Climate Curriculum Fail

February 11, 2016

20140228-135941-250x340Bright and warm this Thursday afternoon on California’s north coast as we continue enjoying a bit of summer-like weather in supposedly the middle of winter.
No decent rain expected until the middle of next week.

An environmental crazy that’s just getting warmed up — yet young people are not getting the message. In a new study, American schools are failing the grade.
Via the Guardian today: ‘Nearly two-thirds of schoolchildren in the US are taught lessons on climate change that do not rise to the level of a sound science education, according to new research on Thursday. The finding provide new evidence on the source of the confusion and denial surrounding global warming in American public life.’

(Illustration by Handoko Tjung, found here).

The big take-away is terrible politics:

The lack of teaching and the mixed messages about climate change leave schoolchildren more susceptible to disinformation about climate change spread by political or corporate interests once they enter adulthood, the researchers said.
The energy industry has spent millions funding climate denial and supporting Republicans in Congress who deny global warming is occurring.

Last November, another study concentrated on California schools, and was similar: ‘An analysis of four key science texts given to sixth-grade students in California showed that the books “framed climate change as uncertain in the scientific community — both about whether it is occurring as well as about its human-causation.”
Bad scene…

Especially as new scientific data on global warming is released just about every day — none of it good.
The earth is heating, and a scary aspect is the methane under the frozen Arctic permafrost, which cover roughly 8 percent of the global land surface but hold half of Earth’s underground organic carbon and twice as much carbon as is currently in the atmosphere. And is melting.
Via today’s GeoSpace:

According to the study’s authors, these results suggest the northern tundra may be shifting from its historical role as a carbon sink to a carbon source.
To date, the Arctic has warmed more than any other region globally and researchers expect this warming to continue in the coming decades.
If the tundra becomes a carbon source, it could amplify global warming and accelerate climate change, according to the authors.
“The more the Arctic and sub-Arctic warm, the more carbon will be released to the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, which are greenhouse gasses and will trap more heat, warming the high latitudes even more,” said Elizabeth Webb, an ecosystem ecologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville and lead author of the new study.

According to Webb, with only a few years of data, it’s too soon to say whether this marks an end to carbon storage in northern permafrost.
“It’s very difficult to make large conclusions just based on three years — it could be a total anomaly,” Webb said.
But her data does agree with other field studies and permafrost models that show the tundra is moving from a carbon sink to a carbon source, she said.
“I can’t say if that is a tipping point or not, but I can say that in terms of climate change, it’s not a step in the right direction,” she said.
Because the field site for this study was just south of the Arctic Circle, the change at this site might be a good indicator of what is to come farther north, she added.

And school’s out forever…

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