The pathetic AAPG

For a long time the AAPG enjoyed the dubious distinction of being the only organisation with any kind of scientific credibility that maintained an officially septic position on climate change, as reported by the official journal of record, wikipedia. That changed recently when they adopted a new statement. The old statement was at least brave in being boldly scientifically illiterate, and was (presumably) only there to demonstrate to the left that some of their prejudices against Big Oil were correct. The new one, as Eli points out, is pathetic in its desire to appease both sides,. and yet still manages to remain scientifically illiterate (our planet has been far warmer and cooler than today many times in the geologic past, including the past 10,000 years isn’t true, unless you stretch the meaning of “far” quite… far; the current climate warming projections could fall within well-documented natural variations in past climate and observed temperature data is also wrong (unless they have very low standards for “well documented”)).

But its when we come down to stuff like AAPG supports reducing emissions from fossil fuel use as a worthy goal. (However, emission reduction has an economic cost, which must be compared to the potential environmental gain.) that the problems begin. Does “emissions” in this context mean GHGs, or are they thinking of more local pollutants, or is it deliberately ambiguous? If they don’t mean GHGs, then this is f*ck all to do with climate change. If they *do* mean GHGs, then why is reducing them a worthy goal, unless you’re admitting that GHGs cause climate change, and that this is a problem? If reducing GHGs has a potential env gain, then you’re admitting that emitting GHGs is going to cause cl ch, and that this has a cost.

Later on they say AAPG supports the pursuit of economically viable technology to sequester carbon dioxide emissions and emissions of other gases in a continuing effort to improve our environment… If sequestering CO2 improves the environment, then why are they bothering to quibble about whether CO2 is a problem? Clearly it must be.


  1. #1 Alexander Ac

    Sorry, completely off-topic – UNFCCC report

    also found that…

    “Another key finding of the study, to be presented to UNFCCC delegates meeting in Austria for the “Vienna Climate Change Talks 2007″ (27 to 31 August) is that additional investment and financial flows of USD 200 to 210 billion will be necessary in 2030 to return GHG emissions to current levels.” – I don’t like to see this :-(

    Will somebody calculate, wot the CO2 concetration would be, if this was the case?? Where is Kyoto???

  2. #2 crandles

    >unless you’re admitting that GHGs cause climate change
    >If sequestering CO2 improves the environment, then why are they bothering to quibble about whether CO2 is a problem?

    Why do you think they are not admitting an influence?

    They state very early on (3rd sentence of issue introduction):

    “Although the AAPG membership is divided on the degree of influence that anthropogenic CO2 has on recent and potential global temperature increases”

    This seems to be saying there is an influence just that they are divided on how much not on whether it has an influence.

    [I don’t think its good enough. That statement is compatible with an opionion of negligible influence -W]

    Are they trying to quibble with GHG causes climate change or just providing background and context to stop people thinking ‘wow climate change is real so that means the end of the world is inevitable’?

    It does seem to be wiesel worded though. NAS, AGU, AAAS, and AMS are respected but it can only bring itself to say so in terms of they are only predictions and scientific opinions.

    “To be predictive, any model of future climate should also accurately model known climate and greenhouse gas variations recorded in the geologic history of the past 200,000 years.”

    This looks particularly bad to me. To be willing to accept there might be the slightest degree of predictability in a model they won’t accept anything less than accuracy over 200,000 years. This is clearly saying however good the models, we will maintain they are not good enough.

    [Yup, agreed. And the best evidence for that period isn’t really “geology” anyway, which illustrates another of thier problems – they are a bunch of geologists distressed to be irrevelevant to an important area and trying to make themselves relevant -W]

    Still if these wiesel words are what it took to get a new statement approved then this is better than not getting a new statement.

    Noone is really going to regard them as experts on whether a climate model shows predictive ability.

  3. #3 mugwump

    If the AAPG is “pathetic” for a somewhat fence-sitting statement, how reprehensible are the supposed thought leaders of climatology who apparently routinely indulge in random adjustments to the temperature record, yet brazenly blog that reproducibility is not a scientific desideratum applicable to climatology?

    It is entertaining to watch the AGW religious nuts scream louder and louder about “denialists” and “septics” as more and more problems are discovered with their methodology.

  4. #4 beldar

    “officially septic position” ?? I’ll assume you meant skeptic but septic certainly fits too.

  5. #5 fergus

    What the AAPG statements makes clear is that, whilst other august bodies, generally with a direct connection to the science, can arrive via a decision-making process at a consensus position and publish that agreed position – their consensus – the AAPG itself has failed to reach such a consensus within its own executive/membership, and so has had to resort to publishing this.

    It would have been more honest to say; ‘as we can’t agree amongst ourselves about this, we have nothing to say…’

    Mugwump: what is a ‘supposed thought leader’? Are these the people who manage the temperature records? How many times is the temperature record corrected? Even if the record was ‘routinely’ corrected, would this not be a scientifically ‘good thing’, showing that they are up to date and willing to make adjustments where the science demonstrates that such adjustments are necessary? Is it possible that your opinion might be based on misunderstandings?

  6. #6 mugwump

    fergus, follow the link, and then please explain to me the origin of the adjustments. You might like to ask Gavin Schmidt for the source code he and Hansen used to make the adjustments. Absent that, they make very little sense.

    We’re currently relying on the authority of nutjob creationists for the veracity of the adjustments. Anyone not a sceptic under these circumstances doesn’t deserve to call themselves a scientist.

    [Sorry to interrupt a private conversation… but why do you think GS has anything to do with the corrections? -W]

  7. #7 JamesG

    A few points:
    As most of the planet seems to have been just as warm earlier this century even by GISS data (which shows the highest warming), then I assume when you say the planet hasn’t been warmer for a very long time you really mean the arctic circle hasn’t been warmer. That being a minor part of the planet, their statement isn’t false even for this century.

    [You appear to be living on a different planet: try, e.g., Where are you getting your global trends from? -W]

    Of course when they refer to emissions they don’t mean specifically GHG’s but since the majority emission is CO2 and you cannot reduce one without the other why pick a fight? Ok they have taken a position everyone can be comfortable with but since the arctic melt may actually have as much to do with soot as GHG’s, then soot is an emission we should reduce too, no?

    [No, they have taken a position no-one can be confortable with -W]

    Anything big business are behind smells fishy anyway. Big oil loves hydrogen because it’ll most likely come from oil and gas for the foreseeable future. Traders just love those phony carbon trading schemes: Buying and selling air and paid from both sides – wonderful. The nuclear lobby are right on top of this too for their own gain. Be careful what you wish for.

    Do you by the way endorse Hansen’s damn silly ideas about sequestration which Greenpeace are against? Silly statements happen on both sides of the divide.

    [Which ideas? Always best to provide a specific link. You might like -W]

  8. #8 fergus

    Muggy dear chap,
    Unless I was intending to do some research, i wouldn’t waste busy scientists’ time asking them for spurious information (and certain people had better not chip in here). Strangely, I have no problem in accepting that, if computer software or input data is found to need adjustment, that the people who are experts are competent so to do.

    Why do some people persist in pretending to mistrust the official keepers of climate data? The only motive is to try to create distrust of the data itself. In the face of the self-evident, persisting with an attempt to claim that the trend indicated by the data does not exist can only by motivated by malice or stupidity.


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