No mandate to teach climate change

Teaching about climate change won’t be mandatory in California. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill that would have required climate change be taught in schools and included in science textbooks. The governor said the state shouldn’t dictate the specifics of what’s taught.

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Comments

  1. Regardless whether or not it is mandated any responsible science teacher will find a place to address the issue. I certainly do, though it is not mandated.

  2. “…any responsible science teacher will find a place to address the issue.”

    Yea, We were all indoctrinated about “Global Cooling” in school (1969)

  3. They called it the impending threat of “Nuclear Winter” back then.

  4. “whether or not it is mandated any responsible science teacher will find a place to address the issue.”

    That place is right after they finish they makre sure their students have all the basic facts about high level chemistry and statistics that it takes to have an informed opinion on the matter.

  5. Where to start. First, KauaiMark, if you were indoctrinated in anything by a teacher that teacher was not being a responsible teacher. That ain’t what we do. Next, people have faulty memories about the global cooling theory that floated around in the late 60’s. You saw it hyped in Newsweek type places but it never had any traction in peer reviewed journals, where it was always viewed as a far outside chance.

    Next “Nuclear Winter” would absolutely have resulted from nuclear war, but that had nothing to do with global cooling which would result from the shutting down of the north Atlantic haline conveyer belt.

    Myrtle, yep, that’s what I meant by responsible teacher. Appropriate to the level of course. The trend line on a graph of ice-in and ice-out dates on NH lakes is quite apparent to a fourth grader.

  6. “The trend line on a graph of ice-in and ice-out dates on NH lakes is quite apparent to a fourth grader.”

    Having an informed opinion comes down to seeing a trend line in a picture.

    And the principled distinction between that and propaganda would be what?

  7. I”m not sure I understand the question but I’ll give it a try. Propaganda would be information distorted or colored or just lied about for a political purpose. A trend line on a graph would just be hard data collected over time showing the direction of a change in a situation one way or another.

    If the ice-in date gets later and later and the ice-out date gets earlier and earlier over time that would be a pretty clear indication of a warming trend.

    There are any number of these data. The surface temperature of lake Superior over the last thirty years is another.

  8. I recall Global Cooling and Nuclear Winter as the subject of NOVA on PBS in the late 60s. They has scientists with PhDs supporting it. Later even Dr. Sagan reduced his nuclear winter hypothesis to nuclear autumn. Still later he claimed it was going to happen after the Iraqis; fired up the Kuwaiti oil wells at the end of the first Gulf War. It didn’t.

    Long ago, I was taught that extrapolating a trend is not considered good science. If it is good science, then the stock market trend today predicts the result tomorrow.

    I think global warming is possible, just not predictable. It is an example of hubris. Still, we should take steps to reduce the risk. There are lots of good reasons to reduce carbon as a fuel without considering global warming.

  9. Mrs. Davis says:

    Propaganda would be information distorted or colored or just lied about for a political purpose.

    And that hasn’t happened regarding Global Warming.

  10. I was seriously beginning to worry about Arnie. All that social liberalism was beginning to soften his brain. I was worried he was going to buy into the concept of “science by consensus”.

    I figure if global warming’s mandated then how far behind is intelligent design?

  11. Ah, global climate change/warming deniers. Gotta love ’em.

    Gbl3rd. We are in agreement that carbon use as fuel should be diminished. Sadly there is zero evidence that that is happening. Indeed the trend line, much maligned here, is in the other direction.

    Second, you were taught wrong. Sorry about that. given sufficient longitudinal data, science depends very much on trend lines. It is just nuts to ignore something when the trend from dozens of different data sources point in the same direction for a hundred years.

    Mrs. Davis, Again, it is difficult to figure out what you mean by that sentence. Are you saying that global warming is propaganda? If so, what has been lied about? By who? Was it someone with science credentials?

    Allen, Who is Arnie? And by the way, almost all science is by consensus. The consensus is that the earth is around 4.7 billion years old. There is consensus that plate tectonics exists. There is consensus that AIDS is caused by a virus. There are people who deny all of the above. Indeed there were and probably still are M.D.’s who proclaim that smoking is ok. But at some point you have to throw in the towel. When virtually all those people with ‘skin in the game’, that is, climate scientists, agree that global climate change/warming is happening, bet on it.

  12. Sorry, ran out of space on the last entry. Hey, I wish I was wrong. God knows I do. I have two small grandchildren who will have to live through whatever happens. But the data just doesn’t support that. The world’s climate is changing and it is getting warmer. How that will shake out is anybodies guess at this point. There will be winners and losers. Bangladesh is something like 80 percent floodplain. There’s a pretty certain loser for you. Our grain belt? Who knows? I’m not happy about betting my grandchildren’s future on that.

    I’ve been a biology teacher and field biologist my whole career. What we do is collect data, analyze it, follow it where it takes us. This is not a conservative/liberal battle. Ideology has nothing to do with this.

  13. Mike Curtis says:

    I believe global warming was responsible for ending the last Ice Age…those Cro Magnons and Neandertals were probably clueless to the cause and just chalked it up to the gods and mother nature. How unscientific.

  14. Mrs. Davis says:

    This is not a conservative/liberal battle. Ideology has nothing to do with this.

    I quite agree. That’s why we have the first amendment.

  15. Richard Nieporent says:

    And by the way, almost all science is by consensus.

    Sorry, atlas but science is not about consensus. It is done using the scientific method. The scientific method provides a methodology for testing the validity of a hypothesis. If the results of an experiment confirm the predictions of the hypothesis then we accept that hypothesis as valid. If subsequent predictions are also shown to be correct then we call that hypothesis a theory. However, if the results of a new experiment are not consistent with the predictions of the theory then we either abandon the theory or change it so that the predictions based on the theory are now correct. Nowhere in this process does consensus come into play.

  16. Climate change is real. It has happened before, it will happen again. Global warming was pretty much responsible for the mega droughts in the Southwestern U.S. that pretty much annihilated the Anasazi.

    Is anthropogenic global warming real? If it is, is it more sensible to mitigate the effects or try to stop it?

    We know what happened last time global warming happened. We know that richer societies tend to deal with natural disasters with significantly less loss of life than poorer societies. It is prudent to hobble our productive capacity in a most likely futile attempt to curtail production of greenhouse gases?

    Personally, I’m agnostic about anthropogenic globabl warming (yes, I probably spelled anthroprogenic wrong) but I don’t think anyone can stop carbon dioxide emissions. There are way too many benefits from an industrialized society to give them up. I quite freely admit my adiction to electricity, refrigerator, the computer and personal mobility.

    Neither Chinese nor the Indians are going to give up on fossil fuels. They simply can’t do that and maintain stable societies.

    Besides, we know that non AGW is happening and will happen. In the past, in some places, nonAGW was a positive influence. Great Britain was warm enough to grow wine. In others, Southwestern U.S. there were mega droughts.

    So, it seems prudent to stop wasting time and energy debating the cause of global warming….spend that time and energy figuring out how to deal with it.

  17. Richard, of course you are completely correct about the scientific method. Indeed it is the only we make progress in science. What I was trying to say is that in the climate change thing what you must do is to take the data from many such avenues and disciplines and pull it all together. This requires arriving at a consensus. I cannot agree that consensus has no place in science. But perhaps this is minor quibbling. I take your major point.

  18. > What I was trying to say is that in the climate change thing what you must do is to take the data from many such avenues and disciplines and pull it all together.

    Then maybe that’s what you should have written to begin with and the fall-back position could have been dealt with rather then the “science by consensus” assertion.

    By the way, you’re still wrong. A bunch of uncorrelated observations, which is what global warming fans have at their disposal, doesn’t make science either.

    You want to do science? Make a prediction and let’s see how it turns out. We’ve got bags of predictions from global warming fans and provided the prediction isn’t set conveniently far in the future, they’ve all fallen flat. Feel free to provide examples to the contrary.

    Since global warming fans are undeterred by the failure of their theory of anthropogenic global warming, continuing to assert it’s inviolability, I don’t believe science is the central issue.

    The central issue is who should tell who what to do.

    Global warming fans, as exemplified by this snotty reply, “Ah, global climate change/warming deniers. Gotta love ‘em” have already made the determination of who ought to be doing the telling and who the listening. If the science is there, that’s nice but it isn’t all that important, a combination of misrepresentation and fear-mongering will suffice.

