Interview: Scientist Explains Geologists’ Vote Against Climate Alarmism

Published July 13, 2010

Member scientists of the American Institute of Professional Geologists’ Ohio Section (AIPG-OH) have voted by an overwhelming majority to state scientific evidence does not support the theory that humans are causing a global warming crisis. The vote was taken last year as Congress considered the Waxman-Markey global warming bill. The House passed the bill, and the Senate has yet to take action on it.

The AIPG-OH position statement, drafted by the AIPG-OH executive committee after the membership vote, states in part:

“The Ohio Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists does hereby oppose House Bill H.R. 2454, the Markey-Waxman ‘cap & trade’ bill. The bill is based on the premise that human production of CO2 gas is responsible for “global warming” and that “global warming poses a significant threat to the national security, economy, public health and welfare, and environment of the United States and other countries” (H.R. 2454, Title VII, Part A, Section 701). The Ohio Section of AIPG professes that there is no scientific evidence supporting this premise. We therefore reject the bill’s aforementioned, unsupported premise. Subsequently, we also reject the bill’s alarmist claims and unprecedented, economy-wide, government-control proposals” [emphasis in original].

James M. Taylor, managing editor of Environment & Climate News, recently interviewed Bill Shafer, a past president of the Ohio Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists, regarding the scientific evidence and the Ohio Section’s vote.

Taylor: What motivated the Ohio Section to address this issue and oppose global warming legislation?
Shafer: The Ohio Section took action when the membership first read H.R. 2454, the “cap-and-trade” bill. The bill’s authors apparently picked language out of the various popular anthropogenic climate change theories and placed them into the bill as actionable facts. The bill depends on this assumption.

The president of the Section and other members and the Section’s executive committee felt the bill required an immediate, science-based response to assist our state and national legislators. The Section opposition was specifically against the anthropogenic climate change declarations in the bill.
Generally, the Ohio Section believes climate change has been, is, and will be a natural, ongoing process. Recent world temperatures, up to the last 10 or so years ago, have been warming—as may be expected in an interglacial period. The Section’s issue was with the unique congressional claim, that measurable global warming since the Industrial Revolution has been caused by human activities and, therefore, human activities control global climate. The Section disputed this claim based upon the most recent science-based global-climate measurements and related science summaries.

The Ohio Section believes the congressional claim has no proof-in-fact. The Section had to respond quickly to the public and the Congress since the president of the United States demanded that this exceedingly complicated, intricate, and convoluted bill be passed by the House of Representatives in one month from first publication. It is apparent that this unusual executive demand placed the national electorate at a considerable disadvantage. The Section responded as soon as possible by transparent, democratic, processes within its area of expertise.

Taylor: What level of agreement did the membership reach on the position statement? 
Shafer: The membership voted on the issue: “Are you for or against H.R. 2454 Markey-Waxman Cap and Trade Bill?” Seventy-seven percent of the membership opposed the bill. A small, vocal minority opposed the Section’s majority position. The Section’s Position Paper was then drafted.

The drafting of the Position Paper was confined to a proper science-summary of the reported science facts that opposed the bill. Two authors were designated to write the Position Paper. The crafted Position Paper was presented to the Ohio Section’s Executive Committee for comment. According to a memorandum to members, “The Position Paper opposes the Bill based on an absence of evidence supporting the Bill’s major premise.”

An 88 percent majority vote was cast by the Executive Committee approving the content of the Ohio Section’s Position Paper, including its public distribution.

Taylor: Since the Ohio Section released the position statement, have you received many media inquiries on the statement, and have the media been eager to report what your member scientists believe?

Shafer: We have not received any media attention and very little direct response from any of the legislators contacted. The few legislative responses received appear to be out of date; they were prepared general statements concentrating on other issues of international commerce. They seem to miss the clearly enunciated points made by the Ohio Section Position Paper.

The media not only appear disinterested in other points of view, but they seem agitated that another well-founded competing point of view is available. They appear to be unwilling to investigate the spectrum of supporting science information. The Section majority is surprised regarding this attitude, especially from legislators who do not favor the “cap-and-trade” mechanism as it is now apparently understood. They seem to overlook the very critically flawed major premise upon which the bill is founded. The major premise is an unproven theory. It is no better than a prejudiced guess.   

We do believe that the passage of time will greatly enhance the Ohio Section Position Paper. The Ohio Section has provided the public a position to stand on.

Internet Info

Ohio Section of American Institute of Professional Geologists, Position Statement, Markey-Waxman “Cap & Trade” House Bill H.R. 2454: