Heartland’s Classroom Climate Science Polluter: ‘CO2 Is The Global Food Supply’

One in a series of posts about the Heartland Institute’s inner workings, from internal documents acquired by ThinkProgress Green. ThinkProgress is among several publications to have published documents attributed to the Heartland Institute and sent to us from an anonymous and then unknown source. The source later revealed himself. Heartland Institute has issued several press releases claiming that one document (“2012 Climate Strategy”) is fake and asserting other claims regarding the other documents. ThinkProgress has taken down the “2012 Climate Strategy” document as it determines the document’s authenticity.

David Wojick

As ThinkProgress Green first revealed last week, the Heartland Institute, a right-wing think tank funded by the Koch brothers, Microsoft, and other top corporations, is planning to develop a “global warming curriculum” for elementary schoolchildren that presents climate science as “a major scientific controversy.” This effort, at a cost of $100,000 a year, will be developed by Dr. David E. Wojick, a coal-industry consultant who sees CO2 as “the global food supply“:

CO2 is not pollution, it is the global food supply. Watching a child grow is watching atmospheri­c CO2 being reprocesse­d.

Wojick has now spoken out, defending his intention to teach children the conspiracy theory that man-made climate change is “one of the great scientific debates of history,” instead of a scientific fact built upon decades of research. In a Huffington Post comment, Wojick described his work as a taxpayer-funded consultant for the Department of Energy on science education, and his desire to fight “the company line about dangerous human induced warming“:

It is true that DOE has not funded me to do climate research, but they have funded me to do science education research. Under a DOE SBIR grant my team of teachers developed a model of the concept structure of K-16 science education. The result for DOE was a search algorithm that sees the grade level of science education writing. The prototype is running on http://www­.scienceed­ucation.go­v. They also fund me to study the cognitive structure of science itself, in order to improve their science communicat­ion database systems.

My expertise in the climate science debate comes from 20 years of study. My Ph.D. is in the philosophy of science, especially the logic of complex issues. My funding comes from free lance writing and policy analysis. While climate scientists study climate, I study their reasoning.

These two research thrusts came together when I noticed that almost all of the Web-based educationa­l resources on climate change merely parrot the company line about dangerous human induced warming. There is very little on the scientific debate, which I see as one of the great scientific debates in history. So I have set out to fill this void. The debate is now so widespread that any science teacher who cannot demonstrat­e knowledge of it will quickly lose credibilit­y. But the grand challenge is that scientific controvers­y is not typically taught in K-12, even though it is the heart of the scientific frontier. This is the fun part.

Previous comments on Huffington Post expose Wojick as an ideological conspiracy theorist, who seems to earnestly believe that the global scientific consensus on climate change is the “global warming scare,” a “catastroph­e theory with an agenda,” a “political and ideologica­l struggle,” and perhaps even “Eco-Marxism.” He makes the baseless claim that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is an “advocacy organization,” rather than the neutral scientific body it actually is.

Wojick repeats some of the most absurd canards of climate deniers, claiming that “CO2 is not pollution, it is the global food supply,” that increased CO2 “might even be beneficial,” that there has only been warming “for one 20 year period,” and that the role of CO2 in global warming is “unknown.”

This is the ideology that the Heartland Institute hopes to bring to classrooms across America. As yet, none of the corporations supporting the think tank, including GM, Pfizer, and PepsiCo, have committed to ending their support for this anti-science group.

Read excerpts from his conspiracy-theory comments below:

This sounds like Eco-Marxis­m, which fortunatel­y has very little political traction in the US. It is, however, indicative of the political underpinni­ng of the global warming scare. This is why it is far more than a scientific debate. It is a catastroph­e theory with an agenda.

You are lumping a lot of things together to make it sound scary, when it is not. Increasing CO2 may not be a problem, it might even be beneficial­. Note however that ice core CO2 measuremen­ts are not particular­ly reliable on decade to century scales. We know that previous interglaci­al periods have also seen CO2 spikes, which are natural. We know they have gone to 300 ppm but maybe much higher.

On the contrary, science is still struggling to understand climate change. Temperatur­es oscillate up and down naturally and we do not know why. What role, if any, the CO2 increase has had in the oscillatio­ns over the last 100 years is unknown. The public debate reflects the scientific uncertaint­ies quite accurately­. This is both surprising and gratifying­.

CO2 is not pollution, it is the global food supply. Watching a child grow is watching atmospheri­c CO2 being reprocesse­d.

Climate change is one of the greatest scientific controvers­ies in history. Many people, including scientists­, accept the hypothesis of human induced (and dangerous) global warming, while many others, including scientists­, do not. Despite tens of billions in research over more than 3 decades, the science is still perfectly inconclusive, so each side finds plenty of evidence to support its position. The blogs on both sides display a great deal of scientific depth. To deny this is to deny the obvious.

However, it is not a sporting event, rather it is a political and ideologica­l struggle. The science and the ideology are inseparabl­e, because the weight of evidence is in the eye of the beholder. Reasonable people of good will often look at the same evidence and come to opposite conclusion­s, and so it is with climate change. The press is right to report it as a contest, for it is a struggle of ideas.

People now understand that the IPCC is an advocacy organizati­on, created specifical­ly to advocate the scientific hypothesis of human induced global warming.

It has only warmed for one 20 year period in the last 70 years, despite continuous CO2 rise (1978-98). This falsifies the CO2-warmin­g theory.

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