  19. Margo/Mom says:

    Re: Science by Consensus

    My understanding of the scientific method is the the hypothesis is not proven, rather the null hypothesis is rejected, lending support to the hypothesis. Frequently the tested hypothesis is not the huge “global warming exists as a result of excessive use of carbon fuels,” but something more along the lines of “the change in the size of the polar ice-caps exceeds that expected if there were not global warming,” or something like that.

    And each study must be properly presented, chewed over, critiqued–its limitations noted, attempts at replication made, etc. Over time there is likely to be a preponderance of such evidences leading to–guess what–consensus of the experts (or not). That’s a good as our knowledge gets. That ain’t bad–but that’s the nature of the game, as we know it, after lo these many year of scientific development and exploration

  20. “…Since global warming fans are undeterred by the failure of their theory of anthropogenic global warming,”

    Allen, you are absolutely right.

    As a result, the “Global Warming” fad has already been obsoleted and supplanted by the new fad “Global Climate Change” to indicate more precisely:

    “Ok, it might not get hotter but it might get colder or it might rain a lot more (or less). So we actually can’t predict the weather years in advance but carbon (Co2) is still evil stuff anyway”

    The reality is that sun spot activity and cyclic changes in the earth’s orbit has more scientific credit toward changes in global climate than any “single gas conspiracy”

    But you can’t throw money at the sun or gravity to “fix it”, can you?…

  21. It’s funny to hear Atlas say “The world’s climate is changing and it is getting warmer.” when there’s another front page article about how we’re entering a 30 year cooling period as discovered -not predicted- by European scientists. (Grr. I read it this morning and now I can’t find the article link.) Climate change is still a young science and has a lot of new information to be discovered for the future.

    In high school for my senior year, I had to do two major reports, one for history and the other for science. I did global warming for both of them. For history, I wrote a report saying the world was going to end and used Al Gore’s book as most of my references. (I didn’t pay attention to politics at the time.) However, I took the exact opposite stance in chemistry and used scientific data, research papers, and historical context to prove the exact opposite, that we were heading into an ice age. A couple of my classmates who heard both presentations could barely keep their laughter in.

  22. Allen, I’m not a fan of global warming. I hate it. It looks to me like it will really disrupt our planet and hurt a lot of people. I’d like for that not to happen. But that doesn’t mean I can ignore unpleasant data.

    You say,”By the way, you’re still wrong. A bunch of uncorrelated observations, which is what global warming fans have at their disposal, doesn’t make science either”.

    We disagree. The observations correlate. We have decrease in area and thickness of sea ice, accelerated retreat of glaciers, increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, increase in methane, increased melt water into the oceans, permafrost melting, butterflies found higher on mountains than ever before, northern conifer forests being killed by longer lifespans of insect predators.

    All this points in one direction to me, and to the great majority of scientists. Of course there outliers and anomalies. There will be the occasional snowstorm in June, Italy will have a bitter winter, whatever. It’s a big planet and there are buffering systems and feedback operations that we hardly understand. And as a science teacher I would certainly point those out.

    Margo-well stated.

  23. Reality Czech says:

    That place is right after they finish they makre sure their students have all the basic facts about high level chemistry and statistics that it takes to have an informed opinion on the matter.

    Do they also need to have all the basic facts about General Relativity before they can have an informed opinion about e.g. throwing a ball?

    … there’s another front page article about how we’re entering a 30 year cooling period as discovered -not predicted- by European scientists.

    This is self-contradictory. If there is no model to predict the trend, there is no reason to believe the period would last 30 centuries or 30 days.

  24. Richard Aubrey says:

    Even some of the AGW hysterics have been forced to admit that the current cooling period is masking global warming.
    Hansen, of NASA, got more than $250k from Soros.
    NASA’s temperature monitoring stations are frequently in locations, such as asphalt parking lots, that would ruin the data. Some folks are tracking this down. In response, NASA took the locations off their web site “for security purposes”. Surprised they didn’t say it was for the children.

    Of four major temperature monitoring sources, three say we have had no warming since 1998 and one (NASA) says it’s gotten warmer and gotten warmer faster.

