Move over evolution: Now you can add climate change to the list of controversial science topics taught in public schools. That’s right, the governor that sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over greenhouse gas emissions doesn’t want to mandate California’s children are educated on climate change. Why the apparent contradiction?
SB 908: Global Warming Education in Schools, sponsored by Senator Simitian (D-Palo Alto), would have revised the existing state framework to include climate change as part of children’s environmental education, but unfortunately it was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger. Not only did the bill include climate change in public school science curriculum, but also added to the science framework, and thus science textbooks, seven other topics:
- Integrated waste management
- Energy conservation
- Water conservation and pollution prevention
- Air resources
- Integrated pest management
- Toxic materials
- Wildlife conservation and forestry
As quoted by StopGlobalWarming.org, Simitian explained the importance of climate change curriculum:
You can’t have a science curriculum that is relevant and current if it doesn’t deal with the science behind climate change. This is a phenomenon of global importance and our kids ought to understand the science behind that phenomenon.
Republicans were concerned that the discussion on climate change would not be science-based and wanted the views of global warming skeptics to be taught as well. Senator Jeff Denham (R-Modesto) said:
We don’t have complete factual information yet. From what I have seen the Earth has heated and cooled on its own for centuries. I don’t know that there’s anything that is a direct cause of that right now, but we can do a better job of cleaning up our planet.
Seriously, “We don’t have factual information yet”, when the 10 hottest years – ranked by global surface temperature – since 1880 all have occurred since 1995. Don’t our children deserve to learn about climate change and these other important topics? Once again, I am reminded we do have a Republican governor in California who will tow the party line, even when faced with imbecility.