Unfortunately, some misuse science. Some of their intentions, are far from benevolent. They see science as a mechanism for political power and control. There is great danger from those who would use science for political control over us.

How do they do this? They instill, and then continuously magnify, fear. Fear is the most effective instrument of totalitarian control.

Chet Richards, physicist,


Thursday, 31 May 2012

Cry Wolf! about climate and watch how the money rolls in. Scare 'em and snare 'em, kids and all.

Charities 'spread scare stories on climate change to boost public donations'

The headline is from an article in The Telegraph way back in 2004.  Well worth reading the article in full, and well worth reading the academic paper it was triggered by.  The problem is still with us in 2012, as evidenced by this post on WUWT.  Anyone wanting to trace how, why, and where scaremongering materials for schoolchildren about climate change have been produced in recent years, will surely want to investigate the deliberate promotion of scare stories by fund-raisers as one contributing factor.

Here is how the Telegraph article begins:

'Environmental charities are exaggerating the threat of climate change in an attempt to raise more money from public donations, according to a report by Oxford University academics.

The charities, including WWF-UK, the world's biggest independent conservation organisation, claim that a quarter of the world's species are facing extinction by 2050.
However, the report says that this is a "woeful misrepresentation of the underlying science".
Many species said to be at risk - including the red kite and the Scottish crossbill - are not facing imminent extinction, according to the report by four academics from the biodiversity research group at Oxford's school of geography and the environment.'

Here is how the article ends:

'Dr Richard Ladle, a theoretical ecologist at Oxford University who also contributed to the report, said that most species cited as being in danger of extinction by 2050 "probably won't be".

Dr Ladle said that WWF's response to criticism of the claims was that the ends justified the means.
"Our argument is that we don't think the ends do justify the means because if you are hyping something to that extent, you are going to have the equivalent of 'compassion fatigue' in the charity sector.

"Biodiversity is declining worldwide, but if you keep telling people that we're on the verge of a global disaster, and then the process takes longer than people think it's going to take, we are going to be in trouble and the non-governmental organisations are going to be in trouble in terms of their funding.
"Change in diversity takes a long time. My gut feeling is it will take a lot longer than 2050."

However, a spokesman for WWF-UK insisted that it was unfair to judge fundraising in the same way as academic research. "Climate change is real and it endangers species," he said.  "But you have to simplify issues for appeals. There is no way you can cover all the science. Fundraising appeals are very emotional."

Bryony Worthington, a climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said: "The biodiversity research group cannot really claim that it constituted crying wolf, as there is potential for the worst-case scenarios to be realised." '

The moral turpitude of the campaigners is nicely revealed by that last quote: since there is always potential for fire in a crowded theatre, shouting 'Fire!' there is not an unreasonable thing to do - just think of all the lives you might save.  This young woman went on to be a key labourer in the rushed drafting of the UK's Climate Change Act, passed in 2008, a chore for which a grateful government elevated her to the House of Lords as a baroness.  The careless ignorance of that government is illustrated not just by the appalling nonsense of that Act, but also by its drive to scare the public and push climate alarmism into schools through, for example, distributing copies of Al Gore's drama 'An Inconvenient Truth' within which 'truth' is rather hard to find.  Their scary tv ad features in this dismal catalogue of propaganda efforts collated by the Washington Post.

The WWF was once held in high esteem for trying to do good works for wildlife around the world.  Now it is not so regarded by those who have seen the harm it has done through its relentless campaigning around climate.  It became a vehicle for the politically ambitious, providing what are now huge budgets for interfering in the affairs of many countries without being accountable to their electorates.  A recent report in Der Spiegel, highlighted here by Donna Laframboise, suggests that its reputation is about to fall even further or more widely:

Laframboise begins her comments with this:
'A splendid and disturbing investigative feature in Der Spiegel explains why the WWF doesn’t deserve your charitable donations.'

I completely agree.  It has, in my view, done a great deal of harm to society - not least through contributing to the scaring of children - and, incidentally, it has harmed wildlife too according to the Der Spiegel report (quote 'Undermining its own standards seems to be a specialty of the WWF.')

