Proposed Texas textbooks teach climate change skepticism

"Scientists disagree about what is causing climate change," one newly proposed textbook reads.

By Brooks Hays
Proposed Texas textbooks teach climate change skepticism
Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club; Rep. Jim Moran, D-VA; and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (L to R) announce a partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Sierra Club to push for shutting down coal-fired power plants and replace them with more environmentally friendly options. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg | License Photo

AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- As a number of newly proposed social studies textbooks in Texas present it, climate change is a contentious and controversial issue which remains up for debate inside and outside of the scientific community. Never mind that 97 percent of climate studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals credit humans with being the chief drivers of global warming.

The Texas School Board is preparing to adopt a range of new textbooks for kindergarten through 12th grade, and climate scientists and educational advocates are worried Texas officials are allowing scientific fact to be twisted in the name of politics.


Though debate remains about how quickly global temperatures will rise, and to what extent Earth's weather systems will be affected, there is very little disagreement among scientists on whether or not the planet is warming and on what's causing it. But that's not what Texas's new textbooks would have students believe.

"Scientists agree that Earth's climate is changing," reads a sixth-grade social studies text proposed by McGraw-Hill. "They do not agree on what is causing the change."

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"Scientists disagree about what is causing climate change," another proposed textbook reads -- this one by Pearson and meant for fifth-grade social studies students.


The textbooks have one liberal-leaning advocacy group, called the the Texas Freedom Education Fund, quite concerned.

"In too many cases we're seeing publishers shade and even distort facts to avoid angering politicians who vote on whether their textbooks get approved," the group's president, Kathy Miller, said in a recent press release. "Texas kids deserve textbooks that are based on sound scholarship, not political biases."

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And it's not just Texas educators who are concerned.

"It's really an insult to science," Minda Berbeco, programs and policy director for the National Center for Science Education, told the National Journal. "The old line was that global warming didn't exist. Now we're starting to see more people say it exists but human activity isn't responsible. That's just denial by another name."

But so far, the criticism seems to be falling on deaf ears.

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"Whether global warming is a myth or whether it's actually happening, that's very much up for debate," Texas Board of Education member David Bradley told the National Journal. "Don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise."

Bradley and his fellow board members will vote on the new textbooks in November.

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