From “Inconvenient Nonsense Infiltrates the Classroom” (in The Australian, 11 November, 2010), by Prof. Bob Carter:
In 2006, former US vice-president Al Gore made a movie and companion book about global warming called “An Inconvenient Truth”. Gore undertook many speaking tours to publicise his film, and his PowerPoint slide show has been shown by thousands of his acolytes spreading a relentless message of warming alarmism across the globe.
But while audiences reacted positively and emotionally to the film’s message – which was that human carbon dioxide emissions are causing dangerous global warming – some independent scientists pointed out that “An Inconvenient Truth” represented well-made propaganda for the warming cause and presented an unreliable, biased account of climate science. [...]
In early February 2007, the Department for Education and Skills in Britain, apparently ignorant that the film was scientifically defective, announced that all secondary schools were to be provided with a climate change information pack that contained a copy of Gore’s by then notorious film. Many parents were scandalised at this attempt to propagandise their children on such an important environmental issue.
One parent, school governor Stuart Dimmock who had two sons at a state school in southern England, took legal action against the secretary for education in the High Court, and sought the film’s withdrawal from schools.
In a famous judgment in October 2007, Justice Burton, discerning that Gore was on a “crusade”, commented that “the claimant substantially won this case”, and ruled that the science in the film had been used “to make a political statement and to support a political program” and that the film contained nine fundamental errors of fact out of the 35 listed by Dimmock’s scientific advisers. Justice Burton required that these errors be summarised in new guidance notes for screenings.
In effect, the High Court judgment typed Gore and his supporters as evangelistic proselytisers for an environmental cause.
Fast forward to this month and many Australian parents have been surprised to learn Gore’s film “will be incorporated in the [new] national [English] curriculum), as part of a bid to teach students on environmental sustainability across all subjects”.
It is, I suppose, some relief the film has not been recommended for inclusion in the science syllabus. Instead, Banquo’s ghost has risen to haunt English teachers, doubtless in class time that might otherwise have been devoted to learning grammar. [...]
Australia is rightly vigilant about preventing child abuse and guarding the freedom of the press. Why, then, are we so willing to tolerate the abuse of educational indoctrination of our children and the deliberate limitation on the scope of the media discussions they will be exposed to as adults?
Gore’s movie and book are an embarrassment to US science and its many fine practitioners, a lot of whom know (but are often unable to state publicly) his crusade is mostly based on junk science.
If allowed in Australian schools at all, “An Inconvenient Truth” belongs not alongside Jane Austen and Tim Winton, nor with Charles Darwin and Richard Feynman, but with the works of authors such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells in the science-fiction section of the library.