Perhaps the most interesting revelation from the leaked Heartland Institute documents is the climate denial think tank’s plan to develop a public school curriculum designed to counter the climate science consensus and perpetuate the false controversy about the state of climate science.
This is particularly interesting in light of efforts by several states that have already introduced or passed legislation requiring teaching of anti-climate science viewpoints in public school curricula. In Oklahoma, a bill in the legislature would encourage school teachers to teach viewpoints that challenge accepted science on global warming and, yes, even evolution. Similar legislation has already been adopted in Louisiana and South Dakota.
I’ve been working on an article discussing the challenges climate science faces in the political “marketplace of ideas,” and the limited remedies for the political market failure when it comes to climate science. One of these remedies is the ability of public education to communicate accurate information about climate science. The problem, of course, is that as with evolution and sex, public education of science becomes captive to the prevailing political “truth,” so that uncontroversial science becomes an educational controversy. The Heartland Institute and its enablers is not about to let the scientific consensus win in the marketplace of public education.
Oh, and another element of the Heartland Institute’s denialist strategy? Try to cultivate New York Times Blogger Andy Revkin to lend legitimacy to denialist views! But that particular “document” from the Heartland files may have been a prank.