In a microcosm of the ongoing political fight over the validity of global warming science, an eastern Pennsylvania school director called a textbook’s chapter on the subject “propaganda” at a school board meeting last night.
And in an example of the shifting tides on the issue, the school board shot him down.
The LeHigh Valley Live reported that Saucon Valley School Director Bryan Eichfeld objected to the global warming chapter in an environmental science textbook the meeting was considering for approval. Eichfeld pushed for the science department to create a supplement to the chapter that would give students evidence and data challenging the “global warming claims in the book” and providing them “true science.”
“There’s a lot of clear propaganda… in this chapter that’s based on bad science,” Eichfeld said, assuring the supplement would make sure “our children are getting a balance.”
Eichfeld invited Bethlehem resident Paul Saunders, a chemical engineer, to refute the chapter. In particular, Saunders said that there has been no increase to global temperatures in almost two decades despite increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
However, the pause in rising temperatures applies to heat readings in the atmosphere only. Some 90 percent of the heat from global warming enters the oceans.
And when that heat is accounted for — especially in the deeper waters — the gap between the heat increases atmospheric carbon would predict and the atmospheric heat increases we’ve seen essentially closes.
The Saucon Valley school board members expressed reservations about bringing in an outside resident to question the school board’s textbook decisions, and questioned Eichfeld’s description of Saunders as a “local expert on the deceptions of global warming alarmists.” A chemical engineer is “a little far off climate” observed Director Charles Bartolet.
Ultimately, the rest of the board rejected Eichfeld’s proposal, with several members expressing discomfort over what they saw as Eichfeld’s effort to inject an ideological stance into the science department’s implementation of curriculum.
“It’s not appropriate for us to be going down this road,” said Director Sandra Miller.
Something of a turning point in the political fights over teaching climate change in schools landed late last year, when the Texas Board of Education — which oversees one of the biggest textbook markets in the country — approved a batch of 14 science textbooks as-is, without disclaimers stating “there is no evidence for a human influence on the carbon cycle” as some critics wanted.
Overall, a plurality of Americans agree that human activity is a key driver of global warming, and solid majorities approve of federal efforts to cut carbon emissions — such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s new rules for power plants. The issue of climate change, however, remains extremely divisive along partisan lines.