Meanwhile, one of the chief agents of the WWF's fundraising strategy, one Robert Napier, went on to become, in 2006, Chairman of the UK's Met Office.  Why would he do that?  Why would anyone hire him to do it?  What, in others words, were they thinking?  And what, of late, has been happening to the reputation of the Met Office?  Here is a tv clip highlighting their 'lamentable performance' with some vigour on, of all places, the BBC in 2010.  Here is an article in the printed media from 2011.  Extract: 'First it was a national joke. Then its professional failings became a national disaster. Now, the dishonesty of its attempts to fight off a barrage of criticism has become a real national scandal. I am talking yet again of that sad organisation the UK Met Office, as it now defends its bizarre record with claims as embarrassingly absurd as any which can ever have been made by highly-paid government officials.'   Here is a blog post from 2012: 'Met Office forecasting produces another epic failure.'

Meanwhile, in 2009,  a blogger wrote this on the BuyTheTruth site:
'The UK Meteorological Office, whose Hadley Centre runs the IPCC scientific assessment (“Working Group 1”), is now a department of the UK Ministry of Defence [as of 2011, it is no longer there]. And its Chairman is none other than Robert Napier, a green activist and alarmist with tentacles into some of the world’s most powerful drivers of climate alarmism and social control.'  [please see the rest of that post for chapter and verse on this.]

Climate alarmists, and those who can see advantage in such alarm, are embedded in 'the establishment' and in many major 'charities'.  We ought to be dismayed at what this has led to in terms of actions and materials designed to scare the young and recruit them to a political cause, but we no longer need be surprised by it.

To end on a more positive note, here are some words by Richard Lindzen in 2001 (as quoted here):
“The question of where do we go from here is an obvious and important one. From my provincial perspective, an important priority should be given to figuring out how to support and encourage science (and basic science underlying climate in particular) while removing incentives to promote alarmism. The benefits of leaving future generations a better understanding of nature would far outweigh the benefits (if any) of ill thought out attempts to regulate nature in the absence of such understanding.” 

 [Note added 20 October 2012:  The puzzling appointment of Robert Napier as Chairman of the UK's Met Office came to an end in September after six years.  A self-serving reflection on his time there can be found here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/barometer/people/2012-07/ready-steady.]

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Some Grist for the Millers of a Calmer Curriculum on Climate for Schools

It may seem harsh, but my supposition of what the reasoning process inside the minds of many people who have been successfully convinced by the climate scaremongering of the last 30 years or so is something like this:

'Gosh, the climate is changing.  Gosh, humans have an impact on climate.  Gosh, CO2 is called a greenhouse gas - and greenhouses quickly get very hot and unpleasant.   Gosh, we are releasing huge amounts of CO2.'

Each one of these insights bar one will be new to most people, since they will not have not studied the climate system, nor even given it much thought.   I included the 'gosh's to reflect this..  This novelty makes them vulnerable to the big conclusion:

'Gosh, we are in big trouble!'

Yet the evidence from climate records, both ancient and modern, does not suggest that the additional CO2 will have a dramatic effect, nor possibly even a readily detectable effect as a driver of climate change.  Furthermore, calmer analysts than the handful most culpable for the acute alarm about CO2 we now have to endure, have argued that the impact on climate (including temperatures) of a further doubling of ambient levels of that gas will range from negligible up to 'quite hard to detect'.

Unfortunately the alarming view has won far greater political and financial support than the calming one, and it may well take many a long year for the educational system to turn its back with contempt and outrage at some of the materials that have been produced for young people.  The seriously misleading movie called 'An Inconvenient Truth' is bad enough, but it has helped trigger a wave of materials no better or even worse than it.

The alarm has been sounded, the fear is widespread, and a great many individuals and organisations now have a vested interest in what it has led to in terms of government and other well-funded initiatives, including educational ones.  So what is to be said to current and former pupils once the tide of alarm has clearly turned?  It will not do merely to declare that some scientists and others were too easily scared by their computers and too willing to abandon their basic adult responsibility of avoiding ill-founded scaremongering.  They shouted fire in our theatre, and it will take a lot of time before many of the audience can relax enough to get back without this extra anxiety to more or even to less important matters, including a basic enjoyment of the great successes of the human play to date.

