Art Horn: Climategate in the Classroom? (PJM Exclusive)
As an independent meteorologist, I do a lot of public speaking about weather and climate. I bring my weather program, called “How the Weather Works,” to elementary and middle schools. Most of the program is about the basics of our atmosphere, and a little bit covers how a forecast is made.
Last year, I started to include a section about global warming -- and about how I am a skeptic -- towards the end of my program.
At several of the elementary schools, this was actually met with approval. Some teachers approached me at the end of my talk and thanked me for giving the kids a different point of view -- since all they hear otherwise is that the future will be a climate calamity.
However, there have been different reactions.
A school told me I would not be able to return this year because of my global warming comments. When I visited the school last year, I told the students that the polar bears were not drowning and that their numbers have been increasing. I also showed them reasons to believe that nature has changed climate in the past and would likely continue to do so in the future.
One of the students then went home and told the parents. Apparently this did not fit the parents' understanding of what is going on in the Arctic. I was told the student was upset; I tend to believe it was the parents that were upset.
A phone complaint was made to the teacher who had invited me. Also, a complaint was made to the superintendent. The teacher who invited me actually had to do a special project about global warming to set the parents minds at ease. I have no idea what the teacher told the parents. The teacher then asked the district science coordinator if I could tone down my comments about global warming if I were to return.
The principal of the school said my information was educational, but very one-sided. I found this rather odd, since the principal also said in the email that:
It is our obligation as a public school to present both sides of an argument. In the area of science this is extremely important.
Since the kids are constantly bombarded with the alarmist point of view, I figured the realist side was just getting equal time.
The school has agreed to have me back -- but there is to be absolutely no mention of global warming at all.