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Dem lawmakers say public schools are 'inappropriate place' for books written by 'climate deniers

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Three congressional Democrats are asking public schools to remove a book — "Why Climate Scientists Disagree About Global Warming" — written by authors who deny that climate change is man-made. (Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images)

Three congressional Democrats are calling on public schools to remove from their classrooms books written by authors who deny that climate change is man-made.

Reps. Bobby Scott (Va.), Raul M. Grijalva (Ariz.), and Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas) said in statements issued Monday that schools are "no place for anti-science propaganda" and called for teachers to dispose of certain books that don't align with the liberal ideology.

The congressmen specifically called for schools nationwide to remove from their shelves the 2015 book "Why Climate Scientists Disagree About Global Warming." The book was authored by Craig Idso, a former climatologist at Arizona State University; Robert Carter, professor of marine geology and paleontology at James Cook University; and Fred Singer, an environmental scientist at the University of Virginia, the Daily Caller reported.

Demands for the books to be removed came after the conservative Heartland Institute donated more than 25,000 copies of the book to science teachers last month. PBS reported the libertarian think tank intends to distribute copies to every public school science teacher in the country.

The Heartland Institute sent the books along with a letter written by Lennie Jarratt, who is the organization's project manager of the Center for Transforming Education. The letter read, in part:

A recent survey found most K-12 science teachers who address climate change in their classrooms treat the science as "settled" and focus on ways to reduce human emissions of greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps you are one of those teachers.

I am writing to ask you to consider the possibility that the science in fact is not "settled." If that's the case, then students would be better served by letting them know a vibrant debate is taking place among scientists on how big the human impact on climate is, and whether or not we should be worried about it.

Scott, Grijalva, and Johnson insisted there's nothing to debate. The lawmakers even went as far as to accuse Heartland of "lying to children."

“If climate deniers think our public schools are the right place for their propaganda, they need to be exposed in no uncertain terms. Let’s see how much Heartland believes in this project when schools, teachers, parents, students, and our fellow members of Congress tell the group and its corporate funders to end this ridiculous campaign," said Grijalva, who serves on the House Committee on Natural Resources.

The Heartland Institute is associated with the State Policy Network, a libertarian nonprofit organization. Heartland said on its website that it does not disclose the names of individual donors. The source of funding for the State Policy Network was unclear, although some have speculated the organization is funded by billionaires Charles and David Koch.

Scott, who is on the House Committee on Education and the Workplace, said, “If the Heartland Institute and other climate deniers want to push a false agenda on global warming, our nation’s schools are an inappropriate place to drive that agenda.”

Johnson also issued a statement Monday, saying, "[I]n an environment where people on both sides of the aisle talk about improving the [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] capabilities of our students, we must, at a minimum, ensure that our children are exposed to the best scientific resources on this issue, not these unsolicited and misleading materials from the Heartland Institute.”

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