February 22, 2012

LAT Editorial: Climate Skeptics Want Teachers to ‘Lie … in the Classroom’

LosAngelesTimesLogoOn Monday, the editorial board at the Los Angeles Times was so mad that they fell victim to a corollary of Godwin’s Law (he who mentions Hitler or the Nazis has automatically lost the argument) by the third paragraph.

What has them so upset? The very idea that K-12 classroom instruction might not teach human-caused global warming and the need for massive and radical government intervention in the marketplace to deal with it as established, irrefutable facts. In their fever-swamp view, the battle is between “credentialed climatologists around the globe” and “fossil-fuel-industry-funded ‘experts.’” The editorial’s language is so over at the top it makes one legitimately wonder how anyone who doesn’t toe the line on climate change can remain employed anywhere at the Times. Here are the last four of the editorial’s five paragraphs; I tried to select particular items to bold, but the whole thing is such an offensive, fabricated assemblage that I would have had to bold the whole thing (HT to Gary Hall):

Climate denial in the classroom

It’s bad enough that we’re doing so little to fight climate change; let’s not ask teachers to lie about it too.

… Leaked documents from the Heartland Institute in Chicago, one of many nonprofits that spread disinformation about climate science in hopes of stalling government action to combat global warming, reveal that the organization is working on a curriculum for public schools that casts doubt on the work of climatologists worldwide. Heartland officials say one of the documents was a fake, but the curriculum plans were reportedly discussed in more than one. According to the New York Times, the curriculum would claim, among other things, that “whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy.”

That is a lie so big that, to quote from “Mein Kampf,” it would be hard for most people to believe that anyone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.” On one side of the “controversy” are credentialed climatologists around the globe who publish in reputable, peer-reviewed scientific journals and agree that the planet is warming and that humans are to blame; on the other are fossil-fuel-industry-funded “experts” who tend to have little background in climatology and who publish non-peer-reviewed papers in junk magazines disputing established truths. These are quickly debunked, but not before their findings have been reported by conservative blogs and news outlets, which somehow never get around to mentioning it when these studies are proved to be badly flawed.

Fortunately, if we’re about to enter a battle over classroom instruction on climate change, it won’t go on for decades, because the impacts of global warming are already patently obvious. Seven of the 10 warmest years since global record-keeping began in 1880 have occurred in the 21st century. Despite an intense campaign to discredit his work, Pennsylvania State University professor Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” graph, which shows that temperatures in the latter half of the 20th century soared to their highest level in 1,000 years, has been validated repeatedly. Last year set a record for the most climate-related disasters in the United States costing more than $1 billion in damage each — drought-fueled wildfires in Texas, Hurricane Irene, and Mississippi River flooding were among the 14 cases.

These are facts, not philosophical or religious dogma. Another fact: Sophisticated climate models show that things are going to get a lot worse. It’s bad enough that we’re gambling our children’s futures by doing so little to fight this problem; let’s not ask their teachers to lie to them about it too.

Rather than write a book critiquing this nonsense, as so many skeptics already convincingly have, I’ll let commenters weigh in, and concentrate on what the above editorial says about the paper’s corporate culture.

Circulation at the Times, which was 900,000 in March 2005 (after factoring in the decline during 2006 noted at this link), fell by 36% to 573,000 in the six months ended September 30, 2011, despite numbers-inflating definitional changes in the intervening six years at the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

The likelihood that a poisonous culture of politically correct orthodoxy is adversely affecting the credibility of reporting on the environment and so many other matters, and that the PC lords won’t even entertain the conceivable legitimacy of any dissenting idea, explains much of the drop, which is far, far steeper the decline at most newspapers during the same time period. It would explain why, as noted earlier today (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), a Times reporter frets that Peter Gleick’s document theft from the Heartland Institute might cause “the scientific consensus” about global warming to be less accepted by the public, and why the same reporter would fail to note that several outsiders have alleged that a two-page memo Heartland has branded as a fake may have been authored by Gleick himself.

What the Times editorialists really want is for the opinions of the hordes of credentialed skeptics, including sixteen highly respected scientists who have written two op-eds which have appeared in the Wall Street Journal this year (today’s is here) to be kept out of the classrooms. The bottom line at the WSJ op-ed:

The computer-model predictions of alarming global warming have seriously exaggerated the warming by CO2 and have underestimated other causes. Since CO2 is not a pollutant but a substantial benefit to agriculture, and since its warming potential has been greatly exaggerated, it is time for the world to rethink its frenzied pursuit of decarbonization at any cost.

That the forecasts are indeed inflated is shown in a graphic at the op-ed (also here, for future reference) showing how wrong forecasts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been.

Remember this brainwashing advocacy the next time anyone associated with the Times tells us that what the education system should be doing is teaching “critical thinking.” It’s obvious that they don’t really believe that. What they want is for their lies to be the only thing children hear and learn the classroom.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


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