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Education Earth Science

Wyoming Is First State To Reject Science Standards Over Climate Change 661

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-the-case-of-science-v-politics dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Time Magazine reports that Wyoming, the nation's top coal-producing state, has become the first state to reject new K-12 science standards proposed by national education groups mainly because of global warming components. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are a set of science standards developed by leading scientists and science educators from 26 states and built on a framework developed by the National Academy of Sciences. The Wyoming science standards revision committee made up entirely of Wyoming educators unanimously recommended adoption of these standards to the state Board of Education not once but twice and twelve states have already adopted the standards since they were released in April 2013. But opponents argue the standards incorrectly assert that man-made emissions are the main cause of global warming and shouldn't be taught in a state that ranks first among all states in coal production, fifth in natural gas production and eighth in crude oil production deriving much of its school funding from the energy industry.

Amy Edmonds, of the Wyoming Liberty Group, says teaching 'one view of what is not settled science about global warming' is just one of a number of problems with the standards. 'I think Wyoming can do far better.' Wyoming Governor Matt Mead has called federal efforts to curtail greenhouse emissions a 'war on coal' and has said that he's skeptical about man-made climate change. Supporters of the NGSS say science standards for Wyoming schools haven't been updated since 2003 and are six years overdue. 'If you want the best science education for your children and grandchildren and you don't want any group to speak for you, then make yourselves heard loud and clear,' says Cate Cabot. 'Otherwise you will watch the best interests of Wyoming students get washed away in the hysteria of a small anti-science minority driven by a national right wing group – and political manipulation.'"
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Wyoming Is First State To Reject Science Standards Over Climate Change

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 11, 2014 @08:40AM (#46971719)

    Anyone that can make it through an undergraduate text on atmospheric science and still maintain that CO2 does not cause warming is fooling themselves. One one side of this argument we have idiots who fundamentally do not understand what they are arguing against. Radiative transfer is not that hard, and if you're going to argue that the science is bullshit, then you should know the science. Not the global climate simulations, but the absorbtion spectra of various gases in the atmosphere, because those can be trivially measured. The effects of anthropogenic climate change are up for debate, that CO2 causes warming and that humans are really fucking good at generating it is really not. If you don't like it, prove me wrong.

    You could start reading here [scienceofdoom.com], or pick up a real textbook. It might take you a whole afternoon. Be warned, it's chock-full of actual observations and -- dare I say? -- inconvenient truths.

  • by SomeKDEUser (1243392) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @09:42AM (#46972077)

    I'll just leave this here.

    https://upload.wikimedia.org/w... [wikimedia.org]

    Last time we had the kind of temperatures we are heading for, the dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Normally, organisms have millions of years to adapt to these kind of changes. This is how we are headed to an extinction event.

  • by WhiteZook (3647835) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @09:43AM (#46972089)
    In the history of the planet, when CO2 was 20 times higher, the output from the sun was also (significantly) less.
  • by sg_oneill (159032) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @09:43AM (#46972091)

    But natural causes is...and if you are not teaching children that the warming could very well be simply natural warming than you are not teaching them the scientific method which tells us that the null hypothesis is always assumed to be true until its proven false.

    Yes, but as David Hume would point out. The preponderance of evidence of apples falling from trees doesn't *prove* that gravity is real, just that its incredibly unlikely that its not.

    We're at that point with man made climate change. We know that if CO2 doesn't trap IR heat, nearly 140 years of physics needs to be turfed, we know that we've put in a certain amount of CO2 that outstrips by a huge margin any natural source, and that x amount of CO2 will introduce Y amount of energy into the climate system. We can do rudimentary models that show a general trend and lately we've been doing more complex models track a more specific trend with astonishing accuracy when applied to historical data.

    The odds of human induced climate change being wrong are so low that its simply not up for debate anymore in the sciences, just as evolution or gravity isn't because that would be silly.

    The fact that outside of the sciences a lot of people seem to think theres scientific controversy isn't really important here.

    Science isn't a democracy, its a dictatorship of evidence. And the evidence is in. AGW is real.

  • by WhiteZook (3647835) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @09:57AM (#46972179)
    No, you do your homework. Natural sources are huge, but so are natural sinks. Without the human contribution, they would balance each other out. Human CO2 production is tipping the scale, year after year after year.
  • by AlterEager (1803124) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @10:04AM (#46972221)

    How in the world will we head for an extinction level event?

    Obviously we aren't headed for a global extinction event. We are already in the global extinction event.

