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Alarmist Educators Pressure Children into Fear, Depression

August 30, 2019

Climate Change Weekly #334

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No one is discussing a horrible case of mass child abuse I read about nearly every day. Among the most perverse and dangerous consequences of the “climate delusion” being hyped almost daily by the fake news mass media is the havoc it is wreaking on the health and psychological well-being of children of all ages.

As anyone who has suffered or studied spousal and child abuse knows, physical harm is not the only way people can be abused. Fear, despair, and rage instilled by words is a form of abuse that can cause just as much long-term damage as beatings, cigarette burns, or other forms of physical torture. Repeatedly and loudly tell people they are worthless, they are nothing more than a drain on resources, or have no future, and many come to believe it. In turn, they begin to despair, give into hopelessness or depression, exhibit forms of mental illness, or lash out at others and society at large, telling others the same harmful things they’ve been indoctrinated with, continuing the cycle of abuse.

Kids are faced with a near-daily barrage of news stories, in print, online, on the air, and increasingly in the classroom, that their parents and their own lifestyles are killing “Mother Earth.” Children and youths are regularly told humans, collectively, but especially people in industrialized nations, are carbon criminals causing planet-killing climate change, and to save the Earth, people must do with less, give up travel, stop eating certain nutritious foods they like, stop enjoying activities they enjoy that require them to use energy, cars, lights, and boats, and by all means, don’t have children, which are nothing more nor less than waste producers: unnecessary and unwelcome new sources of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s the type of abuse being heaped upon kids today.

I’m not joking or exaggerating. NBC News ran a story titled “‘Climate grief:’ The growing emotional toll of climate change,” while Buzzfeed warns of the growing number of people foregoing children out of fear climate change will leave them no viable future. A whole new branch of psychology has arisen to deal with the mental difficulties resulting from publicizing the climate delusion: ecopsychology. If the emotional toll on adults is bad, how much worse is it for youths developing their intellectual and emotional maturity?

Some children, based on the abusive misinformation they are being battered with daily, have responded with rage and rebellion, walking out of school and marching in protests. I’d wager few if any of the youths protesting alleged human climate destruction have ever read any of the actual peer-reviewed literature discussing and debating the causes and potential consequences of climate change, nor have they been taught the history of fossil fuels and how their use has enriched society, expanded agriculture, made modern medicine possible, and resulted in longer lifespans, radically reduced infant mortality, and a huge reduction of poverty, starvation, and malnutrition. Nor have they learned how markets liberated millions of people from daily drudgery, and how fossil fuel use has reduced and reversed environmental destruction. They have been indoctrinated with climate fears based on headlines proclaiming human fossil fuel use, modern society, and the growing human population are using up all the planet’s resources.

The news media promote and highlight climate protests by kids whom most societies have deemed too young, too undeveloped and immature, to enter into contracts, decide whether they should get tattoos or undertake major surgery, get married, smoke, drive, vote, drink alcohol, see an R-rated movie, legally purchase firearms, live on their own, or be held accountable as adults for most crimes. But we are supposed to take their misinformed fears of climate disaster seriously, fears instilled in them by years of abusive hype, indoctrination, misinformation, and one-sided portrayals of climate science and economic theory.

As if the indoctrination has not been thorough enough, radical environmentalists, progressive educators, environmental and education bureaucrats, politically connected green energy and product profiteers, and local, national, and international politicians, in the effort to expand their control over everyone’s daily lives, are pushing to teach climate dogma as part of the core curriculum in government-controlled schools.

Don’t get me wrong: I have nothing against teaching about climate as part of a general science curriculum including biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. Learning about planet Earth, the differences between ecosystems, how their component parts interact, the myriad factors that cause climates to differ and change over time, and how human society has and can contribute to and/or respond to changing climate conditions, locally, regionally, and globally, can prepare kids to better confront whatever societal and climate conditions exist as they enter adulthood. The problem is the climate “education” efforts I’ve seen so far are nothing more than indoctrination: dogmatic repetition of the claim there is a scientific consensus humans are using too many resources and causing dangerous climate change, with the only solution being to rapidly end the use of fossil fuels—what many analysts call the “climate delusion.”

Any hint that the causes and consequences of climate change are still under active debate, or that fossil fuels have value to the environment as well as to people, or that markets have proven to solve environmental problems better than bigger government, all things demonstrably true, are being stripped out of textbooks, study guides, and curricula. Instead of teaching students how to think about issues and how to ask questions, use data to test hypotheses, and use logic to come to conclusions, climate education increasingly teaches children to close their minds and accept uncritically what their teachers tell them.

Author Sanjeev Sabhlok writes, “climate hysteria is a great opportunity to teach children to ask questions,” and I agree, yet that is not how it is being used. Instead, as even the liberal Guardian recently acknowledged, “To date, many attempts to educate the public—and our kids—about climate change have relied on scare tactics that focus on superstorms, massive floods and ominous weather patterns to generate fear.” The latter inhibits true learning and harms kids’ psyches, yet based on my experience with the promotion of climate education in Texas and other states, all we can expect from the expansion of climate education is more fearmongering and agitating for socialism.