One approach is to show the relative importance of factors other than CO2.  An article posted on the GWPF site today reports on the work of one Nicola Scafetta, who argues that some 60% of the global warming observed since 1970 can be explained by cycles he has looked for in the system.  From this point of view, the modest warming observed over that period (similar in size and duration to a warming observed earlier in the 20th century and not blamed on CO2) is largely 'natural' and to be expected.  This of course diminishes the presumed importance of CO2 increases over this time, and thereby might help calm things down a bit with regard to that gas.  Note that he presents his work as just a theory, and he is awaiting critical review from his peers.  Just as he should.  I suspect he is not part of a cabal intent on concealment of data and methods, and other manipulations to protect and promote their theory at almost any cost in terms of their integrity as men and as scientists.  I daresay there will be no Climategate revelations to shock us about his groups of coworkers and colleagues.

His method is based on identifying cycles in climate records, and using them to make hindcasts and forecasts, both with some appreciable success according to his account.  He identifies three major mechanisms behind these cycles:

'There are three major mechanisms acting together: gravity, nuclear fusion - luminosity production, magnetism.
1) The planets act on the sun mostly via gravitational tidal forcings that are characterized by the astronomical harmonics in the same way that the tides on the Earth are regulated by lunar/solar gravitational harmonics.
2) The sun is in a state of almost perfect balance between gravitational forces and nuclear fusion luminosity production. This balance is very sensitive to gravitational or luminosity changes.   If, for example, gravitational forces make some additional work (relative to a given average) on the sun, the sun responds by increasing its luminosity production to restore the balance, and vice-versa.  The planetary tides slightly modulate the gravitational work balance inside the sun, and the sun responds by modulating its luminosity production. Because the luminosity production is energetically around 1,000,000 times the gravitational work released into the star, the solar core should work as a great amplifier of the planetary gravitational tidal energy.  Thus, solar luminosity and all dynamical solar processes end up oscillating with a set of frequencies related to the planetary frequencies. This is the theory I propose in my last published paper, just last week.
3) The oscillating sun induces equivalent magnetic oscillations in the heliosphere. Magnetic oscillations have numerous effects: they modulate the incoming cosmic ray flux and modulate other electric currents in the heliosphere, that is, they regulate the space weather which is mostly made of electric phenomena. These phenomena occur together with the luminosity oscillations.
The Earth system is very sensitive to these electric changes because they cause ionization of the upper atmosphere and regulate cloud formation. Thus, the cloud formation will approximately follow the astronomical harmonics and make the albedo oscillate by about 1-3% . An oscillating albedo causes oscillations in the amount of light reaching the surface of the Earth, which is what causes the oscillations observed in the surface temperature.
Of course at the moment not all single physical mechanisms are understood, quantified or modeled.
Point 1 has can be easily quantified
Point 2 has been quantified, at least I made a proposal,  but a full model also needs empirical modeling because solar physics is not so advanced.
Point 3 needs the understanding of how clouds form in details and the relation with cosmic ray etc. that is still under study. The modeling can be empirically done.'

Now it strikes me that these could be diluted and enlarged upon and illustrated in ways which could make it interesting and accessible to high school pupils, and perhaps even pictorially for younger children since even they have been the target of alarmists intent on recruitment for their dubious cause.  We can partially counter their scaremongering with the presentation and enjoyment of broader theories, promoting a proper respect for observations and scientific method, and for the wonderful ability we have of using them to make more sense of things, and to make more and more progress in industry and agriculture.

(hat-tip for GWPF piece linked to above: Tom Nelson)

Friday, 25 May 2012

More Materials on Climate for the Conscientious Teacher

The Australian Carbon Sense Coalition has published a presentation by H. Leighton Steward which could serve as useful illustrated compendium of arguments against alarm about CO2 in the air.  It is 90 pages, mostly graphical, in a pdf.  Hat-tip: Tom Nelson.

