We told you earlier this month that Texas Congressman Joe Barton, R-Ennis, could become chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in January. Such a possibility worries climate scientists because Barton is hostile to efforts to reduce carbon emissions as a way of slowing global warming. For example, Barton bizarrely opposes even replacing the "traditional, incandescent light bulb" with more environmentally friendly and efficient CFL bulbs -- or, as Barton calls them, “the little, squiggly, pig-tailed ones.” So would climate scientists be more comfortable with the other Republicans vying for same committee chairmanship? Not necessarily. The Toronto Star reports that one possible chairman of the committee, U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Illinois, is an evangelical Christian unconcerned about dangers to the environment because of his religious beliefs. The Star reports that Shimkus dismissed the issue of climate change at a hearing in 2009. The congressman recited a Biblical passage (Genesis 8:21-22) about God's promise to Noah (after the Great Flood) never to permit the destruction of life on Earth: “I believe that’s the infallible word of God, and that’s the way it’s going to be for his creation,” Shimkus said.…… Read More

The departure of Cathie Adams to become Texas Republican Party chair hasn't left Texas Eagle Forum without its fringe characters. TEF's new president, Pat Carlson, is carrying on in Adams' tradition of spouting extremist nonsense. Case in point: a Carlson-bylined article in last month's edition of the TEF's Torch publication warns that efforts to protect the environment -- and particularly efforts to stop or slow global climate change -- will lead to "one world" government. And she drops in this absurd paragraph near the end of the piece:…… Read More

As we noted yesterday, evolution wasn’t the only target of social conservatives on the Texas State Board of Education this week. New public school science curriculum standards approved by the board also weaken instruction on climate change.

Board Chairman Don McLeroy told a reporter that he thinks the standards, including a measure suggesting there is no scientific consensus on global warming, “perfectly good”:

Conservatives like me think the evidence (for human contributions to global warming) is a bunch of hooey.

As with evolution, however, the mainstream scientific community thinks McLeroy’s position is “hooey.”

Changes in the atmosphere, the oceans and glaciers and ice caps now show unequivocally that the world is warming due to human activities, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in new report released today in Paris.

The IPCC, which brings together the world’s leading climate scientists and experts, concluded that major advances in climate modelling and the collection and analysis of data now give scientists “very high confidence” – at least a 9 out of 10 chance of being correct – in their understanding of how human activities are causing the world to… Read More

The Texas State Board of Education did more than open the door to creationist attacks on evolution when passing new science curriculum standards today. It also watered down a section on global warming in the standards for the environmental systems high school course. The environmental systems curriculum standards drafted by a writing team in December had included the following standard: (9)(G) discuss the positive and negative influence of commonly held ethical beliefs on scientific practices such as methods used to increase food production or the existence of global warming The measure was changed to read: "analyze how ethical beliefs can be used to influence scientific practices such as methods of increasing food production." Then the board added the following standard: "Analyze and evaluate different views on the existence of global warming." As with evolution, there is consensus in the mainstream science community on the existence of global warming. The debate revolves around the mechanisms causing it. The Environmental Defense Fund sent out the following press release:…… Read More

Gail Lowe, a member of the far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education, has demonstrated once again her true agenda for public schools.

The State Board of Education is responsible for developing curriculum standards and approving textbooks that help our kids succeed in school and prepare them for college and the jobs of the 21st century. Lowe, R-Lampasas, appears to see the state board as simply another avenue for promoting her own personal and political agendas. As reported by the Graham Leader:

[All emphasis here is ours.]

Gail Lowe, Republican candidate for the Texas State Board of Education, told the Young County Republican Women she will continue to fight for conservative values Monday.

How about fighting for a good education for Texas kids instead of a political agenda for ideologues?

Lowe said her core values are to fight for strong curriculum standards, insure a thorough textbook adoption process, exercise prudent financial management and represent traditional values in education.

Traditional values? Like censoring textbooks? No thanks.

On the topic of certain books, Lowe said she is opposed to those exposing children to alternative lifestyles such as Heather Has Two Mommies in schools.… Read More