Responses to “Are There Benefits to Climate Change?”

Responses to “Are There Benefits to Climate Change?”

Space doesn’t allow us to include all the responses to last month’s article covering Gregory Wrightstone’s talk at the Unconventional Resources Technology Conference, “How Rising Temperatures and Increasing CO2 Are Benefitting the Planet and the Human Condition,” nor some of the responses in their entirety. So, I want to apologize to everyone whose comments are not included here or are included but abridged. If anyone wants to see all of the responses thus far in their entirety, or to add your own, I direct you to the online version of the article at EXPLORER.AAPG.org.

Some of the responses were positive, but many were critical – critical of Wrightstone’s position and his supporting arguments, but also critical of the EXPLORER (i.e., me as the editor) for giving him coverage in the first place.

Some of those criticisms were fair. Others, in my opinion, were less so.

The assumption behind many of them appeared to be that our coverage somehow amounted to an endorsement of Wrightstone’s position.

For the record, none of our coverage of any issue or any given perspective on an issue should be taken as an endorsement – explicit or implicit – of that perspective.

Also, the EXPLORER is – quite emphatically – not a scientific journal. Our content is not peer-reviewed.

And that is a feature of the EXPLORER, not a flaw.

Our other flagship publication, the AAPG Bulletin, is a scientific journal. The Bulletin exists to publish peer-reviewed scientific content. If the EXPLORER also did that, one of us would be redundant.

No, the EXPLORER exists for an entirely different purpose. We provide news about Earth science, the industry and the Association, so our mission is different and unrelated to that of a scientific publication. While journalism and science have a great deal in common (or should, at least, when they’re done correctly), they are entirely different endeavors with different standards, purposes and methods.

That said, as the managing editor of the EXPLORER, it isn’t my place to weigh the scientific merits of Gregory Wrightstone’s arguments about the purported benefits of climate change, nor the scientific merits of anyone else’s position on climate change or any other issue. Naturally, I do have to weigh the news-worthiness of any given topic, but just because I deem it worthy of coverage does not amount to an endorsement or an evaluation of its scientific merits. That’s your job, as individual readers. My job is to give you the opportunity to do so, and I would be remiss in my duties if I did not.

I understand that Wrightstone’s position is not a popular one, and I fully understood when I assigned the article to our correspondent, Ken Milam, that some readers would take exception to his arguments. That’s no reason not to cover it, though. That’s actually one of the best reasons for covering it – not to stir the pot or to publish click-bait by provoking controversy, but to give our readers the opportunity to evaluate his position for themselves.

Some remarked that the article was too one-sided, and that we should present “a balanced discussion of this complex issue.”

I agree wholeheartedly, but one of the difficulties of covering such a complex issue is that it simply isn’t possible to give due attention to all sides of it in a single sitting. That would be a daunting challenge even in the span of an entire book, much more a lone magazine article.

We have included coverage of other perspectives on climate change in the pages of the EXPLORER before, though – some that reinforced the standard narrative, some that challenged it. And, we intend to continue doing so. This was something we considered before running this article. We know that as Earth scientists, our readers care very deeply about the Earth and the environment, which is why we cover this topic and we know that, as scientists, our readers want to know the data from all perspectives before coming to conclusions.

Next month, I plan to include a rebuttal to Wrightstone’s arguments from one of our Visiting Geoscientists, Ray Leonard. We appreciate the discussion and debate that this has driven among our readership.

Brian Ervin
EXPLORER Managing Editor

Comments (4)

Dig Deeper

How many of us read one article and decide it must be truth? Probably none of us- we are well educated scientists who thrive on data. I was intrigued to see a completely different narrative on climate change than that of the prevailing majority, the more information the better regardless of side. There were points brought up that I had not considered before and if we are to have an opinion we should base it on all available sources- not just the ones we want to hear. It is up to us as Explorer readers and geoscientists to dig deeper after reading an article like “Are there Benefits..” and figure out whether or not we draw similar conclusions from the studies he presented.

9/10/2018 11:36:16 AM

Lora Breeden

Follow the data

This was a great article by AAPG. Wrightstone is following the data and he isn’t the only one. It’s not like he is making this up, a number climate scientists, geologists and other scientists have been debunking some of the most basic concepts of climate change for years. Cruise the references in his book, keep an open mind and follow the data.

9/8/2018 10:01:21 AM

Kyle Larson

Finally the Climate Change Dogma is Challenged

AAPG should be pushing hard against the climate change dogma that has infected academia. For too long, dissent has been crushed by the power of the dogmatists to deny funding for any view different than their own. This is not science at work; it is group-think of the worst kind. It is hard to break the hegemony of the climate science mono-culture but every effort to crack the “consensus” facade is valuable. Thank you Explorer for doing so.

9/7/2018 4:25:28 PM

Michael Nelson

Explorer Response to “Are There Benefits to Climate Change”

It’s good to see the Explorer and AAPG address the article titled “Are there benefits to climate change”. I am glad to see that they will publish some form of rebuttal next month. However, there are some comments from the editor that do please need addressing. The Explorer is not a peer-reviewed medium. However, this does not mean that the Explorer should be publishing claims that are demonstrably false or selectively cherry-picked to misinform. As has been pointed out here, using evidence and peer-reviewed sources (https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1031389759275298816.html), the majority of the Explorer article was demonstrably false. A lack of peer-review does not excuse Explorer’s writers and editors from undertaking fact checking on what it presents. It is distressing to see such obvious falsehoods published in Explorer and simply dismissed with ‘well, its not peer-reviewed’. The editor states that “It simply isn’t possible to give due attention to all sides of it in a single sitting”. This is true. There is evidence from >100000 peer-reviewed papers that has resulted in the anthropogenic global warming theory, a theory that has been openly endorsed by every major science agency and organisation in the world (with AAPG as a notable exclusion). However, that doesn’t mean that AAPG cannot try to educate its members on actual climate science. Rather than a single rebuttal, why can’t AAPG Explorer present a regular series on the topic? Why not a short piece each issue explaining AGW, and some of the common fallacies and myths, to its members? After all, for every scientist like Gregory Wrightstone, there are >30 who disagree with his views. I don’t see AAPG giving such ‘equal balance’ to those disputing plate tectonics or abiotic hydrocarbons – why would AAPG do it on climate? AAPG members can learn from climate science. I sincerely hope AAPG elects to educate, rather than misinform, and will publish factual science on this important topic in the future

9/2/2018 8:58:38 PM

Mark Tingay

By | 2018-09-12T08:15:35+00:00 September 12th, 2018|Articles, Environment, Science & Technology|

About the Author:

Gregory Wrightstone is a geologist with more than 35 years of experience researching and studying various aspects of the Earth's processes.