NCSE TACKLES CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL
A new initiative in the struggle for quality science education
OAKLAND, CA January 16, 2012
Science education is under attack–again.
This time it’s under attack by climate change deniers, who ignore a mountain of evidence gathered over the last fifty years that the planet is warming and that humans are largely responsible. These deniers attempt to sabotage science education with fringe ideas, pseudoscience, and outright lies.
But the National Center for Science Education won’t let ’em get away with it.
“We consider climate change a critical issue in our own mission to protect the integrity of science education,” says Dr. Eugenie C. Scott, NCSE’s executive director. Long a leader in the fight to defend the teaching of evolution in public schools, NCSE now sees creationist-like tactics being used in the attack on climate education.
“Climate affects everyone, and the decisions we make today will affect generations to come,” says Scott. “We need to teach kids now about the realities of global warming and climate change, so that they’re prepared to make informed, intelligent decisions in the future.”
In this expansion of its core mission, NCSE will help parents, teachers, policymakers, the media, and others to distinguish the real science from the junk science that deniers are trying to push into the science classroom.
“Polls show that Americans’ understanding of climate change is very shallow. One study found that only 54% of teens realize that global warming is happening,” says Mark McCaffrey, a climate and environmental education expert who has joined the NCSE as its new climate change programs and policy director. “Why? Because of a barrage of misinformation on climate change, coupled with a lack of accurate climate education. I’m excited to be part of NCSE’s efforts to help to reverse these disturbing trends.”
The scientific community is applauding NCSE’s new initiative. Said Alan I. Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS):
“AAAS has long admired the NCSE’s efforts to protect the integrity of science. We are delighted to see the Center expand its activities to ensure that climate science is appropriately taught in our nation’s schools.”
“We applaud the NCSE for its efforts to promote the teaching of climate change in our nation’s classrooms,” said Dr. Francis Eberle, executive director of the
National Science Teachers Association. “Teachers should not be subjected to ideological opposition to the teaching of climate change from parents, administrators, or members of the community.”
Added Scott Mandia, the meteorologist who cofounded the Climate Science Rapid Response Team:
“The cavalry has arrived. NCSE, with its passion and experience defending science in our schools, will ensure that teachers can educate students about climate change without fear of reprisal.”
Tackling climate change denial head on
In its initiative to defend climate change education, NCSE will:
* Help parents, teachers, and others fight the introduction of climate change/global warming denial and pseudoscience in the classroom.
* Act as a resource center to connect teachers, scientists, and policymakers with the best information available.
* Provide tools and support to ensure that climate change is properly and effectively taught in public schools.
* Aid those testifying before local and state boards of education, and before local, state, and federal legislative committees.
* Connect local activists with one another, and with scientists and other relevant experts.
New program, new faces
As part of this new initiative, the NCSE has added two key members to its team:
* Dr. Peter Gleick, president and co-founder of The Pacific Institute, joins NCSE’s board of directors. Gleick is a noted hydroclimatologist, an internationally recognized water expert, and a MacArthur Fellow. Gleick’s research and writing address the critical connections between water and human health, the hydrologic impacts of climate change, sustainable water use, privatization and globalization, and international conflicts over water resources.
* Mark McCaffrey, a long-time climate literacy expert, joins NCSE as climate change programs and policy director. Previously at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), McCaffrey helped spearhead a number of climate and energy literacy programs, and the creation of the Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN), and testified before Congress about climate and environmental education.