‘Big Systems’ is a revision of the Academy’s 2013 course. Here’s from the original (tinyurl.com/nwxj76e):
Lesson outcomes: At the end of this activity students will… appreciate the need to lobby at all levels of government to ignite and lead change – even if it is unpopular with the voters.
Ask [15-16 year old] students if they have ever taken action or advocated for a cause. Do they know of anyone who has? Key vocabulary: advocacy, campaign, champion, environmentalist.
If you were concerned about Earth’s sustainability, who would you vote for?
Mining attracts its fair share of controversy. It is not a pretty site![Cue picture of ugly open cut]. Could we do without it?… Would you work for a mining company? In what capacity? [One example – ‘an environmental geoscientist’].
The Academy wants 30-40 per cent cuts in emissions by 2030 relative to 2000 (much tougher than the federal government’s 2030 Paris target). In 2015, it dumped fossil fuel stocks from its $50m investment portfolio. Bad BHP! Bad Caltex! Bad cars! In 2014 the Academy part-financed its Fenner Conference called Addicted to Growth? How to move to a Steady State Economy in Australia, where eco-nuts advocated a 90 per cent cut to living standards.
Elements of the Academy’s original school course remain, such as a ‘Climate Change’ logo comprised of letters of fire and black smoke, with the letter ‘A’ as a mining excavator and the ‘T’ a construction crane.
The current material on so-called ocean acidification features environmental scientist Dr Sara Arthur, who in 2001 acidified her tank of coral and goldfish and sobbed at the aquarial mayhem: ‘One day as I was adjusting the pH [in the tank] I realised what impact extra CO2 in the environment was going to have on the coral reefs of the world. I cried. I wasn’t told, I worked it out for myself. The horror I felt was unspeakable… If I talk about [climate change] at a dinner party it’s a bit of a clanger. People were happy, until I spoke.’ I bet.
Other course pearls: Scientists let us know all the facts and figures about climate change. They know just how quickly the icebergs are melting, and almost to the day when the Great Barrier Reef will be dead. Such clever prophets!
By clinging to stale material of 2008, the Academy has scored an own goal: Even three or four years ago the scientific community was saying, ‘This is an emergency. We could have an ice-free Arctic by the year 2070, the year 2080.’ In the last few years those predictions have come way, way in towards the present, and now we’re saying maybe 2030, maybe 2020. There’s a group that makes a very strong case that in 2012 or 2013 we’ll have an ice-free Arctic, as soon as that. Sorry, no. In 2013 the Arctic minimum ice extent was 5.1 million square km; in 2017 4.6m square km.
The course features cartoon videos targeting kids with climate tear-jerkers like Little Hermie hermit crab, tragically finding all his shell homes crumbling, cracking, imploding and turning to powder (cue sad music). Hermie ends up naked under a rock and cowering from predators. The voice-over: While his struggle to find a home had an unhappy end, the real future has yet to unfold [sneakily admitting it’s all fantasy].
The revised course turns kids into proselytising pests. Kids create blogs, PowerPoints, plays and graphic novels to present to ‘the general public’, schoolmates, and family. Do your parents and siblings understand climate change? Students should scaffold [eh?] their presentations to suit their target audience. Teachers grade the kids for effectiveness as climate spruikers.
A template shows melting glaciers and ice, with two imperilled polar bears. (Polar bears have actually been stable or increasing since 2005). The planet has arms with a green sign saying ‘Act Now’.
A litmus test for honest science is the Academy’s handling of the major finding in mid-2016 (including CSIRO authorship) that rising CO2 has greened the planet by two and a half Australia’s. It’s buried in a minor ABC news feed below fluff like ‘Climate scientists feel the weight of the world on their shoulders’.
The course hides inconvenient truths such as decades of very low satellite-measured atmospheric warming during massive increases of CO2 (actual 0.3deg C warming from 1979-2015 versus model predictions of 0.9deg C – a threefold exaggeration).
The current course does include the antics of error-prone Al Gore (net worth $US200m). Incredibly, the Academy material for kids also includes Greenland ice forecasts by long-discredited doomster Dr James Hansen. Honoured albeit sceptic scientists such as Judith Curry and John Christie are unmentioned. The Academy instead directs kids to lobbyists like Friends of the Earth, ACF, WWF, and Greenpeace.
No scare is too far-fetched for kid-scaring, including the debunked Arctic methane eruptions. Heatwave deaths are cited but not extra deaths from cold snaps.
Take a look at the three penguins. If this image was a cartoon, what would your penguins say about climate change? An informed penguin would answer: ‘It’s great! You’ve just found a super colony of 1.5m Adelie penguins (Science Alert 2/3/18) and the king penguin count has increased in the past 50 years (Antarctic Science 4/2018).’ I assume the Academy would ‘Fail’ the penguin.
Cows are a worse climate hazard than cars – take that, farmers! About the only sop to serious science is that models differ in their estimates of the strength of different feedbacks in the climate system, particularly cloud feedbacks, oceanic heat uptake and carbon cycle feedbacks. There is no Academy follow-up noting that new papers downgrade the feedback factor from the IPCC’s 40-year-long guess of 1.5 – 4.5 times to only 2 times or less, demolishing the models’ 21st century heat projections. (see Lewis and Curry, J.Clim. 2018).
Here’s a mystery: 16,000 science teachers and not one has called out this greenwash-hogwash. Too indoctrinated? Too career-scared? Parents, over to you.