News

Apr 5, 2012

Teachers, scientists slam IPA for sending Plimer book to schools

Scientists and teachers have accused free market think tank The Institute of Public Affairs of spreading scientific disinformation by sending copies of Ian Plimer’s latest book to hundreds of schools around the country.

Matthew Knott

Former Crikey media reporter

Scientists and teachers have accused free market think tank The Institute of Public Affairs of spreading scientific disinformation by sending copies of Ian Plimer’s latest book to hundreds of schools around the country. Plimer’s tome, How to Get Expelled from School: a guide to climate change for pupils, parents and punters, argues that the theory of man-made global warming is a scientific and financial scam. Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute, described the IPA’s bid to influence science teaching as a "dangerous development". "They’re an advocacy group; they’re putting forward the position of vested interests," he said. "This can happen in the political sphere; it shouldn’t happen in the educational sphere. "We have procedures for developing curricula and trusted sources of science -- the Australian Academy of Science, the CSIRO, the Bureau of Meteorology, universities. That’s where to go for information. Once you open it up to anyone with a vested influence it’s basically a free for all." Anthony Lonergan, a science teacher at Scone High School, told The Power Index he was shocked when his school received a copy of the book in January. "I was outraged that the IPA was sending out this rubbish," he said. The book was accompanied by a letter co-signed by Plimer, the institute’s executive director John Roskam and Hunter property developer Jeff McCloy. McCloy is in a stoush with Lake Macquarie Council over its decision to restrict waterside development because of concerns about future sea level rises.

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