'Climate' Cools With Revised Statements

President's Column: Global Climate Discussions Heated

What’s the easiest way to enter a heated argument with your co-worker, neighbor or perhaps even your spouse? Just start talking about the range of possible reasons for the climate changes we have recorded in the past century.

In my memory no subject has drawn such heated discussion (e-mail, for current times) since the long-settled issue of continental drift.

AAPG members debated the probable causes for climate changes by e-mail and Web discussion for almost two years. The Executive Committee recognized that a number of members were not in agreement with our existing climate change position paper. Then-president Lee Billingsley appointed a very talented seven-member ad-hoc committee chaired by Jay Gregg in January 2007 with the charge of writing a proposed climate change statement.

We all owe that committee a vote of thanks for their many hours of deliberation.

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What’s the easiest way to enter a heated argument with your co-worker, neighbor or perhaps even your spouse? Just start talking about the range of possible reasons for the climate changes we have recorded in the past century.

In my memory no subject has drawn such heated discussion (e-mail, for current times) since the long-settled issue of continental drift.

AAPG members debated the probable causes for climate changes by e-mail and Web discussion for almost two years. The Executive Committee recognized that a number of members were not in agreement with our existing climate change position paper. Then-president Lee Billingsley appointed a very talented seven-member ad-hoc committee chaired by Jay Gregg in January 2007 with the charge of writing a proposed climate change statement.

We all owe that committee a vote of thanks for their many hours of deliberation.

The proposed statement was posted on our Web site and open for comments for 30 days. We received 93 responses that ranged from one end of the opinion spectrum to the other, with a number in the middle ground.

With the member comments in mind, the DPA Governmental Affairs Committee (Carl Smith, chair) and Lee Billingsley wrote a revised Climate Change Statement. This statement, with minor changes by the EC, was approved in mid-July and posted on the Web site on July 20, and printed in the August EXPLORER.

What a process! I invite each of you to log on and read the statement.


But that’s not the end.

The EC also approved a new standing committee called the Global Climate Change Solutions Committee. The committee will be composed of 12 members recommended to the president – three from each of the three Divisions, – with the chair from the Division of Environmental Geosciences – and three recommended by the EC.

The committee should be in place by the end of September.

The committee’s main charge is to promote and facilitate various fields of geologic study that relate to global climate change and potential solutions. Means of accomplishing the charge (mission statement) are:

  • Communicate timely information on the topic to members and the public. The communication forums will ideally be the AAPG Web site, DEG’s Environmental Geoscience journal and possibly the EXPLORER.
  • Provide technical content in the forms of technical programs at meetings, special publications and DEG journal articles.
  • Recommend updates for AAPG’s position paper to the Executive Committee.
  • Monitor an ongoing AAPG Web forum on global climate change and potential solutions.
  • Determine topics for FAQs and write the discussion with references.

Members will be notified when the Web forum is open.


The DPA Governmental Affairs Committee has written and the Executive Committee has approved, with relatively minor editing, statements addressing 13 other issues. These statements are titled:

  • Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf Resources
  • Hydraulic Fracturing
  • Preservation of Geological and Geophysical Data
  • National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska Access
  • Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Access
  • United States National Energy Supply
  • Tax Reform
  • Natural Gas Supply Concerns
  • Reformation of the Endangered Species Act
  • Reformation of the Clean Water Act-Wetlands Access
  • Offshore OCS Access
  • Research and Development Needs
  • Oil and Gas Workforce Needs in the 21st Century

All of these recently revised statements can be found on the AAPG Web site. To access the statements, click on “AAPG Short Cuts” at the top of the home page, then on “AAPG Statements” from the pull down menu. The Executive Committee will review all statements at least every three years.

Buona sera.

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