“CLEAN” teaches climate alarmism on a grand government scale

CLEAN is the Grand Central Station when it comes to distributing alarmist teaching materials to American students. The CLEAN portal boasts links to over 650 items, many of which are detailed lesson plans. It also includes many pages of generic instructions on how to teach climate alarmism, which it stupidly calls “climate literacy.” In fact “CLEAN” stands for Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network. It is all about using the bogus climate change scare to force changes in our energy system and the modern lifestyle this energy makes possible. Scientific literacy has nothing to do with it.

Not surprisingly, CLEAN is federally funded. It began as part of the NSF funded National Science Digital Library, but then took on a life of its own. In this new life it is jointly funded by NOAA, NSF and DOE. It is also integrated into the highly alarmist federal Climate.gov website. This means that it is not just federally funded, CLEAN is federally operational. One wonders what this operational contract looks like? This federal funding should end.

That CLEAN’s many teaching materials are alarmist is guaranteed by its selection criteria, which it grandly calls the “Guiding Principle” of climate literacy. The Guiding Principle is this: “Humans can take actions to reduce climate change and its impacts.” This is as succinct a statement of climate alarmism as one can find.

CLEAN explains it this way:

Humans cause climate change, and humans can address climate change too. Climate change can be a tough topic to teach. But talking about the solutions can bring a hopeful message to the classroom and empower students. It’s essential that students understand the types of actions we can take, and the scale at which these changes are necessary. Humans need to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases, while also preparing for impacts, planning for resilient communities, and protecting the ecosystems that sustain us. Addressing climate change will be a monumental a challenge, and no doubt some of today’s students will be instrumental in designing and implementing future solutions.

CLEAN’s 650+ teaching materials is selected to advance this alarmist Guiding Principle.

There is nothing here about understanding climate science, much less seeing the deep scientific debates that dominate that field. It is all about “empowering” students, which means training them to be political activists, to carry the banner of alarmism. In fact the full formal title of the principle is this: “The Guiding Principle for Informed Climate Decisions.” So it is all about decisions. This is climate activism, not climate science.

The idea is to scare the kids without depressing them to the point of inaction. This reprehensible focus on activism over science is characteristic of the online alarmist teaching websites. Teaching sound science is not the goal, far from it. Even when the activist aspect is not overt, it is typically implicit because the focus is on the supposed adverse impact of dangerous climate change, which is assumed to be human caused. That CLEAN gets its material from many other websites shows just how widespread this activism is.

CLEAN elaborates the alarmist Guiding Principle at great length, via a number of what it calls component concepts. These begin with the sound fact that the Earth’s energy comes from the sun, but then they get progressively more alarmist. The final concepts are these two:

Human activities are impacting the climate system” and “Climate change will have consequences for the Earth system and human lives.

Note that climate change here means human caused change. The idea of natural change is considered briefly then quickly discarded and left behind.

Each of these questionable concepts gets a very long webpage of teacher guidance. Here are just two examples of CLEAN’s instructions for teachers:

It may be tempting to have a debate about this topic, but that may not be the most effective way to characterize it. A debate suggests that there are two credible, opposing viewpoints, when in fact the scientific community is virtually unanimous about the human causes of climate change. Secondly, debating a topic can reinforce misconceptions and cause unnecessary controversy in the classroom.

So no debate, no questioning, just pure alarmism?

Keep in mind that alarming students and the public about the impact of climate hazards, such as droughts and extreme events, can be counter-productive and cause people to ignore the warnings, feel hopeless, or succumb to denial. However, glossing over the severity of the impacts and the enormous social and environmental ramifications of climate change can lead to a society that is ill-prepared to deal with change. Finding a balanced approach and avoiding a “despair deficit” is clearly a good practice, both inside and outside of the classroom.

So the threatened threat is severe, but not to despair? More pure alarmism.

CLEAN even advises that climate alarmism be taught in non-science courses, which means as propaganda. For example, they say this:

Because climate change affects so many parts of our lives, the theme can be woven into a range of topics throughout a course or a unit. Subjects such as history, economics, or health can all touch on climate change. Climate impacts needn’t only be addressed within the specific context of an earth science class.

There is evidence that this sort of rogue teaching of alarmism is in fact happening.

Conclusion: In short, CLEAN is a massive federally funded center for the delivery of alarmist teaching materials. The US Government has no business supporting this activity. The federal funding of CLEAN should end.

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About the Author: David Wojick, Ph.D.

David Wojick is a journalist and policy analyst. He holds a doctorate in epistemology, specializing in the field of Mathematical Logic and Conceptual Analysis.