NCSE featured in Washington Post story on climate change denial

Climate activist holding a sign.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

When the Washington Post (April 11, 2023) covered a recent incident in which representatives of a climate change denial organization were ejected from the National Science Teaching Association's conference, NCSE was prominently featured.

The CO2 Coalition arranged for a booth at the conference, from which it distributed comic books describing carbon dioxide as a "miracle molecule" and emphasizing its importance. Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M and a recent recipient of NCSE's Friend of the Planet award, told the Post, "By focusing 100 percent on this idea that plants need CO2, they're intentionally misleading people by avoiding the real problems of CO2, which they didn't talk about at all." He added that telling kids they need carbon dioxide to survive "is like telling a drowning person they need water to survive."

The CO2 Coalition was ejected from the conference on the second day. According to the Post, "When coalition members requested a booth at the convention, they signed a contract certifying that their materials were consistent with the association's position statement on the teaching of climate science, NSTA executive director Erika Shugart said in an email." The NSTA's position statement (PDF), issued in 2018, "acknowledges that decades of research and overwhelming scientific consensus indicate with increasing certainty that Earth's climate is changing, largely due to human-induced increases in the concentrations of heat-absorbing gases."

"The coalition's efforts come as some states have failed to update their standards for teaching climate change in public schools, leaving students at risk of learning incorrect ideas," the Post observed, citing "Making the Grade?" — the 2020 study of the treatment of climate change in state science standards conducted by NCSE and the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund. NCSE's Deputy Director Glenn Branch suggested that Texas's standards, although slightly revised since 2020, would still receive the grade of F; the Texas state board of education seems to be preparing to attack textbook treatments of climate change, as NCSE previously reported.

The Post's article ended by noting that despite campaigns such as the CO2 Coalition's, climate change education is popular, according to surveys conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, a recipient of NCSE's Friend of the Planet award.

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.