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Children "Brainwashed" on Climate Change

Children "Brainwashed" on Climate Change

The Ministry for the Environment (MfE) is misleading New Zealand children about human-caused climate change and its effects, according to New Zealand Climate Change Coalition.

The Coalition is concerned about the impact of the MfE website ( aimed at influencing the beliefs of New Zealand children and it will be demanding that the website be immediately withdrawn.

Dr Chris de Freitas, a climate scientist at The University of Auckland advising the Coalition, said the material on the website is "brainwashing our children with information that is unbalanced and not a true reflection of the range of views on human-caused climate change and the scientific basis. When speculation is presented as fact, the issue of social responsibility arises” he said.

He pointed to the example on the website intended to enlighten children on mechanisms of global warming. They are advised to conduct an experiment using a glass jar and thermometers to make a miniature version of the greenhouse effect.

Dr de Freitas said “this is an inappropriate way to explain global climate because there is no equivalent of the glass panes, and the energy is not 'trapped' either. Rather, energy is being absorbed (by the molecules of the atmosphere that are capable of absorbing it), and this energy in turn is being continually radiated away: the warmer the air the greater the rate of radiation, which cools the air as energy is lost.

"The atmosphere does not behave like a greenhouse. In a real greenhouse, the sun warms the ground inside it, which warms the air near the ground, and this air is prevented from rising and flowing away. The warming inside a greenhouse thus occurs by suppressing convection and turbulent mixing. The main mechanism for keeping the air warm in a real greenhouse is not a radiative process but a convection process (the exchange of air between the inside and outside). Thus, the glass of a real greenhouse acts as walls to prevent bubbles of warm air getting out. In contrast, in the Earth's atmosphere, convection is facilitated and is one of main processes of heat transfer.

"The surface of the Earth is warmer than it would be in the absence of an atmosphere because it receives radiant energy from two sources the sun and the atmosphere. To claim or demonstrate that the atmosphere behaves as a greenhouse is grossly misleading.

“The website also informs are children that the greenhouse gases in our atmosphere as ‘mainly carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide’, when in fact the main greenhouse gas responsible for controlling climate is water vapour.

“These are just a few examples of the dubious quality of the information on the website. There are many more” he said.


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