Today’s climate change debate is stoked by news of a “leaked” attempt by the so-called Heartland Institute to create a K-12 curriculum on climate change that appears to undermine the generally accepted science.
Discover’s Bad Astronomy blog says the documents appear to be legit:
[Dr. Wojick’s] effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.
That seems clear enough, doesn’t it? From that, it sure sounds like they want to dissuade teachers from teaching science. I imagine there will be a lot of spin about how this quote is out of context, or a typo, or something alone those lines. Perhaps. But I remember all the hammering real scientists took when they used jargon in their emails to each other, jargon which was gleefully misinterpreted to make it seem as if these scientists were faking data. Interesting how this is pointing right back at them. Just as I said it does.
When it comes to all this, the comparison to “Climategate” springs to mind, but there’s one enormous difference: Climategate was manufactured, a made-up controversy (what I call a manufactroversy) that had no real teeth — as was its failed sequel. The emails released weren’t damning at all, and didn’t show scientists tinkering with or faking data. As much as the media made of it, as much as climate change denial blogs played them up, it has been shown again and again that Climategate was all sound and fury, signifying nothing.
These new documents, though, look different, especially given that quote above. The next few days should be very interesting as people start digging into them, especially if they prove to be authentic.
In a memo, the group says it’s creating the curriculum because principals and teachers have adopted “the alarmist perspective,” which — if this memo is legit — is a phrase used as a substitute for another one — “science.”
The site, Deep Climate, carries segments of the report that identify potential friendly media personalities to spread the word:
Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow highprofile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own. This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out. Efforts might also include cultivating more neutral voices with big audiences (such as Revkin at DotEarth/NYTimes, who has a well-known antipathy for some of the more extreme AGW communicators such as Rornm, Trenberth, and Hansen) or Curry (who has become popular with our supporters). We have also pledged to help raise around $90,000 in 2012 for Anthony Watts to help him create a new website to track temperature station data.
Not yet clear in the still-developing controversy is how widespread it is that curricula created by outside organizations are adopted by schools, and what science is applied to vetting them (if any).