Sunday, February 9, 2014

The EPA and the New Scientific Method for Kids: Just Believe Us

    The Obama administration's position on "climate change" is hardly news, but a page on the EPA's website targeted at students is a particularly egregious example of how the concept of "science" has been corrupted for political purposes.  Under the heading "A Student's Guide to Climate Change" is the promising subheading "Think Like A Scientist."  The subheading continues with the exhortation to "Uncover the cause of today's global climate change."  Then comes the following paragraph where "science" heads swiftly downhill and off a cliff:
Did you know that thousands of measurements of the Earth's air, water, and land are taken every day? These measurements come from weather stations, airplanes, ships, satellites, and many other sources all around the globe. Taken all together, these measurements and other observations tell us that the Earth's climate is warming, people are the main cause, and impacts on society and the environment are already happening.
    Isn't science grand?  Three sentences and our scientific journey has led us to the inescapable conclusions that:
  1. Earth's climate is warming
  2. people are the main cause
  3. impacts on society and the environment are already happening
Science!  We just scienced!
    If any students' minds are still open at this point, a visit to the page helpfully entitled "Ruled Out" should take care of that.  Despite the foregone-conclusion nature of the heading, students are invited to investigate.  "Can you rule out natural factors as the main cause of today's climate change?  Examine the facts by clicking on the images below [sun, Earth's orbit, volcanic eruptions], and then make your decision."  Clicking on the images provides a short paragraph of information and then a question, "Could the sun/volcanoes/Earth's orbit be responsible for today's climate change? Reveal answer." A click on "reveal answer," of course, brings up the reasons why these factors have been - you guessed it - ruled out.  Eureka! Just a few minutes and a few clicks and voilĂ ! We've just scienced again! And plenty of time left to play a few hours of X-Box before lunch!
    For those in middle school interested in delving deeper into the subject, the EPA recently announced a video contest.  Not surprisingly, the EPA is not looking for students to do experiments and present scientific conclusions - too messy.  So the conclusions are provided for them:
1) The signs of climate change are all around us. 
Here a few of the signs of climate change we’re seeing now: 
Higher Temperatures
Wilder Weather
Rising Sea Level
More Droughts
Changing Rain and Snow Patterns 
Visit our Signs of Climate Change web pages to learn more about the signs of climate change, and see the trends over the decades. 
2) The climate you will inherit as adults will be different from your parents' and grandparents' climate. 
Climate change means serious impacts on… 
Our health...Through longer allergy seasons, increased number of heat-related illnesses, and increased air pollution that can worsen asthma. 
The spread of disease... Warmer temperatures can expand the ranges and lifespans of disease-spreading mosquitoes and ticks. 
Heat waves and droughts... Climate change increases the frequency and intensity of heat waves and droughts. Heat waves increase energy costs for households, lead to blackouts and brownouts, and threaten human health and safety. Droughts can drive up food prices, limit hydroelectricity supplies, and affect manufacturing operations that rely on water to run their businesses. 
Wildfires... With climate change increasing the likelihood of hot, dry weather in many parts of the country, the risk of wildfires is expected to increase. 
Storms... In much of the country, more precipitation will fall in intense, short bursts such as blizzards and downpours, which can lead to flooding. In addition, scientists expect that hurricanes will become more intense, with higher wind speeds and heavier rains. 
Learn more about how climate change will affect people and the environment 
3) Now is the time to act on climate change. 
Reducing carbon pollution, and preparing for the changes that are already underway, is key to solving climate change and reducing the risks we face in the future. A major way carbon pollution gets into the atmosphere is when people burn coal, oil, and natural gas for energy. Everyone uses energy so everyone can be part of the solution!
It would appear that climate change "deniers" need not apply.
    The deadline for the contest is March 10, so time is running out.  So, ready kids? Grab your video camera and your EPA talking points, and let's science!

1 comment:

  1. Extreme tax payer caution advised - An age old earths natural climate cycle know nothing alarmist at play.