Climate change education bills in Congress

06.23.2016

Senate Bill 3074, introduced in the U. S. Senate on June 16, 2016, would, if enacted, authorize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to establish a climate change education program.

Observing that "the evidence for human-induced climate change is overwhelming and undeniable," the bill assigns NOAA the task of "broaden[ing] the understanding of human-induced climate change, possible long-term and short-term consequences, and potential solutions" through providing formal and informal learning opportunities to people of all ages. Included is a grant program aimed at improving climate change education at the K-12 level.

The sponsor of the bill is Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), who unsuccessfully broached a similar piece of legislation (amending what would become the Every Child Achieves Act) in 2015, as NCSE previously reported. Additionally, a similar measure, House Bill 1961, was introduced in the U. S. House of Representatives in 2015 by Michael Honda (D-California, District 17), although it is currently stalled in committee.

NCSE's executive director Ann Reid was enthusiastic about the bills. Alluding to the recent NCSE/Penn State survey (PDF) about the teaching of climate change, she commented, "We know for a fact that too many teachers are unprepared to present climate change, especially when they encounter ideological resistance. The proposed bills will allow the federal government to help teachers to present climate change accurately, honestly, and confidently."

"Everyone concerned about equipping students with the knowledge and knowhow required for them to flourish in a warming world should urge their congressional representative to support these bills," Reid added.