Houghton Mifflin, the publisher of the climate-denier textbook American Government, responded to criticism on Andy Revkin’s Dot Earth blog with the following claims:
The authors do not provide a history of global warming; rather they use the issue to illustrate “entrepreneurial politics.” As part of this illustration, the book cites a wide range of sources, from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to Nobel Prize Winner Al Gore.
Late last year, we released the 11th edition of “American Government,” which included some revisions to the “entrepreneurial politics” section. These revisions reflect current developments in environmental policy research.
Not a single sentence in their response accurately represents the textbook’s content.
|“The authors do not provide a history of global warming…”||The authors provide a misleading history of global warming:
|“…rather they use the issue to illustrate ‘entrepreneurial politics.’”||According to James Q. Wilson, “entrepeneurial politics” is a situation where “the costs are heavily concentrated on some industry, profession, or locality but the benefits are spread over many if not all people.” In Wilson’s mind, it is the government that burdens industry with regulations, rather than industry burdening the people with pollution.|
|“As part of this illustration…”||The section on global warming (p. 559) is illustrated with a photograph of a snow storm, without explanation.|
|“…the book cites a wide range of sources…”||Of 22 sources cited in the the 11th edition’s environmental chapter, nine are about global warming. Of the nine, five question climate change science:
|“… from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change…”||None of the references are from an IPCC publication, although Dr. Schneider is an IPCC scientist.|
|“… to Nobel Prize Winner Al Gore.”||The reference including “activists” Al Gore and Schneider contrasts them to “skeptics” Seitz, Easterbrook, and Michaels.|
|“Late last year, we released the 11th edition of ‘American Government’ …||True.|
|“…which included some revisions to the ‘entrepreneurial politics’ section. These revisions reflect current developments in environmental policy research.”||A section that claimed “neither all nor almost all scientists believe” in global warming in the 10th edition was replaced with the following in the 11th:
The revisions reflect current developments in right-wing tactics for blocking global warming solutions, replacing talking points for denying anthropogenic climate change with talking points for delaying action. Tellingly, the citations were not updated. In fact, the latest citation for the passage is from 1998.
Friends of the Earth has a petition to Houghton Mifflin to repair the book’s distortions, bias, and lies.
UPDATE: Local TV and radio stations like KIDK (Pocatello, ID) and KTAR (Phoenix, AZ) are covering the story, interviewing students and teachers who use the book. WIVB (Buffalo, NY) has interviews with Matthew LaClair and a representative from the Center for Inquiry.
Citations for Chapter 21 of American Government, 11th Edition, are peppered with global warming deniers: Read more