A new fight is emerging in California over what their textbooks say about global warming.
A new study is claiming that California public schools textbooks are misleading their own students when it comes to climate change, expressing doubt where there is none and even suggesting that changes might be beneficial.
It’s a finding that’s sure to spark a fierce debate between the scientific community which largely backs manmade climate change and the general public which tends to doubt global warming in significant numbers.
This analysis was performed by Stanford University and involved four key science texts that were given to sixth grade students in the Sunshine State, according to a Guardian report.
They found that the books tended to frame climate change as uncertain within scientific circles, both in terms of its existence and whether humans are behind it.
To come to their conclusions, they examined 2,770 words in the books. What they found is that the generally accepted idea among scientists — that the climate is indeed changing for the worse and we are behind it — wasn’t represented in these textbooks. The books in fact were quite heavy on words like “could” or “may.”
The books also suggested that it could have positive effects, like allowing farmers to grow more crops each year, and it could open up new areas that were once hostile farming to new crops.
For example, here is one passage from one of the books, as quoted by the Guardian: “Not all scientists agree about the causes of global warming. Some scientists think that the 0.7C degree rise in global temperatures over the past 120 years may be due in part to natural variations in climate.”
The scientists argued that textbooks shouldn’t necessarily be used to scare children, it should accurately reflect the science, which these do not, they said.