Here is a montage I made of a few of the graphics (each one occupies a page to itself in the original):

I have spotted a few typos so far (I rather crudely corrected one above - see red u for nitrous oxide!), some parts say 'modified' or 'adapted' from source materials,  and some of the information does not have sources given, so some checking would be in order before using it, but overall my impression is hugely favorable.  This looks like a very handy document to have around, and to make use of for projects and illustrations on the classroom wall.  A lot of interesting exercises might follow merely from sharing out a selection of pages and challenging your pupils to check them out to see what further support, or criticism, they can devise or discover from other sources.

The Carbon Coalition encourages widespread use of their materials e.g. from their 'About' page:
'Material on this site is protected by copyright. However we encourage people to copy, print, resend or make links to any article providing the source, including web address, is acknowledged. We would appreciate notification of use.'

They provide more downloadable pdfs here: http://carbon-sense.com/carbon-sense/

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Calming the Climate Curriculum

One contributing factor to the astonishing spread of alarm over CO2 and climate may be that most of us have not given much thought to climate other than complaining about bad winters/summers/storms or recalling sunnier times in our childhoods.

So the notion that the climate is changing worldwide, which ought to be as banal an observation as you can get since it has never stopped changing over a great range of scales, can yet come as a bit of a jolt.  And when some at least of the folks in white coats tell us we're causing the change, and that it must be for the worst, we get a further jolt.  And then when the unscrupulous or the merely irresponsible spot an opportunity to scare us for their financial and/or political advantage over 'climate change', then the jolts can arrive thick and fast - from the media, from the eco-activists, from the anti-capitalists, from the fundraising NGOs, from the financiers and investors in carbon credits or in the farming of subsidies for renewables, and from the politically ambitious who spotted the bandwagon in good time to help it along or who were merely swept along by it and all the opportunities it has provided.

One result of this headlong, headstrong stampede based as it is on mere supposition that the extra CO2 must have such a powerful directional effect on climate that we should be acutely alarmed by it, is that educators at all levels have been swept along too.

Many seem to be enjoying the chance to be spreading alarm amongst the young, given the explosion of websites, books, and other media aimed at them.  A common approach is to mention greenhouses - well known as hot and uncomfortable places - or cars parked in the sunlight with all windows closes - and assert that CO2 has the same effect on atmospheric temperatures as the glass has.  Not true of course, but truth is not a key concern where supposition suits so many.

A threatened polar bear pictured on an iceflow may be accompanied by text suggesting that switching off lights, driving less often, and using 'renewable energy' more will save it.  It is not true, of course, that they are under undue threat given that their numbers have generally been increasing in recent years

Another picture might show a high wave crashing against a seafront, covering nearby houses in spray, and be accompanied by dire warnings of dramatic rises in sea level underway, even accelerating.  Not true of course, since the slow ongoing rise of sea levels seems to be paying not the slightest attention to rising CO2 levels, and may even be flattening out in recent years as it has over the past thousands of the bigger picture.

But these untruths are helpful when you are making the case that humans are disrupting a fragile nature, heretofore in balance.  And of course, nature is neither fragile overall nor has it ever been 'in balance'.

No matter, we humans must be a bad lot, our inventions, our achievements in engineering and in food production, our tremendous victories over poverty and starvation, and over the vagaries of a variable climate, are to be decried in so far as they produce CO2.  That gas which does not act to raise temperatures like the glass in a greenhouse does, which does not appear to have ever been a driver of climate - in recent years or over millions of years, and whose recent rises coincide with both rising and declining temperatures, and with essentially business as usual as far as other weather or weather-related phenomena such as ice extents are concerned.

The madness over CO2 will surely continue to subside, and as it does, a calmer curriculum on climate will have to be found.  What might it look like?  Here are three items which caught my attention recently and which may be just the sort of thing that could inspire sensible and informative teaching on climate topics.

Item 1.  A simple display to help put CO2 in its proper context as one of many factors influencing climate in interacting ways:
 This diagram is due to Kiminori Itoh who used it in a guest post on the blog Climate Science: Robert Pielke Sr.  Such a diagram is not too complex.  It uses the idea of rivers flowing into each other, with many sources, and more than one outlet - to show more effects than just temperature changes.  CO2 can thus be seen as just one of several contributions, and we can readily imagine there may be many more.  Just as we could imagine a great river system as having innumerable sources or springs.  Feedbacks are not shown, but could be mentioned to appropriate classes by noting, for example, what regional climate changes could lead to more aerosols, or what temperature changes might produce more or less vegetation, or more or less de-gassing of CO2 from the sea.  Contrast the more complex river system with the one above it - which is of course the nearer analogy to the worldview pushed by the leaders of the IPCC.