    You do realize that this planet has seen CO2 levels 10 times what we have today (even 20 times higher) and not once did an extinction event play out due to CO2 increases.

    Because the PETM didn't happen on your alternate earth?

    In fact, at one point in our past, the planet had roughly 2000 PPM CO2 (5 times today's levels) and we were in the midst of an ice-age.

    Boring zombie argument #49. http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-higher-in-past.htm [skepticalscience.com]

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @10:04AM (#46972227)

    But natural causes is...and if you are not teaching children that the warming could very well be simply natural warming than you are not teaching them the scientific method

    Luckily for us, there's an organisation dedicated to reviewing the best data that scientific studies have to offer, with contributions from thousands of practising scientists all over the world collected over more than 25 years. Let's see what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has to say:

    Human influence on the climate system is clear. This is evident from the increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, positive radiative forcing, observed warming, and understanding of the climate system.

    ...

    Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes (see [data citations]). This evidence for human influence has grown since [the previous IPCC Assessment Report]. It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.

    ...

    Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

    — IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

    Just to be clear, those quotations are directly from the highlighted key points in the sections about attributing the detected changes in the climate and what will happen in the future. The emphasis was retained from the original publication.

    I'll leave you with one more quote, from a slightly less heavyweight source but no less valid:

    The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it. — Neil DeGrasse Tyson

  • by sg_oneill (159032) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @10:08AM (#46972251)

    Human sources of CO2 are dwarfed by natural sources, please do your homework before making such claims. The additional CO2 humans are adding to the mix is tiny but could have an impact.

    Yeah that idea was fundamentally discredited a long time ago dude. Sorry.

    http://www.skepticalscience.co... [skepticalscience.com]

  • by sg_oneill (159032) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @10:15AM (#46972309)

    Models are only a success on their training data, they have failed at predicting the future at every step

    Wrong. These aren't Neural networks , and they aren't "trained". They are a simulation of understood physics that thus-far matches the historical data and is so far actually predicting things quite well (Although some of the earlier models where a bit conservative due to not accounting for permafrost).

    What you are calling "training" , in science is called "Hind-casting" and its a standard method of testing scientific theories where we can't feasibly do experiments (other than the usual CO2 in lab type stuff from the 1870s when we first started talking about climate change from CO2).

    If you disregard it, you have to throw away *so much* science. Why would you want to do that? Its a tried and tested methodology responsible for a huge amount of what we know about the natural sciences.

    Regardless, as the IPCC has pointed out. The models have actually been quite accurate in predictions so far.
    http://www.skepticalscience.co... [skepticalscience.com]

  • by Shoten (260439) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @10:36AM (#46972455)

    You fucking idiot. You 'useful idiot', more like.

    This particular troll listens to Glenn Beck, who invented the meaningless phrase "useful idiot". This is a particularly vile kind of troll.

    As much as I hate Glenn Beck (and Fox News in general), this is not true. The phrase is a reference to Stalin, who referred to communist sympathizers in the USA as "useful idiots," recognizing both that they served a purpose for him and that they were morons for wanting wealth redistribution while members of the wealthiest nation in the world. So essentially, every time Beck used that phrase, he was associating the people he was insulting with communism, but in a way that wasn't easily called out and discredited based on, well...facts.

  • by Holmwood (899130) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @10:37AM (#46972465)

    Starting to depart a bit from the topic, but 'useful idiot' is not an invention of America's Glenn Beck. It dates at least back to Russia in the 1940's, and then developed generally as a term to generally characterize 'fellow traveler' socialists who were not themselves communists but were willing dupes of communists.

    Not everything in this universe is an invention of American left or right wingers.

    That said, I find the GP's attitude of "no such thing as catastrophic man-made global warming" coupled with his sarcasm to be as unhelpful as your ahistorical claim. He may well be right that there is no such thing; if climate sensitivity is on the low end of current IPCC estimates, then a reasonable person could argue that means the results will not be catastrophic in a global sense, and attribution will make any specific weather disaster tough to pin on anthropogenic climate change. But to blithely assert that it therefore doesn't exist? I'll definitely pass on that assertion.

  • by Layzej (1976930) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @10:46AM (#46972541)

    The question isn't whether "CO2 causes warming" but whether a change from 290 to 330 ppm in the troposphere can be the cause of a measurable change in the heat content of troposphere.

