From Crops to Coral Reefs, a book circulated by a controversial US think tank is full of misleading claims about well-established climate science, in what campaigners describe as an attempt to “infect” young minds.
The Heartland Free Market Institute sparked outrage from activists and educators, but climate skeptics applauded when it sent the book to more than 8,000 American teachers this year to “present facts” it said was ignored or vilified by critics and the media.
The AFP-reviewed Climate Snapshot for Educators and Students follows another mass mailing of books in 2017, and reflects a push to sow doubts about the scientific evidence of the human-led crisis threatening the planet.
“It is outrageous that such propaganda… has been sent with the intent of infecting children’s minds,” Susan Joy Haswell, director of the nonprofit outreach group, told AFP.
The glossy 80-page book looks like a legitimate reference, complete with datasets, charts, and footnotes that cite key sources including government and international agencies.
But it’s riddled with misleading claims, scientists told AFP, including sections that say carbon dioxide levels are rising and warming is positive for crops and coral reefs, there’s been little snowfall, sea level rise hasn’t accelerated and heatwaves have become less intense.
The editor and chief of climate affairs at the institute, H.
The full AFP verification report was published on u.afp.com/i8i7.
The book’s publication follows a surge in climate denial in the United States since July 2022, when President Joe Biden garnered support for a major climate spending bill.
Biden is pushing Americans to embrace electric cars and renewable energy, provoking scorn among skeptics who see them as a threat to their way of life and their values even as research shows many citizens understand climate change is happening.
The think tank’s murky funding has long fueled suspicions among activists that it is working on behalf of the fossil fuel industry.
The Heartland Institute, which was founded in 1984, has not disclosed its main backers, but said it once received, in 2012, research funding from the philanthropic arm of fossil fuel giant Koch Industrial.
She kept confidential information about the 8,000 recipients of the book. When AFP asked for names, Burnett said it had “nothing to do with the Post” and forwarded the request to Heartland’s director of communications, who did not respond.
“I bet it’s being distributed strategically in some state congressional districts where they’re trying to provide cover for some politicians to continue to deny, deceive or delay climate change,” said Kate Sell, senior climate campaign director at the Union of Concerned. Scientists.
At least five schools in Wyoming have received copies, according to the Cowboy State Daily. It quoted the Head of Heartland as saying that they had received “hate mail” from a teacher who described the book as “science fiction”.
The 2017 book received a similarly tepid response, featuring a US media photo showing an envelope returned to the institute with a handwritten note: “Never mail us again.”
Downsizing — to a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of books it sent out in 2017 — may be a “tacit admission” that Heartland’s strategy isn’t working, said Glenn Branch, deputy director of the National Center for Science Education. .
Science teachers have become “more prepared to teach climate change effectively and tend to be wary of materials that prevent climate change,” Branch told AFP.
However, as of March, the latest book has received very positive reviews on Amazon.
“All the grandparents buy one for your grandkids, all the (sic) teachers got one for your students. The sky doesn’t fall – pass on the message!” One reader wrote.
AFP cannot confirm whether the reviewers are independent of the institute.
“It’s very sad, to say the least,” Jeffrey Grant, an Illinois science teacher, said of the latest book.
“I hope to use some graphs to show my students how not to gather data to support your scientific explanation,” he told AFP.
© 2023 AFP
the quote: ‘Infecting Minds’: An American Book Sent to Teachers Seeks to Sow Climate Uncertainty (2023, April 6) Retrieved April 6, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-04-infecting-minds-teachers -climate. html
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