The New York Times recently ran a long article complaining that President Trump quitting the Paris Agreement has emboldened high school students to be skeptical of climate change alarmism. This is good news, but of course that is not quite how the NYT puts it. They believe in climate alarmism, so they see student skepticism as a bad thing.
Their biased view is exemplified by their bogus headline:
“Climate Science Meets a Stubborn Obstacle: Students“
I would put “climate science” in quotes at best, because the NYT is doing the usual trick of falsely equating speculative alarmism with settled science. These students are indeed an obstacle to alarmism, but it is because they are being scientific and questioning dogma, which is good. Alarmism is not climate science, far from it.
The NYT article suggests that Trump quitting the Paris debacle has emboldened skeptical students. Let’s hope so, but the reality is that student skepticism is not new. After all, the majority of parents question alarmism. Moreover, polls indicate that many high and middle school science teachers are already teaching about the climate debate, rather than teaching alarmism.
The Denver Post ran a similar story, with the same trick in their headline: “How to teach kids about climate change where most parents are skeptics.”
Like the NYT, the Denver Post is basically equating bogus alarmism with real climate science, as though skepticism were somehow unscientific. Nothing could be further from the truth. Climate skepticism is science at its best. Even worse, both articles suggest that poverty might be a motive for skepticism, which has an element of truth because climate alarmism is a prescription for energy poverty, but the legion of skeptics includes all income brackets, including the President’s.
It is worth noting that both articles refer to questionable data graphs from NASA as evidence for alarmism.
The Denver Post article says this: “Jacobson whipped out her cellphone and pulled up a NASA graph of global temperature records going back hundreds of thousands of years. With her pinkie, she traced the zigzagging line through the centuries, then pointed to where it shoots up sharply in the 1950s – right when humans started adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere at a perilously fast rate.“
We do not know what global temperatures were hundreds of thousands of years ago. They may well have been higher than today. We do have strong evidence that temperatures just a thousand years ago were as high, or higher, than they are today. It is no surprise that the Obama NASA graph does not show these high temperatures. Moreover the temperature’s “shooting up” in the 1950’s is at odds with the standard estimates, which show cooling from the 1940’s until the 1970’s. In fact the satellites show no warming until the late 1990’s.
It would help the parents, students and teachers if they had skeptical materials, written for their grade level, which countered these bogus alarmist claims. Unfortunately the Web is full of sites offering one-sided alarmist teaching materials. Many of these alarmist education websites are federal, such as the NASA site, or federally funded. Here is a sample list that I compiled for CFACT. While there are numerous skeptical websites, there are no skeptical education sites at this time. This gap needs to be filled.