    Well, we blew past 330 ppm in the 1960's and are now at 400 ppm. That causes a direct forcing (not including feedbacks) of 5.35*ln(400/280)W/m^2 or about 1.9 W/m^2. For comparison, the output from the sun fluctuates by as much as 1 W/m^2 every 11 years. CO2 is now causing a forcing that is double the increase in solar forcing - but the CO2 forcing is constant while the solar forcing only peaks once every 11 years.

    I'm curious whether your undergraduate text explains why increased CO2 concentration in the stratosphere causes the stratosphere to loose heat.

    Here is what the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry says: "Greenhouse gases (CO2, O3, CFC) absorb infra-red radiation from the surface of the Earth and trap the heat in the troposphere. If this absorption is really strong, the greenhouse gas blocks most of the outgoing infra-red radiation close to the Earth's surface. This means that only a small amount of outgoing infra-red radiation reaches carbon dioxide in the upper troposphere and the lower stratosphere. On the other hand, carbon dioxide emits heat radiation, which is lost from the stratosphere into space. In the stratosphere, this emission of heat becomes larger than the energy received from below by absorption and, as a result, there is a net energy loss from the stratosphere and a resulting cooling." - http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/e... [atmosphere.mpg.de]

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @10:46AM (#46972545) Journal
    Glen Beck didn't invent the term 'useful idiot', it dates back to the Soviet era and was used to describe communist sympathisers who did the work of the KGB without directly interacting with them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 11, 2014 @11:18AM (#46972749)

    Glenn Beck, by contrast, is a useless idiot.

  • by Noah Haders (3621429) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @11:57AM (#46972983)
    for me the greatest clincher for man-made global warming are these two graphs:
    atmospheric CO2 450,000BC to present [wordpress.com]
    atmospheric CO2 1000AD to present [ccsu.edu]

    the first graph shows that the CO2 level has hovered between 200 and 300ppm for 500k years. so our current co2 concentration ~400ppm is unprecedented in the history of mankind! The graph also shows that global temperature is highly correlated with CO2 concentration.

    the second graph shows that for most of the past millennium the CO2 level has been hovering at 290 ppm, which is consistent with the past. But in the past 100 years it steadily shot upwards! My conclusion is that this is strong evidence that CO2 increases are due to the large scale burning of fossil fuels that began with the industrial revolution and kept going until today. my further conclusion is that if we reduce our CO2 emissions we can bring the CO2 concentrations back to historical levels.

    this is my conclusion; you may look at the same evidence and come to the same conclusion. But the important thing is to teach our children the critical thinking skills to evaluate this data. If you white wash science classes then you lose the chance to develop these skills.
  • by budgenator (254554) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @02:15PM (#46973817) Journal

    Well current temperatures have fallen below the 95% confidence band of the climate models predictions, so most reasonable scientists would say the hypothesis has been falsified on that basis; now that doesn't prove that GW is or isn't happening, it just proves the climate models are full of shit. Now that is not a surprise to anyone who has any formal training in Fortran and has looked at the source code. Even the input data is a horrific mess, little of it meets it's own data and formatting definitions.

  • by DarwinSurvivor (1752106) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @04:17PM (#46974429)

    North polar ice is indeed diminishing. South polar ice is increasing. You phrase this as if to suggest both are melting. It is a lie. Start with an obvious lie and nothing else in your post can be taken seriously.

    "Increasing" or "decreasing" mean nothing without some kind of quantity. For instance, the greenland ice sheet (arctic) is melting at a rate of 367 Gt/year between 2008 and 2012 [wikipedia.org] which dwarfs antarctica's meager increase of 33Gt/year [wikipedia.org].

  • by nbauman (624611) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @05:12PM (#46974761) Homepage Journal

    You fucking idiot. You 'useful idiot', more like.

    This particular troll listens to Glenn Beck, who invented the meaningless phrase "useful idiot". This is a particularly vile kind of troll.

    As much as I hate Glenn Beck (and Fox News in general), this is not true. The phrase is a reference to Stalin, who referred to communist sympathizers in the USA as "useful idiots," recognizing both that they served a purpose for him and that they were morons for wanting wealth redistribution while members of the wealthiest nation in the world. So essentially, every time Beck used that phrase, he was associating the people he was insulting with communism, but in a way that wasn't easily called out and discredited based on, well...facts.

    You're getting your misattributions wrong. The phrase "useful idiots" wasn't misattributed to Stalin, it was misattributed to Lenin. That is easily verified now that the reference book, They Never Said It, is on Google books. http://books.google.com/books?... [google.com] Of course there's always Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

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