Item 2.  Many, I'm tempted to say all, of those scientists most agitated by CO2 do not possess much by way of the gravitas associated with great achievement in physics.  Many are more like geographers than scientists in so far as they are documenting and describing and modelling what they believe is taking place rather than deriving results from hard theories which they rigorously test with new data.  There is a video showing an easy-paced talk on climate given in 2010 by a very accomplished physicist, William Happer of Princeton University, reported by LuboŇ° Motl who also provides a summary of the contents.  As Motl notes, it is instructive to listen to the list of achievements of Prof Happer (given by the lady introducing his presentation) and wonder how they might compare with those of physicists on the agitated side of the CO2 debate!

 The video can be downloaded from here: http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/physicscoll/ucb/video/col.streaming.11-01-10.mov  (I watched it using Quicktime, but to get the soundtrack to work properly when Happer comes on,  I had to mess around a bit.  In the end, I got it to work by adjusting the 'Wave Balance' to the left - a control option which appeared via 'Volume Control' in Windows XP).

Motl is himself a theoretical physicist, a subject about which he blogs as well as on climate.  His views are often expressed quite strongly.  Here is the last paragraph of his above-linked post on this video:
'It's too bad that all the arrogant yet uninformed folks who want to talk about the climate – all these Gores, Hansens, Manns, and similar jerks – can't be forced to learn the basic physics of these physical systems, at least at the level of Prof Happer's talk.'

I commend the presentation because it brings back memories for me of the very high quality of professors I was lucky enough to listen to many decades ago, and who would all, I like to think, have had no truck with the facile and irresponsible alarmism of so many of their counterparts today.  The presentation is calm, the discussion session frank and amiable, and there are no grandiose appeals to authority  nor scaremongering.  It is not perfect - stronger answers would be possible for some of the questions and points made, but it is honest and straightforward.  I think there are videos of Prof Lindzen which convey the same sense and sensibility, and these too could be used to help inspire better materials for schools.

Item 3.  This is a report of a school field trip led by staff from a school in Maryland, USA.  I only saw this today, and am relying on a single report re-published here. (hat-tip Tom Nelson)

The report is on one of the many 'climate alarm' websites (e.g. 'The climate crisis isn’t just some far-off threat: it’s a clear and present danger. Galvanized by this sobering reality, Climate Central has created a unique form of public outreach, informed by our own original research, targeted to local markets, and designed to make Americans feel the power of what’s really happening to the climate. Our goal is not just to inform people, but to inspire them to support the actions needed to keep the crisis from getting worse.) so I hope I am not being misled by it, but I found it encouraging.

The teachers involved do not seem to have set out to scare their pupils, and have also made a point of discussing positive and negative effects of particular changes in climate, or policy options such as oil pipelines.  They also looked at real data, asking 'how do we know?' and 'where is the proof?'  Finally, they were out in the field, not in a laboratory, not in a computer room, not watching a DVD, and doing measurements of their own.  I like to think the teachers will have helped the children feel we are not feeble victims of climate, but rather we can do and have done many things to protect ourselves from its variations.  A sensible level of confidence and optimism about the future would be good results from a calm curriculum on climate.

Note added later on 22nd May: for some recent pictures of more alarming teaching of climate in schools, see: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/05/teaching-climate-change.html 
There are those so imbued with the righteousness of their stance that they will do anything they can to get children on board their bandwagon:
That's a schoolteacher in the picture, setting out to scare children about methane. Disgraceful.

(hat-tip: Climate Etc)

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Child-Scaring Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) teaches children about climate with Wind Turbine Manufacturer Bayer

Link to source
In Australia, the CSIRO, already notorious for scaring children, has teamed up with Bayer, a manufacturer of wind-turbine blades, to teach young children about climate change.  Let us hope they toned things down from what was reported in the Canberra Times a few weeks ago.

The Wake Up 2 The Lies blog has more information on this new initiative, which was reported in the Mercury yesterday.

