A conservative think tank has sent teachers across the country thousands of books and DVDs that claim there is no scientific consensus on climate change, Buzzfeed News reports.
The Heartland Institute sent over 300,000 teachers a 135-page book titled "Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming," and an 11-minute DVD titled "History of Climate Change in Greenland."
Heartland spokesperson Jim Lakely told BuzzFeed News that "the intent was to make sure teachers were aware that there was alternative scientific research.
"There's been a positive response to the mailings for sure," he added, saying that members of the institute visited some classrooms in the spring after receiving requests from schools. "We have some invitations pending for the next school year when it begins."
In a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, and Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey of Massachusetts objected to her statement of support for President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, and calling on her to distance her department from the Heartland Institute, which they say "has disseminated 'alternative facts' and fake science at the behest of its industry funders for decades."
They note that the Heartland Institute previously "teamed up with Phillip Morris to challenge facts about the health risks of tobacco. The tobacco industry's conduct is found to be fraudulent. Using the same strategies, with funding from the Koch family foundation, ExxonMobil, and other fossil fuel interests, the Heartland Institute now seeks to undermine the scientific consensus about climate change."
The Heartland Institute includes a "reply to critics" on its website, where it quotes legal counsel: "There have been numerous false and malicious claims that The Heartland Institute is a front for the energy industry and is funded by 'the Koch brothers.' These statements are often made with full knowledge they are untrue; in some cases they are made without such knowledge. With this notice, the reader is informed he/she will have no defense of 'innocent mistake' made because of lack of knowledge and may have legal liability for defamation."
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