    And, as it happens, other locations in the solar system have gotten warmer, too.

    And, lastly, how bad, exactly, was the Medieval Warm Period? Was it worse than the Little Ice Age which followed it?

  25. Andy Freeman says:

    We have CO2 and “global temperature” numbers going back quite a ways (well beyond 1934). There were times with less CO2 than now and higher temperatures, times with several times today’s CO2 and lower temperatures, times with higher CO2 and higher temperatures, and times with lower CO2 and lower temperatures.

    In other words, we have all possible combinations. How is this consistent with the theory that atmospheric CO2 drives global temperatures?

  26. Andy Freeman says:

    Why is it called Greenland?

  27. “Why is it called Greenland?”

    I believe it was a marketing ploy to get people to settle there.

  28. John Frum says:

    We disagree. The observations correlate.

    Ever hear that correlation is not causation?

    I’ll be impressed when I see an experiment is run. Then Margo’/Mom’s null hypothesis will be disproven or not. Until then it’s not science, it’s hubris.

  29. Andy Freeman says:

    > We disagree. The observations correlate.

    Which observations correlate? CO2 levels don’t correlate with global temperature.

    We may be seeing a temperature increase. (We probably were until 2000, but since thing things have changed.) That doesn’t tell us that CO2 is to blame or that changing CO2 production by humans will help.

    Also, what is the right temperature?

    I’ll believe that folks are actually serious about carbon emissions the day that the 100th nuclear power plant in the US starts up. (The engineering and construction only take a couple of years. It’s the permitting and lawsuits that take time.)

  30. Ragnarok says:

    Margo,

    “My understanding of the scientific method is the the hypothesis is not proven, rather the null hypothesis is rejected, lending support to the hypothesis.”

    Huh? Observation, reason, experiment – that’s the scientific method. A strong theory will make many testable (falsifiable) predictions. Theories are never proven right, they’re only proven wrong.

    You can find a very elegant argument in “The Logic of Scientific Discovery” by Karl R. Popper.

  31. Robert Wright says:

    I’d prefer that the legislature pass a law that says that schools can teach whatever the parents want.

  32. Andy Freeman says:

    The essence of science is falsifiable statements. A falsifiable statement is one for which there is plausible data that would lead one to conclude that the statement is false.

    For example, “the sun will rise in the east tomorrow” is falsifiable – if the sun doesn’t come up in the east tomorrow, it’s clearly false.

    The GW folks make a lot of unfalsifiable statements. Any climate change is seen as evidence of GW. If there are extra hurricanes, GW. If there are fewer hurricanes, GW. (We saw this a year ago when the prediction of more hurricanes was taken as evidence of GW as was the reality of fewer.) If it snows earlier somewhere, GW. If it snows later, GW.

    We were told that GW was monotonic until we cut CO2 drastically. Then we found that the temperature had stopped increasing around 2000 and was actually going down. Now that’s evidence of GW.

    The “fact” that the hottest years in the US were all around 2000 was proof of GW, until we found that the hottest years were in the 30s. (That was actually a double-twist. The US data was deemed superior, until the hottest years moved.)

  33. Scientists started asking themselves what effect this excess carbon dioxido put out by humans would have on the climate. Carbon dioxide isn’t technically a greenhouse gas and doesn’t have much of a heating element to it. That honor goes to water vapor and methane. But scientist wanted to extrapolate the effects of the carbon dioxide on the system so they started coming up with formulas: CO2 effects X molecule which, in turn effects Y molecule and, in turn, increases Z molecule and changes the ocean currents thus which causes a decrease in salt which increases molecule P…

    The fight is over just how much each step in the process effects the other step. By adjusting steps up or down by tiny factors like 0.1 or even 0.001, you can get extreme results at the end. It’s just like the difference paying an extra $1000 into your retirement account 40 year earlier can have in the final amount- a big difference! Some of these extreme results even predict the end of the earth and atmosphere, an event which has never happened before, even though the earth has been much warmer than it is right now.

    Since the atmosphere has so many elements to it, climate scientists are now being joined by chemists and physicists in their analysis, adding to the pool of information and research. In no way has this issue been decided. And lets be frank, the loudest are usually the most stubborn and most unwilling to say there are more avenues to be pursued.