The climate change deniers at the Koch brothers-backed Heartland Institute have apparently mailed a lengthy report challenging established climate science to 25,000 educators across the nation. The report, entitled “Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming,” has been challenged as climate “propaganda” by the National Science Teachers Association. The goal of the Heartland Institute’s campaign is to continue to mail out the 135-page report until it reaches the hands of 200,000 teachers across the country.
If you’d like to read the report, it’s available freely online, but here are a few of the highlights. The report opens by arguing that the science of climate change “is not settled,” despite the fact that multiple studies have found the vast majority of scientists agree that human-caused global warming is real and a serious threat. Study after study has shown that 97% of researchers surveyed are in consensus on this.
It also bashes the science of climate models, claiming that because the certain aspects of the climate are not completely understood, that it’s impossible to predict how global temperatures will change over time. Over at Gizmodo, climate scientist Patrick Brown of the Carnegie Institution for Science explains, “Scientists are constantly working to try to improve these models and reduce uncertainty. This is all done openly and honestly in the peer-reviewed literature.”
There’s a lot more inaccurate information packed into this report, including the claim that changing global temperatures are all just part of Earth’s “natural variability” and that global warming could be caused by the sun instead of CO2 emissions (in case it needs to be said, this is not true). The authors even go so far as to claim that evidence of climate change is “unreliable” and that there’s no proven correlation between melting sea ice and rising temperatures.
Finally, it closes with conspiracy theories claiming that climate scientists are corrupt and driven by a political agenda rather than accurate science. That’s rich coming from an organization backed by fossil fuel companies like Exxonmobil, although perhaps not terribly surprising.
While science teachers who receive the booklet will be able to easily see through the flimsy reasoning and distorted facts, it’s troubling to think of other educators or students who might stumble across the publication without the background to analyze its credibility. That’s why educational organizations are encouraging teachers who receive the report in the mail to toss it straight into the trash.