Geological Society of Australia – “..unable to publish a position statement on climate change..”

The Australian reports – Earth scientists split on climate change statement
[AUSTRALIA’S peak body of earth scientists has declared itself unable to publish a position statement on climate change due to the deep divisions within its membership on the issue.
After more than five years of debate and two false starts, Geological Society of Australia president Laurie Hutton said a statement on climate change was too difficult to achieve.
The backdown, published in the GSA quarterly newsletter, is the culmination of two rejected position statements and years of furious correspondence among members. Some members believe the failure to make a strong statement on climate change is an embarrassment that puts Australian earth scientists at odds with their international peers.
It undermines the often cited stance that there is near unanimity among climate scientists on the issue.]
My take is that a majority of members could agree OK on a basic statement about climatic changes throughout geological history. But this would not be IPCC compliant – hence the decision by the GSA to remain mute.
I heard an attempt was made five years ago to take an IPCC derived position and the resulting membership outcry has taken all this time before the zealots gave up. There are other professional bodies.

8 thoughts on “Geological Society of Australia – “..unable to publish a position statement on climate change..””

  1. I’ve posted some of the backstory at both JoNova and Bishop Hill

    Re-posted from BH (unsure of web etiquette here):

    I had been a member of the GSA for about 30 continuous years, until 2009

    The then GSA “Executive” (6 people of academic persuasion) suddenly decreed publicly that the GSA regarded CAGW as demonstrated, implying that the GSA membership as a whole supported this position. The Executive had NOT polled the membership or forewarned said membership

    When such a poll was quite vigorously requested, the Executive replied that it was within its’ jurisdictional competence to issue binding statements without such a poll. This caused quite a commotion, but the Executive stuck to its’ position. It all turned quite nasty, Letters to the Editor of the monthly magazine (TAG) went unpublished but a continuous, supercilious editorial comment line was published. Letters sent to popular newspapers were re-published in TAG as supportive “evidence” but unpublished letters to the TAG magazine from members were derided as “pathos”. It all became very, very nasty

    I quit the GSA at that point (after 30 years) on the basis that if the “Executive” was able to pronounce binding statements without polling its’ membership, it could so without my annual fees as well

    That the wheel seems to have turned at this stage is a good thing, but I do not trust the CAGW activists within the GSA not to have another go. Although their bully-boy tactics created the mess, they still believe this works … well, it did for over 5 years

  2. So much for 97% consensus.LOL
    ““As evidenced by recent letters to the editor … society members have diverse opinions on the human impact on climate change. However, diversity of opinion can also be divisive, especially when such views are strongly held.”..

    “The society has roughly 2002 members Australia-wide, and “the concentration of the membership appears to be employed in the minerals industry and in tertiary institutions, closely followed by consulting and state surveys”, its website says.”

    Credit to those brave members like Ianl888 who have stood their ground at their right to express their own professional viewpoint.

    and congratulations to the GCA executive for finally telling how it is. The science is NOT setled

  3. The 97% consensus is among climate scientists and research done into anthropological climate change. The GSA includes other fields, of course. As weathercycles said, many “appears to be employed in the minerals industry” which may suggest a conflict of interest…

    It is interesting that the title is “unable to publish a position statement on climate change”. I wonder what the majority of the GSA members’ thoughts on climate change actually is. With global trends of rising average global temperature, atmospheric CO2 content not only rising but for the first time in recorded geological history rising AHEAD of the temperature curve, and with “Extreme Ice Survey” guys showing the decline of the worlds glaciers, I wonder that anyone can deny our planet is warming.

    Interesting that in Australia for example, the Prime Minister is denying climate change yet the South Australian state government is warning some coastal communities that their properties could be lost due to rising ocean levels in as little as 50 years, and is even considering making it compulsory to declare this to any potential buyers.

  4. @Classics

    >the Prime Minister is denying climate change<

    That's an outright lie, but unsurprising

    Climate has been changing for 4.5bn years. Abbott does not deny that, nor do I and many others. Geologists map the evidence for this in the rocks on a daily basis

    The question you have evaded is whether AGW is significant. An increase in "Global Temperature" of 0.7-0.8C in 150 years suggests not. Feedbacks, either positive or negative, remain very uncertain and undemonstrated

  5. Do not know what happened to my previous post on this subject. Maybe, a hacker has put in a block.
    I wrote that that Ianl8888’s first comment was interesting. I also mentioned that there was considerable discussion at AusIMM about a potential statement on AGW but the weight of opinion from senior members and fellows that a statement in favour was not appropriate as facts showed that natural changes had occurred in the past and that there there was nothing special about present times. (I have to confess that I am a Fellow and was opposed to any statement)
    AusIMM has many professional geologists and other earth scientists plus many professional working in the mining and mineral processing industry (such as mining engineers, chemical engineers, metallurgists, environmental scientists, financial analysts and company directors). Heads of some of Australia’s biggest companies for over one hundred years (eg BHP, CRZ, EZ WMC etc) have been Fellows and Presidents. Sir Robert Menzies was an honorary Fellow. Prof Ian Pilmer, a fellow, was awarded the Sir Willis Connolly Medal.
    Ian, I am sure that you realise that “Claasics” does not have a clue about geology, has zero understanding of heat transfer or weather& climate. He appears to be a typical troll.

  6. Has no one noticed. This is s statement from geologists yet the Australian days It undermines the often cited stance that there is near unanimity among climate scientists on the issue.’ Geologists are not climate scientists just as the reverse is true! Illogical. ..

  7. Geologists have been experts on paleoclimates long before “climatology” recently became a boom profession under influence of IPCC compliant science.

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