24 May 2012 ­ – From The Conversation, by Frances Quinn: Two recently published books suggest that the public – and school children in particular – are being fed lies about environmental issues such as climate change. The books – “How to Get Expelled from School: A guide to climate change for pupils, parents & punters” by Ian Plimer and “Little Green Lies: An expose of twelve environmental myths” by Jeff Bennett – clearly demonstrate how important it is to have a scientifically literate Australia. The distorted and selectively reported science in these books highlights some of the challenges that Australian teachers face in teaching science, and how important it is that they are supported in this task.

The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE) has condemned Plimer’s book as misleading and inaccurate. However the free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is apparently sending copies of Plimer’s misleading fringe book to Australian schools. The Executive Director of the IPA John Roskam is, incidentally, on the editorial board of the publishing house of these two books.

Plimer’s book tells school students that they are being “conned” and “fed propaganda” if their teacher “waffles” on about issues such as human-induced global warming, sea level rise and the IPCC. He deplores this as “environmental activism”. This is despite the overwhelming evidence for human induced climate change accepted by a vast range of climate scientists and scientific organisations.

Climate change in science classrooms

The NSW Year 7-10 science syllabus reflects the accepted scientific view: “students will learn about waste from resource use and identify excessive use of fossil fuels as a contributing factor to a greenhouse effect”. The new Australian Curriculum: Science includes similar content: “explaining the causes and effects of the greenhouse effect” and “investigating the effect of climate change on sea levels and biodiversity”. Read the whole story