However, I do have some insights and experience with regards to teaching the controversy at the college level. Let me share some of the things that we have been doing at Georgia Tech in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS).The post continues after a few paragraphs:
Climate and Global Change
Peter Webster teaches a course on Climate and Global Change, that is taken by senior undergraduate students and also graduate students. More than half of the students from the class come from other fields (mostly engineering and biology). The course is primarily the science of climate dynamics.
The last two weeks are devoted to the climate change problem as framed by the IPCC. The students were shown 6 online (youtube) presentations: 3 from the consensus perspective, and 3 from the skeptic side: Pat Michaels, Bob Carter, Vincent Courtillot. I led a discussion on the movies. The general opinion of the students was that none of the presentations were wholly convincing, and that each had at least some good points. I asked which “side” did you find more convincing, the consensus or the skeptics? Most said “somewhere in the middle.”
Last week, Randy Olson, scientist turned film maker, visited Georgia Tech for a series of workshops, a lecture, and screening of his movie Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy.I don't have a problem with teaching the controversy. I think my side of this issue is stronger and would carry the day.
This is the most balanced treatment of the global warming debate that I’ve seen. Its done in ‘mockumentary’ style, its funny yet insightful. It has a number of features that would appeal to high school and college audiences, including the hip-hop photographers and the flaky producers. It has a number of important, yet subtly made points: that there is a scientific debate, it is very easy to get distracted from the global warming issue to deal with more immediately relevant issues, and finally that the U.S. doesn’t know how to deal with such challenges (as exemplified by continuing problems in New Orleans).
People interviewed from the ‘warm side’:
Dr Jerry Meehl, NCAR climate scientist
Dr. Richard Somerville, Sripps climate scientist
Dr. Naomi Oreskes, History of Science Professor
Dr. Megan Owen, San Diego Zoo Research Dept
Julia Bovey, Natural Resource Defense Council
People interviewed from the ‘cool side:’
Dr. George Chillingarian, Professor of Petroleum Eng.
Dr. Bill Gray, Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Sciences
Dr. Steve Hayward, American Enterprise Institute
Dr. Pat Michaels, CATO Institute
Marc Morano, former staff member of Senator Inhofe
Dr. Fred Singer, Science and Environmental Policy Project
There are two different Trailers, see here and here. The Pat Michaels scene is here. The Marc Morano scene is here.
UNFORTUNATELY, the movie is not available on DVD or in movie theaters, apparently it is shown in special screenings. But this is an excellent example of teaching the controversy.
Update: In teaching the controversy, would you mention the environmental groups "in the pay of big oil and energy"??
Update #2, 2/25/12: In teaching the controversy, might you include this guy's views?
Professor Richard Lindzen is one of the world's greatest atmospheric physicists: perhaps the greatest. What he doesn't know about the science behind climate change probably isn't worth knowing. But even if you weren't aware of all this, even if you'd come to the talk he gave in the House of Commons this week without prejudice or expectation, I can pretty much guarantee you would have been blown away by his elegant dismissal of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming theory.
Dick Lindzen does not need to raise his voice. He does not use hyperbole. In a tone somewhere between weariness and withering disdain, he lets the facts speak for themselves. And the facts, as he understands them, are devastating.
Here's what he says about man-caused global warming:
Stated briefly, I will simply try to clarify what the debate over climate change is really about. It most certainly is not about whether climate is changing: it always is. It is not about whether CO2 is increasing: it clearly is. It is not about whether the increase in CO2, by itself, will lead to some warming: it should. The debate is simply over the matter of how much warming the increase in CO2 can lead to, and the connection of such warming to the innumerable claimed catastrophes. The evidence is that the increase in CO2 will lead to very little warming, and that the connection of this minimal warming (or even significant warming) to the purported catastrophes is also minimal. The arguments on which the catastrophic claims are made are extremely weak – and commonly acknowledged as such. They are sometimes overtly dishonest.As they said on Battlestar Galactica--All this has happened before, and it will happen again.