Heartland on education: they’d like to teach the world to lie

By Gareth Renowden 26/02/2012

This is the Climate Reality Project‘s response to plans by the Heartland Institute to create a ’Global Warming Curriculum for K-12 Schools’ in the USA that ’isn’t alarmist or overtly political’, as revealed in the recently leaked documents. Heartland wants to “teach the controversy” about global warming, and has budgeted US$200,000 for the project. The CRP video is very effective, but if you think that Climate Reality might be slightly over-egging the pudding — that perhaps even Heartland wouldn’t go that far — then have I got news for you. The indomitable John Mashey has released a special report on Heartland’s history of attempts to get its distortions of climate science taught in schools — he’s dubbed it Fakeducation — and it stretches back over a decade.

In an attempt to counter the success of An Inconvenient Truth, Heartland released a DVD called Global Warming: Emerging Science and Understanding, together with supporting teaching materials, and a web site: globalwarmingclassroom.info. There’s a trailer for the DVD here, and further excerpts available here. They are remarkable for cramming just about every item in the climate crank catechism of cliché into just a few minutes, but it’s the teaching materials that I find most interesting. Virtually nothing in them is true. In fact, you could argue that Heartland was aiming to teach children to lie.

Take a look at the first “lesson plan” designed to accompany the DVD. These are the lesson goals:

  1. Students know the different atmospheric gases that absorb the Earth’s thermal radiation and the mechanism and significance of the greenhouse effect.
  2. The students will learn how the earth’s temperature is highly variable and that it has been stable or declining in recent years while carbon dioxide continues to increase.
  3. The student’s will learn that temperature precedes change’s in carbon dioxide, not the other way around as previously thought.
  4. The students will learn that when all of the emerging science is considered, man-caused global warming is not a forgone conclusion agreed upon by all scientists. There is great debate within the scientific community.

Also in lesson one:

Massive Data Fraud in NOAA and NASA: […] The data used by NOAA and NASA is shown to have excluded temperature data from northern latitudes and high elevations since 1980 which automatically shows greatly increased temperatures that supposedly shows great man-caused global warming. Also discusses Britain’s Climate Research Unit’s (CRU) massive data manipulation called Climategate.

Oh really? Does systematic libel of scientific organisations really belong in the classroom?

The list of “discussion questions” to be raised after viewing the video is frankly amazing. Everyone knows that deniers are obsessed with hockey sticks, but this is what Heartland wanted the children of North America to learn:

MBH98 or ’The Hockey Stick Curve’ is widely used by environmentalists and the United Nations to support global warming, but the paper was never audited by peers. Why is it important for research to be audited by peers?

Auditing holds people accountable for their work and looks for errors. Simple errors can cause data to be wrong and lead to false assumptions. Tragically, many of these scientists will not allow other scientists to look at their data. That is what happened with the Hockey Stick Curve controversy.

MBH98 never “audited by peers”? Presumably they mean that Monckton has never read it…

Lesson plan two, is if anything, even worse. Here are the learning goals:

  1. Students will learn that most scientists agree that policy should be based upon empirical, scientific evidence and not on political agendas.
  2. The students will learn that the United Nations’ IPCC, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is a political body and not a scientific one. And they will learn that the “Summary for Policy Makers” published by the IPCC was actually written months before the actual document. Furthermore, that in writing the Summary, available scientific evidence was ignored when it contradicted the agenda of the Panel.
  3. Students will learn that General Circulation Models, GCM’s, are not reliable because the actual climate systems that they attempt to calculate and simulate are far too complex.
  4. Students will learn that because of the complexities of the earth’s climate, the patterns generated by the GCM’s do not always line up with the actual observed climate patterns. The “fingerprints” don’t match.

And once more the “discussion” section is packed with falsehoods. Here’s a question about the IPCC’s Summary For Policmakers:

When is the summary issued? When is the document issued?

It is written before the actual document that the scientists write. It is published months before the body of the document is written.

Which is, of course, completely untrue.

Given the tenuous relationship between reality and what Heartland thought the kids of America should know about climate science, it’s perhaps not surprising that in the leaked Heartland “fundraising” document, the lobby group laments that its previous attempts to infiltrate schools “had only limited success.”

Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective. Moreover, material for classroom use must be carefully written to meet curriculum guidelines…

Of course, reality has a well known liberal bias. That’s why Heartland’s new curriculum project is going to set them back US$200,000. They’re going to have to be just a tad more subtle than last time, not least because now the whole world’s watching.

[Blearggh – for all sorts of reasons, most of them having to do with good taste.]