Dems’ climate change proposal targets school kids
Environment | Bill would set aside millions to teach unproven science
by Sarah Schweinsberg
Posted 6/24/16, 10:11 am
Last weekend, temperatures in the southwest spiked to 117 degrees, breaking the previous 1968 record of 115 degrees. The extreme heat took the lives of four Arizona hikers and caused dozens more to suffer from heat-related illnesses. The oven-like temperatures continue to fan the flames of wildfires raging in southern California. Congressional Democrats were quick to use the weather to push their ongoing storyline of humans as the main culprits of global warming.
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said one solution to climate change is for the government to educate children and adults of all ages about what he claims is humanity’s role in global warming. But some experts argue the role humans play in climate change has yet to be scientifically proven.
This month, Markey, along with seven Democratic co-sponsors, introduced the Climate Change Education Act authorizing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to create a climate change education program for schools and the general public.
Schools would not be required to teach the education program, but those that did would receive federal funding.
Paula Kleinsasser, the K-8 principle at James Valley Christian School in Huron, S.D., said the local community and school board should decide what students are taught so the curriculum lines up with community values. The federal government has the right to enforce academic standards on schools it is giving money to, but it does not have right to dictate the curriculum content.
“You can learn to do math without the content of the story problem promoting a certain ideology,” she said. “We can assess whether children are becoming good readers or good at math outside of specific curriculum content.”
Markey’s bill calls for $20 million in appropriations each year to create a federal grant program for public outreach and education programs related to climate change.
The senator said such federal investment in education would decrease the human impact on the environment. This year, 52 percent of the Forestry Department’s $2 billion budget is being used to fight fires. Markey told me those wildfires and the costs it takes to fight them are directly linked with climate change.
His bill states, “The evidence for human-induced climate change is overwhelming and undeniable.”
But Benjamin Zycher, an environmental scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, said the evidence of how much humanity has caused temperatures to rise is anything but conclusive. Zycher said no one denies that greenhouse gas emissions have an effect on the environment, but who causes those effects—humans or nature—is unknown.
“Separating human causes from natural causes is very difficult to do,” Zycher said.
Kleinsasser agreed students should learn about the theory of climate change just like students should be informed about the theory of evolution. But schools should teach about the other perspectives on the spectrum.
“I think it needs to be presented in a way that teaches truth about all of the unknowns within the climate-change theory,” she said.
Since 2006, when Democrats first started presenting climate-change legislation, they have not seen any major legislative victory even when they had the majority in the Senate and House, mostly because all the ideas led to higher energy costs through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Zycher said.
Most political-observers agree Markey’s proposal likely won’t pass out of the Republican controlled Senate Commerce Committee. A similar bill to Markey’s was introduced over a year go in the House by Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif. That bill has yet to be voted on.
Sarah is a reporter for WORLD Radio.