Earth Scientists Split On Climate Change Statement

  • Date: 04/06/14
  • Graham Lloyd, The Australian

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.

Mr Hutton said the issue “had the potential to be too divisive and would not serve the best interests of the society as a whole.”

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.

GSA represents more than 2000 Australian earth scientists from academe, industry, government and research organisations. [...]

In a short statement published in the latest edition of the society newsletter, Mr Hutton says: “After a long and extensive and extended consultation with society members, the GSC executive committee has decided not to proceed with a climate change position statement.’’

“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 executive committee has therefore concluded that a climate change position statement has the potential to be far too divisive and would not serve the best interests of the society as a whole ,” the statement says.

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