The Secret, Corporate-Funded Plan To Teach Children That Climate Change Is A Hoax

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The Secret, Corporate-Funded Plan To Teach Children That Climate Change Is A Hoax
by Brad Johnson
February 14, 2012

The first in a series of posts about the Heartland Institute”™s inner workings, from internal documents acquired by ThinkProgress Green.

Internal documents acquired by ThinkProgress Green reveal that the Heartland Institute, a right-wing think tank funded by the Koch brothers, Microsoft, and other top corporations, is planning to develop a “global warming curriculum“ for elementary schoolchildren that presents climate science as “a major scientific controversy.” This effort, at a cost of $100,000 a year, will be developed by Dr. David E. Wojick, a coal-industry consultant.

“Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective,” Heartland”™s confidential 2012 fundraising document bemoans. The group believes that Wojick”™s project has “potential for great success,” because he has “contacts at virtually all the national organizations involved in producing, certifying, and promoting scientific curricula.” The document explains that Wojick will produce “modules” that promote the conspiratorial claim that climate change is “controversial”:

Dr. Wojick proposes to begin work on “modules” for grades 10-12 on climate change (“whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy“), climate models (“models are used to explore various hypotheses about how climate works. Their reliability is controversial”), and air pollution (“whether CO2 is a pollutant is controversial. It is the global food supply and natural emissions are 20 times higher than human emissions”).

Wojick would produce modules for Grades 7-9 on environmental impact (“environmental impact is often difficult to determine. For example there is a major controversy over whether or not humans are changing the weather“), for Grade 6 on water resources and weather systems, and so on.

Wojick will receive $5,000 per module, with twenty modules produced a year. Wojick, who manages the Climate Change Debate listserv, is not a climate scientist. His doctorate is in epistomology.

The Heartland Institute also runs the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, a conspiracy-theorist parody of the Nobel-prize-winning U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Heartland”™s NIPCC project “pays a team of scientists approximately $300,000 a year to work on a series of editions of Climate Change Reconsidered.” Their climate-denial work is funded anonymously.

James M. Taylor, a senior fellow at the Heartland Institute, told ThinkProgress Green in an e-mail why the group is developing its denier curriculum:

We are concerned that schools are teaching climate change issues in a manner that is not consistent with sound science and that is designed to lead students to the erroneous belief that humans are causing a global warming crisis. We hope that our efforts will restore sound science to climate change education and discourage the political propaganda that too often passes as “education”.

Right-wing ideologues, fueled by the fossil fuel industry, have been increasing their efforts to pollute science education in elementary schools. These attempts to hijack children”™s education piggyback on the religious right”™s war on biology education and the science of evolution. The National Center for Science Education, which has long led the defense of evolution education in elementary schools, has begun a new program to fight global warming denial in textbooks and classrooms.

Update: Click here to access Heartland Institute”™s internal documents, including its budget, fundraising plan, and climate strategy.

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photo: Photo by Technochick
thanks: David