CAMPAIGNS to inject ideologically-driven climate science denial into schools are moving up a notch or two.
In Australia, we’ve had mining entrepreneur and geologist Professor Ian Plimer’s book released late last year, supported by free-market think-tank The Institute for Public Affairs and targeting school children and teachers.
In the US, the recent unauthorised release of fundraising documents from the free-market think tank The Heartland Institute revealed a plan to spend at least $100,000 to design a climate science curriculum for schools from Kindergarten to Grade 12 which would focus on the “controversy” of climate science.
On the back of this revelation, the Climate Reality project has released a one-minute video that imagines what school students might say about climate science if plans such as Heartland’s (or Professor Plimer’s for that matter) were to come to fruition.
Yet in reality, it’s a campaign which has already started.
Just today, The Guardian reports on how climate science misinformer Tom Harris, of the secretly-funded and deceptiveley-titled International Climate Science Coalition, managed to get a spot teaching climate to first year university students. A study of Harris’ course contents “found 142 false, biased and misleading claims”.
In 2008, the Heartland Institute, which claims Harris as an “expert“, helped to distribute a DVD designed to fit into school curriculums.
This 13-minute film features fresh-faced student narrator Beth, telling her peers how CO2 might not be to blame for climate change and how it could all be down to solar activity.
At the end of the DVD, Beth concludes: “From what I’ve heard the cost to reduce CO2 will be enormous and, as the scientists said, this may not be the cause. We could create disaster for poor countries and hardship for all of us and not change the pattern of warming and cooling.”
This is a common refrain from free market groups like Heartland and the IPA. It is an entirely politicised phrase, placed strategically into school classrooms yet representing a fringe view of the science.
The film features fossil fuel-funded scientist Dr Willie Soon, who claims to the audience that the UN’s Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change is “corrupted”.
Also backing the DVD was a little-known US funding group called Donors Capital Fund which, together with its associated group Donors Trust, has been spending millions to help spread climate denial and run campaigns to block greenhouse gas legislation, while keeping its donors and any vested interests hidden from public view. I’ve just written a post for DeSmogBlog which explains the role of this group more clearly.
You can see the Heartland-backed DVD here. It is Climate Reality’s fictional nightmare, writ large.