January 23, 2009
An Inconvenient Court Ruling
• The movie, An Inconvenient Truth, is regularly shown in public schools in North America.
• An Inconvenient Truth, hosted and produced by former U.S. vice-president Al Gore, presents the viewpoint that human-caused CO2 emissions are responsible for global warming.
• In reality, there is no demonstrable causal relationship between the CO2 record and the temperature record at any point in earth’s history.
• When the United Kingdom’s government announced it planned to distribute a copy of the movie to every secondary school, a lawsuit was launched which asserted schools should not be party to promoting propaganda to students.
• Judge Michael Burton ruled that while he felt the movie was “broadly accurate” it contained too many substantial errors to be shown in public schools without a disclaimer.
• In his ruling, Judge Burton identified nine scientific errors in the movie that were serious enough to warrant correction.
• An Inconvenient Truth is regularly shown in Canadian public schools; they would be well advised to look at this example and re-examine some of their practices.
• Teachers need to ensure that students receive a rigorous education where they learn the facts and all the different perspectives — regardless of whether they fi t into the popular version of environmentalism.
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Michael C. Zwaagstra
is a research fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy who specializes in education policy. He has extensive teaching experience at a variety of grade levels and currently teaches high school social studies in Manitoba. He received his B.Ed., P.B.C.E., and M.Ed. degrees from the University of Manitoba where he won several academic awards such as the A. W. Hogg Undergraduate Scholarship, the Klieforth Prize in American History, and the Schoolmaster’s Wives Association Scholarship. As an educator, Michael is a strong proponent of raising academic standards, holding schools accountable for their results, and expanding the educational options available to parents. His columns promoting common sense education reform have been published in major daily newspapers including the National Post, Winnipeg Free Press, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, and Calgary Herald. He is also a frequent guest on radio stations across the country. His best-selling first book, What's Wrong with Our Schools and How We Can Fix Them, was released in mid-2010.