Guest CNN-bashing by David Middleton (a geologist)
I ran across this April 2018 article while looking for something else. I totally missed this episode of Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Secretary Zinke’s stance on climate change is one of several reasons the Climatariat News Network decided that he was being dishonest in describing himself as a geologist…
Ryan Zinke refers to himself as a geologist. That’s a job he’s never held.
By Sara Ganim, CNN
Updated 12:08 PM ET, Tue April 17, 2018
Washington (CNN) Defending his decision to shrink the Bears Ears national monument to lawmakers last week, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke fell back one of his favorite credentials.
“I’m a geologist,” he said. “I can assure you that oil and gas in Bears Ears was not part of my decision matrix. A geologist will tell you there is little, if any, oil and gas.”
CNN should have stopped right there… But it’s CNN.
In May, he criticized the work of the US Geological Survey, saying at a press conference in Alaska that “I think the assessments of the USGS has done previous, I think they fall short, from a geologist’s point of view.”
Good thing he hired my friend and former coworker Jim Reilly to run the USGS. That said, past history shows us that government agencies always grossly underestimate what the oil industry will find and produce. Alaska’s North Slope has already produced 16 billion barrels of petroleum liquids. Currently developed areas will ultimately produce a total of about 30 billion barrels. The government’s original forecast for the North Slope’s total production was 10 billion barrels. The current USGS estimate for undiscovered oil in the Bakken play of Montana & North Dakota is 25 times larger than the same agency’s 1995 estimate. In 1987, the MMS (now the BOEM) undiscovered resource estimate for the Gulf of Mexico was 9 billion barrels. Today it is 45 billion barrels.
The MMS increased the estimate of undiscovered oil in the Gulf of Mexico from 9 billion barrels in 1987 to the current 45 billion barrels because we discovered a helluva a lot more than 9 billion barrels in the Gulf over the last 20 years. Almost all of the large US fields discovered since 1988 were discovered in the deepwater of the Gulf of Mexico. In 1988, it was unclear whether or not the deepwater plays would prove to be economic.
Zinke, however, has never held a job as a geologist.
And? From the 1976, edition of the American Geological Institute’s Dictionary of Geological Terms…
One versed in geology, or engaged in geological study or investigation.
Nothing in there about having a job in geology.
Maybe CNN didn’t read their own article…
Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift provided this statement to CNN: “Ryan Zinke graduated with honors with a B.S. in Geology.
So did I! Well, my B.S. was in Earth Science, with a geology concentration. After graduating, I came this close (holds fingers very close together) to joining the U.S. Air Force… But, I decided to first see if I could find a job as a geologist in the oil industry. Funny thing, my first employer hired me as a geophysicist because I minored in math… Go figure.
Former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell is also a geologist. He was even one of the keynote speakers at the NAPE Global Business Summit in 2017. NAPE is a YUGE oil industry trade show. It was originally known as the North American Prospect Expo, but it got bigger.
Colin Powell Tells NAPE Audience of Ways to Decentralize Energy
by Deon Daugherty | Rigzone Staff | Friday, February 17, 2017
A non-practicing geologist, retired four-star general and former Secretary of State Colin Powell still understood the important of oil and gas throughout his star-spangled career.
“As a national security advisor, Secretary of State and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, energy was an important component of that work. Not only the use of energy to fuel a military organization, but the geopolitical aspects of energy,” he told a charity luncheon audience gathered for the NAPE Global Business Summit in Houston.
I guess, since Secretary Powell supported Obama, CNN is cool with him being described as a geologist.
Back to CNN…
Interior did not answer if Zinke is or has been a member of the American Institute of Professional Geologists or the Association of State Boards of Geologists.
Neither have I. Nor do I think I even know any geologists who are members of the American Institute of Professional Geologists or the Association of State Boards of Geologists. I do know lots of geologists and geophysicists who belong to the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and/or the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. Not that membership in professional societies are requirements to be a geologist.
Back to CNN…
Several geologists who CNN has spoken with have flagged his comments as disingenuous, saying that someone with a 34-year-old degree who never worked in the field is not considered a geologist.
Several? How many? Who? Anonymous sources… Shocking! (/SARC)
Now we get to the crux of the Climatariat News Network’s beef…
“He seems not to be familiar with modern geologic knowledge,” said Seth Stein, a professor at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. “In particular, geologists now know that the climate is warming rapidly because of human activities. This is is causing many serious problems including rising sea level, which is a major threat to coastal communities.”
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and Institute for Policy Research… WTF is that? A department of science and non-science? A search for “institute for policy research” on the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences website yielded…
Your search for institute for policy research did not match any documents.
Dr. Stein is a geophysicist, not a geologist, who specialties are plate tectonics and earthquakes… Yet he’s qualified to say that Secretary Zinke “seems not to be familiar with modern geologic knowledge, In particular, geologists now know that the climate is warming rapidly because of human activities. This is is causing many serious problems including rising sea level, which is a major threat to coastal communities.”
Really? Geologists *know* these things? That’s news to most of us.
In the last century, growth in human population has increased energy use. This has contributed additional carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases to the atmosphere. Although the AAPG membership is divided on the degree of influence that anthropogenic CO2 has on recent and potential global temperature increases, AAPG believes that expansion of scientific climate research into the basic controls on climate is important.
Geologists study the history of the earth and realize climate has changed often in the past due to natural causes. The earth’s climate naturally varies continually, in both directions, at varying rates, and on many scales. In recent decades global temperatures have risen. However, our planet has been far warmer and cooler today than many times in the geologic past, even within the past 10,000 years.
Certain climate simulation models predict that the warming trend will continue, as reported through National Academy of Sciences, American Geophysical Union, American Academy for the Advancement of Science, and American Meteorological Society. AAPG respects these scientific opinions but wants to add that the current climate warming projections could fall within well-documented natural variations in past climate and observed temperature data. These data do not necessarily support the maximum-case scenarios forecast in some models.
Geologists now know that the climate is warming rapidly…
Because of human activities…
This is is causing many serious problems including rising sea level…
Which is a major threat to coastal communities…
The only communities threatened by sea level rise are communities already threatened by sea level.