How the Heartland Institute plans to wreck education
DeSmogBlog has publicized documents that illuminate the Heartland Institute’s denialist agenda, and who’s footing the bill. The list of funders is interesting — Kochs, Philip Morris, Microsoft — and so is the news that they’re handing out money to vocal deniers. But perhaps most sobering is their plan to undermine climate science in the classroom.
The think tank has set aside $100,000 a year to develop a “global warming curriculum” that would teach schoolkids to discard established science. As early as the sixth grade, kids would be told that CO2 might not be a big deal, that climate models are unreliable, that human-made climate change is a “major scientific controversy,” and that so-called “evidence” of evolution may well be the work of an Intelligent Designer. Oh wait, I got confused on that last one.
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.
The “Dr. Wojick” in question is coal industry consultant David Wojick, and (almost needless to say) the doctorate is not in climate science. It’s not even in science. But that’s not about to stop Heartland from paying him handsomely to seed misinformation into the educational system. They’re giving him $5,000 a module to produce 20 modules per year — and possibly to push those modules into widespread use, using his personal connections. The documents stress that Wojick has “contacts at virtually all the national organizations involved in producing, certifying, and promoting science curricula.”
Update: Heartland has released a statement, saying that “some of these documents were stolen from Heartland, at least one is a fake, and some may have been altered.” However it turns out, at least we got to see the Climategate-boosting Heartland Institute complain that “honest disagreement should never be used to justify … criminal acts and fraud.”
Correction: The original version of this post drew material from a “Climate Strategy” document that appears to be an imperfect summary of information provided in more detail in other Heartland Institute documents that are now public. Heartland Institute says the “Climate Strategy” memo is fake. As a result, we’ve removed a reference to a Heartland campaign to “recruit neutral journalists to its cause” because the only mentions of this campaign are in the document that Heartland says is fake.
Also, in our “update” above, we originally included a quote by Andrew Revkin from an article in Politico. Politico subsequently removed this quote from its story so we have removed references to it.