018 1:10:13 PM
Global Warming not so Great for Some
How interesting, I am aware of this type of reasoning since the 1990s. I have not read the book but will do so. I cannot tell from this article if the author agrees with the concept of humans impacting global climate change or not. I recall that recently the former EPA head testified that he did agree that humans played a part in global climate change, but that perhaps warming was good, similar to how this article described the author's points. Unfortunately, one pictures the editorial cartoon where fossil fuel company executives are sitting around a big fire, and one says to the other, "throw some more coal to the fire, this is a great thing for everyone!" But of course, what is good for one person may not be so great for another person. I think of our African continent neighbors who in some places are going through terrible droughts. There is not enough food or water, yet they cannot freely migrate to other countries as the climate changes on them. Thousands of years ago humans could migrate more freely. We cannot now. Where do people go that live on coasts or live on islands, or are starving? Change is hard for humans, whether we do it to ourselves or not. The rich countries will adjust better than the more poor ones. And the poor have mostly not been increasing CO2 levels in the past. Subjects like this require great compassion for all people on this earth. I did not read that in this article. Perhaps the Explorer can now find another science author qualified to give a different viewpoint about some of the science presented here. Thank you.
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8/3/2018 11:54:12 AM

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