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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12

Posted on 24 March 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. 

Editor's Pick

Mailings to Teachers Highlight a Political Fight Over Climate Change in the Classroom


Last spring, science teachers across the nation began receiving unsolicited packages containing classroom materials from a libertarian group that rejects the scientific consensus on climate change.

This spring, some of the same teachers are opening packages containing very different materials: A book written by a Cornell University affiliate called “The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change,” which embraces the prevailing science, explains the phenomenon in detail and includes recommendations for how to teach the subject to children.

This rare back-and-forth of direct mailings to teachers demonstrates how classrooms have emerged as a battleground in the American political war over climate change. While those who reject mainstream climate science have long advocated their view in Washington and statehouses across the country, their efforts to influence educators – and the counter-efforts from the science community – shows the extent to which the minds of children are also being targeted. 

Mailings to Teachers Highlight a Political Fight Over Climate Change in the Classroom by Katie Worth, Frontline, PBS, Mar 23, 2018

Links posted on Facebook

Sun Mar 18, 2018

Mon Mar 19, 2018

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Sat Mar 24, 2018

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Comments 1 to 3:

  1. Current day Libertarians, Utilitarians, and Free-Market Fans can be expected to try to keep people from being more aware and better educated regarding climate science and the required corrections of what has developed.

    The constantly improving climate science understanding of the harmful consequences of the developed addictions to burning fossil fuels are undeniable. But 'smart' people who do not like that to be better understood have acted in a variety of ways to delay the education of the population, delay the development of increased awareness and better understanding. They prefer to try to claim that burning fossil fuels has been such a good thing that it must not be rapidly curtailed. They claim that future generations will develop 'solutions to undo the harm and challenges created'. And they will even try to claim that the unsustainable developed perceptions of prosperity will continue to grow making the future even better as long as they can be freer to believe and do as they please, doing what they can understand is harmful and unsustainable.

    In "On Liberty", John Stuart Mill warned about the harmful consequences of those type of people Winning. He states that societies have the means to properly educate their entire populations, including correcting any incorrect learning of older people, and warns that "If society lets a considerable number of its members grow up mere children, incapable of being acted on by rational consideration of distant motives, society has itself to blame for the consequences."

    Mill's warning especially applies to the need for the entire population to be 'educated or corrected' to appreciate the need to be as aware and understanding of what is Really Going On as possible and encourage actions that are helpful to others, especially future generations, and discourage actions that are harmful. Regrettably, many current day Libertarians only selectively remember parts of the understanding that was shared by Mill's all those years ago.

    The real travesty is that the criticism/warning of the types of developments likely to be created by people freer to believe and do as they please, especially the harm they will try to get away with inflicting on future generations, was publicly declared for all global leaders to be aware and understand in the 1987 UN Report "Our Common Future" with the following blunt and accurate statement:

    "25. Many present efforts to guard and maintain human progress, to meet human needs, and to realize human ambitions are simply unsustainable - in both the rich and poor nations. They draw too heavily, too quickly, on already overdrawn environmental resource accounts to be affordable far into the future without bankrupting those accounts. They may show profit on the balance sheets of our generation, but our children will inherit the losses. We borrow environmental capital from future generations with no intention or prospect of repaying. They may damn us for our spendthrift ways, but they can never collect on our debt to them. We act as we do because we can get away with it: future generations do not vote; they have no political or financial power; they cannot challenge our decisions.
    26. But the results of the present profligacy are rapidly closing the options for future generations. Most of today's decision makers will be dead before the planet feels; the heavier effects of acid precipitation, global warming, ozone depletion, or widespread desertification and species loss. Most of the young voters of today will still be alive. In the Commission's hearings it was the young, those who have the most to lose, who were the harshest critics of the planet's present management."

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  2. Curriculums need to be kept reasonably simple and uncluttered. Most of what comes out of the Heartland Institute and similar organisations is rubbishy self interested pseudo science, and will confuse children and add unnecessary complexity to the curriculum. 

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  3. Consider the source:  Heartland telling your kid that fossil fuels is no big deal on his climate, is like Philip Morris telling him that cigarette smoking is no big deal on his lungs.

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