Link to source
Not much information has been provided on the content of the teaching in Tasmania, but past reports of the deliberate scaring of children in Australian schools by government agencies do not bode well.  Their own Chief Climate Commissioner, Tim Flannery has managed to scare himself witless about climate, forecasting doom and drought at every opportunity.  Well maybe not so much on the drought these days since heavy rain fell on that particular parade of his gross irresponsibility.

Australian Climate Madness has also commented on reports on scaring children in Australia

Several more links relevant to Australia can be found on the Pages here (esp.Climate-curricula, Climate-anxiety, Climate-sites).

Last year, the Australian Herald Sun newspaper ran this story:

Extract:"To put all of this before our children . . . is one of the most appalling things we can do to children."

You can say that again.  And no doubt we shall have to.  Again and again and again. Until this poison is removed from schools across the world.

Note added 24 April 2013.  Rotten is as rotten does.  Some evidence of a rotten culture at CSIRO is given here: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/technology/sci-tech/csiro-accused-of-more-shabby-tactics-20130413-2hs51.html
and here: http://science.slashdot.org/story/13/04/14/1437234/corruption-allegations-rock-australias-csiro

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Climate science in Australia schools: 'Not teaching, but abusing'

Andrew Bolt reports from Australia(article shown below):

'Geophysicist Michael Asten is astonished that climate science is taught in schools as an exercise in groupthink, with sceptics not disproved but abused:

  Climate Nonconformist, who is also in Australia, adds some recollections from his own school days:

'I remember my year nine science text-book doing a similar thing with the moon landing conspiracies; giving the conspiratorial argument alongside a scientific reply. The difference is that - to my knowledge anyway – there is no scientific reply by the conspiracy theorists. This hatchet job on Ashby makes a mockery of science by excluding one side of the argument and forgetting that science is defined by debate. Students are being sucked into this fallacy that science is unquestionably authoritative and one-sided.
In my Environmental Science classes, only one lesson was devoted to the other side of the debate. Our teacher merely informed us that there was another point of view, and showed us a video featuring Andrew Bolt. A token gesture. The rest of the course was dedicated to renewable energy, greenhouse theory, energy efficiency and alarmist outcomes, while ignoring the key parts of the debate; namely the hockey stick controversy and climate sensitivity.
We were uncritically shown Al Gore’s now debunked movie, forcing us to sit through the hysteria and self-adulation the former vice-president engaged in. We were told that the film contained errors, but none were specified. This is unfortunate, considering the deception surrounding the Vostok ice cores. For high school students, it is difficult to critically evaluate what appears to be irrefutable evidence of man-made global warming, especially when we’re dissuaded from questioning “the science”. The concept of causation did not occur to anyone. For us, this was proof.
The precautionary principle was taught as though it was scientific idea, rather than as the flawed approach to policy-making and environmental propaganda that it is. We learned about the potential beneficial uses of organisms, something which I now realise provides environmentalists the excuse the preserve every possible species, justified on the off-chance they might hold the cure to cancer or something like that. Together, these two ideas provide the green crowd with a potent tool to prevent industrial development. Of course, I couldn’t see through that at the time.
On the plus side, I did have one science teacher who was dismissive of global warming alarmism.'

The comments on the Andrew Bolt article are overwhelmingly from readers outraged by this reported abuse of education, and/or adding experiences of their own or their children's.  For example here is a selection scattered over the three (currently) pages of readers' comments:

Sadly this travesty has been endorsed by a large swag of science education gatekeepers in a wide range of education jurisdictions including the national curriculum.
Of course, Australia is now a post-modern post-scientific culture as witnessed by the failure to sack Tim Flannery over his blatant failure to accept responsibility for misleading statements about AGW.
Fair Go (Reply)
Tue 08 May 12 (08:26am)

My son encountered this first-hand when his class had to study ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. When he challenged some of the claims made in the film, he was threatened with detention.
When he produced a printout of British High Court judge Mr. Justice Burton’s ruling on scientific errors and political activism in the film, it was thrown in the bin.
Clownfish of Launceston (Reply)
Tue 08 May 12 (09:39am)

