Regent donated Iowa state books denying human-induced climate change


Iowa Board of Regents left to right: David Barker, Greta Rouse and Nancy Boettger listen to a presentation by University of Iowa President Barbara Wilson during a meeting at the University’s Levitt Center for University Advancement of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa on Thursday, June 2, 2022 The Board of Trustees announced earlier this week that Wilson and Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen would receive raises salary increase by 8.3% this summer, increasing their annual base salary from $600,000 to $650,000. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

After Regent Nancy Boettger last month warned Iowa State University to keep free speech in mind while teaching on the “politically charged subject” of climate science, she has donated to the ISU a pair of books from the International Non-Governmental Panel on Climate Change – which denies the notion of human-induced climate change.

“The human impact on the global climate is small, and any warming that may occur as a result of human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is likely to have little effect on global temperatures. , cryosphere (ice-covered areas), hydrosphere (oceans, lakes, and rivers), or weather,” according to a summary of one of two books provided by Boettger to the ISU, both of which are part of NIPCC’s Climate Change Reconsidered II series.

The two books Boettger provided to the State of Iowa after the regents approved the university’s new bachelor of science degree in climate science—with its attached free speech disclaimer—are:

  • “Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science”, summarized as an “independent, comprehensive and authoritative report on the current state of climate science” published in October 2013 and produced by the NIPCC; the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change; the draft science and environmental policy; and the Heartland Institute.
  • “Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts”, published in April 2014 and produced by the same entities.

In response to questions from The Gazette about whether Iowa State plans to use the materials in its new climate science program, spokesman Rob Schweers said, “The books will be shared with the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences, which offers the Climate Science program.”

“Teachers will be free to use these resources for their lessons as they see fit.”

NIPCC vs. IPCC

The International Non-Governmental Panel on Climate Change is a global group of non-governmental scientists and scholars who present a “realistic assessment of the science and economics of global warming”.

“Because it is not a government agency and its members are not predisposed to believe that climate change is caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases, the NIPCC is able to offer an independent ‘second opinion’ on the evidence reviewed – or not reviewed – by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the issue of global warming,” according to the NIPCC website.

The IPCC is the United Nations body responsible for assessing the science related to climate change, established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme. Its aim, among other things, is to “provide governments at all levels with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies”.

The IPCC currently has 195 member governments. Its assessment reports are subject to expert reviews and the final product of its sixth report is expected later this year or early 2023.

An “impacts, adaptation and vulnerability” section of the sixth edition – which came out in February – reported the following, among its many findings:

“Human-induced climate change, including more frequent and intense extreme events, has caused widespread negative impacts and related loss and damage to nature and people, beyond natural climate variability. “

Although some development and adaptation efforts have reduced vulnerability, “across all sectors and regions, the most vulnerable people and systems are disproportionately affected,” according to the report.

In a “summary for policymakers” of the book Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science that Boettger provided to the ISU, the authors criticized the IPCC and its findings.

“Many scientists, policy makers, and engaged citizens have expressed concern about the possibility that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, could cause dangerous climate change,” according to the book’s summary. “One of the main reasons for this public alarm is a series of reports published by the United Nations (IPCC).

The NIPCC’s book summary promises to interpret a “major scientific report that refutes this claim.”

book lessors

Among the entities supporting the books Boettger provided to Iowa State is the Science and Environmental Policy Project, created by S. Fred Singer “to challenge government environmental policies based on poor science.”

Singer – who died in 2020 at age 95, according to a New York Times obituary – was a physicist who earned the label “merchant of doubt” for his arguments against the threat of climate change.

“SEPP examines questionable government policies, regardless of their popularity, to determine whether the policies are based on the rigorous application of the scientific method and not just a passing fad,” according to the organization founded by Singer. “SEPP’s mission is to educate politicians, the media and the public about the importance of scientific rigor in establishing environmental and related policies.”

Another funder of the books is the Heartland Institute, which calls itself an “action group” as well as a “think tank” focused on personal freedom and limited government.

In its latest annual report, the institute released the progress of its Center on Climate and Environmental Policy, which produces a “comprehensive program of research and education aimed at increasing energy freedom in the United States and around the world.” “.

“Our efforts have earned us the title of ‘the world’s largest think tank supporting skepticism about man-made climate change,'” according to the center, which said it has made hundreds of thousands of contacts. with lawmakers in 2017 and reached 60.9 million people through the media. cover.

The Heartland Institute has drawn heavy criticism, including from the National Center for Science Education – which released a statement several years ago debunking a mass mailing the institute sent to K-12 teachers and colleges” promoting its new “Climate Change Reconsidered” report.

“With its mailing, Heartland encourages teachers to use the NIPCC in the classroom, as if it were a scientifically credible rival to the IPCC,” according to the center. “That wouldn’t be a good idea.”

“The main purpose of the NIPCC is to convey that there is a scientific debate about climate change,” according to the science education center. “There is not. At least three studies have shown that more than 97% of climatologists have concluded that human activity is warming the global climate system.

UIS program

Iowa State reports that its new bachelor’s degree in climate science was born out of an urgent need for a “well-trained and adaptable workforce” to deal with the worsening impacts of climate change – such as the financial cost of “extreme events such as floods, droughts and heat waves or widespread crop failures.

“The program is designed to meet the needs of an ever-changing world that is under considerable pressure from climate change,” according to the program description. “All students who complete the Bachelor of Science in Climate Science will have a solid foundation in how the climate system works, know about the impacts of climate on society and relevant sustainability and mitigation options, and be proficient in climate analysis. data and science communication. ”

The university expects demand to increase, with 25 enrollment this fall and up to 120 enrollment by fifth year.

Vanessa Miller covers higher education for The Gazette.

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