For the children’s sake, its long past time to stop promoting the delusional assertion there is a consensus humans are causing catastrophic climate change that will soon leave them scrabbling to survive on a withered husk of a planet (within 10, 12, 50, or 100 years—pick your favorite end-of-the-world expiration date being promoted by various climate charlatans and hucksters). Please stop indoctrinating kids with the lie that only by eschewing their own self-developed and -directed individual hopes and dreams for better lives, and instead ceding control to self-anointed climate seers and czars pushing policies like the Green New Deal or international treaties like the Paris climate accord—which are nothing more than top-down, big government, authoritarian cradle-to-grave programs cloaked in a humanitarian-sounding green veneer—can they save themselves and the planet from doom. Please, for the sake of the children, their mental health, and physical well-being, acknowledge climate change has always happened and will continue to happen, and that human beings, now as in the past, can adapt to those changes and, within broad limits, adapt nature to better serve our ends, leaving the next generation better off than the previous, ad infinitum into the future.

This is what history and science actually show about climate, and it’s the good news the media and the educational system, to the extent the latter broaches the climate topic, should be spreading.

Get out the good news. It’s for the children!

  • H. Sterling Burnett

SOURCES: NBC News; Buzzfeed News; Times of India; Study International


IN THIS ISSUE …

Tesla puts out more carbon dioxide than diesel cars, study findsOceanic geothermal activity affects climate


TESLA PUTS OUT MORE CARBON DIOXIDE THAN DIESEL CARS, STUDY FINDS

A new study by the German think tank IFO finds the Tesla Model 3, counted as a zero-emissions car by government regulators in Germany (and California) for emitting no carbon dioxide during use, actually results in more carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere than driving a comparable diesel-powered car, when the two are compared on a lifecycle basis.

A significant amount of the electricity produced in the top three countries for electric car production, China (number one), Germany (number 3), and the United States (number two), comes from coal-fueled power plants, which emit more carbon dioxide per unit of energy produced than other significant sources of electricity.

As a result, IFO found, when the emissions from the electric power used to run electric vehicles and the carbon dioxide emissions from production of the lithium ion batteries used in Teslas and other electric vehicles are counted, emissions “in the best case, [are] slightly higher than those of a diesel engine, and are otherwise much higher,” an IFO release states.

IFO calculated “[d]riving a Tesla Model 3 in Germany, for example, is responsible for 156 to 181 grams of CO2 per kilometer, compared to just 141 grams per kilometer for a diesel-powered Mercedes C220d—that includes emissions from producing diesel fuel,” says the Daily Caller’s summary of the report.

The Daily Caller reports IFO’s study isn’t the first research to determine electric cars probably don’t reduce carbon dioxide emissions when honestly compared to vehicles burning fossil fuels. Two studies from 2018 came to similar conclusions. One report found the emissions from the production of the lithium-ion batteries used in Teslas might produce higher emissions than diesel vehicles, and the second study, from the Manhattan Institute, concluded when counting emissions from electric power used to charge electric car batteries, “putting more electric cars on the road would likely increase emissions compared to internal combustion engine vehicles.”

SOURCES: Daily Caller; IFO Institute (in German)


OCEANIC GEOTHERMAL ACTIVITY AFFECTS CLIMATE

An increasing number of researchers are concluding geothermal activity, including volcanic activity and deep ocean vents below the seabed, probably have a significant effect on ocean temperatures. A brief survey of some of the literature conducted by climate scientist Judith Curry finds geothermal activity and the way it effects ocean circulation and the turnover of deep and near surface waters could account for a significant portion of recent ocean warming. One study Curry discusses says,

Without geothermal heat fluxes, the temperatures of the abyssal ocean would be up to 0.5 degrees Ceslsius lower than observed, deep stratification would be reinforced by about 25 percent, and the strength of the abyssal circulation would decrease by between 25 percent and 50 percent, substantially altering the ability of the deep ocean to transport and store not only heat but also carbon and other climatically important tracers. It has been hypothesized that interactions between the ocean circulation and geothermal heating are responsible for abrupt climatic changes during the last glacial cycle.

Evidence that underwater geothermal activity plays a significant role in changes in ocean temperatures is also found in paleoclimate literature. During the Miocene, when, despite having carbon dioxide levels similar to the present, as one study writes, “Antarctic ice volume was half modern, the Arctic Ocean was ice-free in winter, and extratropical temperatures nearly as warm as in the Eocene.”

According to one author, “The general consensus … seems to be that the Mid Miocene warming event is best explained in terms of deep ocean circulation or the so called ‘oceanographic control of Miocene climate.’” Interestingly, this paper notes pressure to downplay factors other than human greenhouse gas emissions as drivers of climate change has resulted in the authors of studies finding a substantial impact from oceanic geothermal activity on climate to understate the significance of the results of their own research.

“Many of these authors who are still in paleo climate research now tend to soft pedal these anomalies and discrepancies in public discourse to present the Mid Miocene warming in terms of the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect although their new improved assessment appears to contradict …[that]. In many of the works … it appears that the authors are struggling to relate grossly anomalous situations to the greenhouse effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide,” writes Thongchai.

Curry also cites recent work by Arthur Viterito, professor of geography of the College of Southern Maryland, who also serves as a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, demonstrating the link between undersea volcanic activity and shifts in ocean temperatures.

Our current understanding of the impact of oceanic geothermal activity is in its infancy, and thus inadequate to determine with certainty its overall impact on ocean temperatures relative to greenhouse gas emissions. Since oceanic geothermal activity it is not well accounted for in climate models, it is an important area meriting further study.

SOURCES: Climate Etc.; Thongchai Thialand; The Heartland Institute

Author
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is a Heartland senior fellow on environmental policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
hsburnett@heartland.org