Climate Change Deniers in Texas Classrooms

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Climate change deniers have found their way into textbooks in the Lone Star State.

A sixth grade textbook leaves school children in Texas to debate the question “Is Global Warming a Result of Human Activity?” The only problem is 97 percent of scientists already agree that humans are to blame. So the question becomes highly misleading for the sixth graders that will soon be dealing with the issue head on.

This new textbook has been flagged by the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) for misleading students. The book compares viewpoints from the Heartland Institute, an advocacy group backed by the Koch Brothers and Big Tobacco among others (and well known climate change deniers), to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a Nobel prize winning scientific body. In fact, Heartland Institute famously did an advertisement comparing those that contend global climate change is human-made to psychopaths.

Heartland Institute makes its way into science textbooks:

Scientists who study the issue say it is impossible to tell if the recent small warming trend is natural, a continuation of the planet’s recovery from the more recent “Little Ice Age,” or unnatural, the result of human greenhouse gas emissions. Thousands of peer-­‐reviewed articles point to natural sources of climate variability that could explain some or even all of the warming in the second half of the twentieth century. S. Fred Singer and Dennis Avery documented natural climate cycles of approximately 1,500 years going back hundreds of thousands of years.

—Joseph Bast and James M. Taylor, “Global Warming: Not a Crisis,” The Heartland Institute”

Where are these thousands of peer reviewed articles? I’ve never seen them. A fifth grade textbook had similar concerns. Like this frightening blurb:

Scientists believe the Earth is absorbing more of the sun’s harmful rays….Some scientists say it is natural for the Earth’s temperature to be higher for a few years. They predict we’ll have some cooler years and things will even out.

The Earth’s temperature will even out? It’s natural for the Earth’s temperature to be higher for a few years? In none of the research that I’ve seen has there ever been any mention of the Earth’s temperature evening out. And then there are the embarrassing inaccuracies.

Fossil fuel emissions have also caused a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica.

Whoops..that’s just wrong. In fact, fossil fuel combustion does not cause holes in the ozone layer, rather, they are caused by CFCs.

This from one of the largest public school systems in the country. Yikes.

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Image: Ed Schipul