When you have children leaving school who are barely literate, who can hardly speak English but some sort of modern pidgin and who couldn’t care less about school in general we see that the educators have done their work well. You can’t control people who can think.
Where is the Victorian Premier in all this? Is he unaware of what his education department is incorporating into the syllabus? Where does the responsibility for factual science being taught lie? This is an outrageous highjacking of the education system. In future years those same children will be wearing the consequences of this scam against the people and will know who to thank for it.
mags of Queensland (Reply)
Tue 08 May 12 (10:01am) 

Indoctrination - designed to close minds down and instill “unquestionable beliefs”.
This is simply an abuse of children.
ExWarmist (Reply)
Tue 08 May 12 (10:03am)

Having just finished high school and studied physics, i have to say this is pretty spot on, sceptics in my class were told either “you’re wrong” or “the argument isn’t so much whether we can afford to believe it but can we afford not to?” in other words this might be totally wrong but we should believe it so the world might not end. Sigh.
Pat of Sydney (Reply)
Tue 08 May 12 (12:23pm) 
Poor old Australia, once known as a land of free and independently minded people.  I hope they are mostly still like that, and will start clearing the poison out of their climate curricula just as soon as they can get rid of their current government. 

 (hat-tip: Tom Nelson)

Note added 10 May 2012.  That article by Michael Asten on climate education is available in full here: http://www.climaterealists.org.nz/node/885  Extract: 'The interested student, however, will discover material that may illustrate larger problems in science education. Perusal of the resources for secondary school physics students provided by the Australian Institute of Physics (Vic) Education Committee suggests some of our science educators have indeed lost the ability to teach objective and open-minded scientific inquiry.'

Monday, 7 May 2012

Climate Education in High Schools - What it could be like

I've been musing for a while on what decent curricula on climate might contain for schools, at both primary and secondary (high school) levels.  I have not got much further than thinking that a glass of water would make a good starting point for discussion time at some stage, linking as it does to the water cycle which is such an important part of the dynamics of the troposphere.  The water cycle would be a big feature of my ideal curricula, and could be treated at simple, familiar levels of observing clouds and precipitation, and later at a more advanced level looking at energy transfers and the major features of circulation in the troposphere.  The exciting theories of Svensmark and Shaviv would also permit a link between the glass of water and the cosmos itself.  Speculating about how events in our galaxy, and within the solar system, could affect the rate of formation of water droplets in the air, and hence clouds, would provide a gloriously grand perspective that any teacher would surely enjoy presenting on.

Anyway, I have just stumbled on a site today which is much further down that road than I am.  Here is a video by one of the site owners, Kristie Pelletier:

Link to video
 They have developed curricula materials, and publish a DVD containing materials divided into three lessons:

Lesson 1 15:37 minutes 
Overview of emerging science, past climate, temperature data errors, CO2/ temperature relationships, and the huge effect of water vapor and clouds. View  6 min Highlights (You will need Adobe Flash Player to play this trailer) (Allow 5-10 seconds for high speed internet for the program to buffer and play)
Lesson 2 17:39 minutes
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, climate model CO2 warming fingerprint does not match reality, violent storms and hurricanes. View  8 min Highlights (You will need Adobe Flash Player to play this trailer) (Allow 5-10 seconds for high speed internet for the program to buffer and play)
Lesson 3 17:48 minutes
Melting icecaps & flooding, the role of the sun, the importance of CO2 for life and other benefits, and the true nature of science. View  8 min Highlights (You will need Adobe Flash Player to play this trailer) (Allow 5-10 seconds for high speed internet for the program to buffer and play)

I find this site to be very encouraging, and I look forward to studying it more carefully.  In the meantime, let us rejoice that it exists, and that they have made much progress in producing materials for schools.  There will surely be an increasing demand for enlightened materials on climate as more and more people come to realise the weak foundations, and gross irresponsibility, of the scaremongering proposed, and used, in other materials on and around climate shown to their children.  Well done Kristie Pelletier and Michael Coffman, creators of the Global Warming Classroom !

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Have Calm Not Alarm in your Climate Classroom

Josh shows the way pictorially for those who would rather see a calm treatment of climate in their classroom instead of one intended to create alarm.


More background here at Bishop Hill.