Climate change on its way back to Idaho?

05.22.2017

On May 19, 2017, the Idaho state department of education released (PDF) a draft revision of five science education standards addressing climate change and human impact on the environment. Earlier versions of the same standards were, as NCSE previously reported, deleted from the state science standards by the state legislature, where legislators — particularly in the House Education Committee — complained that they failed to present "both sides of the debate." 

The revised versions of the standards continue to acknowledge human responsibility for recent climate change, but appear to soften or qualify the acknowledgment somewhat. For example, where ESS3.C formerly stated, "Human activities ... are major factors in the current rise in Earth's mean surface temperature," it now states, "Current scientific models indicate that human activities ... are the primary factors in the present-day measured rise in Earth's mean surface temperature," while the sentence "Emphasis is on the major role that human activities play in causing the rise in global temperatures," was removed from ESS3-MS-5. 

A member of the revision committee told Idaho Education News (May 19, 2017) that the committee tried to respond to lawmakers' concerns while maintaining the scientific integrity of the concerns: "we did look at legislators' comments and took out words we knew were hot buttons." The Idaho state board of education will review the standards in August 2017, and then, after a twenty-one day public comment priod, will vote on whether to adopt them. The standards will then again undergo legislative review in 2018.