If you only have a few seconds, read these lines:
- On July 18, 2023, the Prager University Foundation (PragerU) announced that Florida had become the first state in the country to approve the use of its videos in schools that choose to do so.
- According to its website, the Prager University Foundation “offers a free alternative to the dominant left-wing ideology in culture, media, and education.” Its founder has stated that it is fair to say the organization indoctrinates children.
- In Factchequeado, we watched one of the videos for children that deals with climate and found false information, figures lacking context, and arguments used by climate change deniers.
By Rafael Olavarría
On July 18, 2023, the Prager University Foundation (PragerU) announced that Florida had become the first state in the country to approve the use of its videos in schools that choose to do so.
The Prager University Foundation, as described on its website, is a non-profit organization that “promotes American values through the use of educational videos” and “provides a free alternative to the dominant left-wing ideology in culture, media, and education.” The Prager University Foundation is not a university but an organization that promotes conservative ideas.
PragerU was co-founded by Dennis Prager, a conservative activist and radio host. In a speech he delivered on July 6, 2023, at an event organized by the conservative group Moms for Liberty, Prager stated: “I heard someone say I indoctrinate children, which is true, [because] we do bring doctrines to children. That’s a pretty fair statement. But when I ask what’s wrong with our indoctrination, they don’t answer.” (minute 1:44 of the video)
The video for children that promotes climate change denial narratives.
At Factchequeado, we watched the video titled “Poland: Ania’s Energy Crisis,” which tells the story of Ania, a Polish teenager who “must endure a devastating winter after the Polish government banned the use of coal.”
In the story, Ania goes from being a passionate fighter against climate change to advocating for the use of coal to keep energy prices low in Poland. In the process, the video promotes two misleading narratives often pushed by those who deny the existence of climate change and the role of human activity in it.
“The planet has warmed and cooled since prehistoric times… long before coal was a factor.”
The planet has warmed and cooled since prehistoric times… long before coal was a factor” – This statement (which appears at 3:15 minutes into the PragerU video) is misleading and requires context. It is one of the most common arguments used by those attempting to deny the scientific evidence demonstrating the role of human activity in global warmin
NASA explains that while it is true that the planet’s temperature has changed throughout its history, since the mid-20th century, the planet has been warming at a rate not seen in the past 10,000 years, since the end of the Ice Age.
Professor Gabriel Filippelli, Executive Director of the Institute of Environmental Resilience at the School of Earth Sciences at Indiana University, explained to Factchequeado that the Earth has warmed and cooled due to the buildup of carbon in the atmosphere.
“Now we are smart enough to measure carbon in the atmosphere, and to observe that it has increased by 50% since the Industrial Revolution, in the same way the planet has warmed,” Professor Filippelli said.
In the chart below created by NASA, you can see how carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were before and after the Industrial Revolution, which began around 1760.
The current global warming, as indicated by NASA, is “progressing at a rate not seen in thousands of years,” and it is “undeniable that human activities have produced the atmospheric gases that have trapped a greater portion of the Sun’s energy in Earth’s system,” and this additional trapped energy, in turn, has warmed and caused changes in the atmosphere, ocean, and land.
The role of human activity in climate change is not an opinion; it is a fact that has been demonstrated and agreed upon by 97% of scientists who research and publish on climate-related issues.
John Morales, a meteorologist and founder of ClimateData, stated in an email to Factchequeado that the speed at which the planet’s temperature is increasing limits the ecosystem’s and human’s ability to adapt to new conditions.
You can learn more about global warming in this video for kids created by NASA (available in English only).
You can also watch this video in Spanish created by Maldita.es, a co-founding partner of Factchequeado.
“Unlike coal and fossil fuels, solar and wind energy are unstable, expensive, and difficult to store.”
This appears at the 4:40 mark of the PragerU video and is false.
A 2020 report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) states that solar and onshore wind energy are “the most cost-effective ways to add new power-generating plants in most countries” and that solar energy projects “offer one of the lowest costs of electricity in history.”
On the other hand, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), composed of 167 member countries and the European Union, reported that in 2021, the cost of wind and solar energy decreased by between 13% and 15% compared to 2020.
Professor Filippelli also explained that the claim that wind and solar energy are “unstable” is false and cited examples where wind and solar energy have helped keep the electrical grid running during extreme temperature events.
The video (published in July 2023) also states that only 10% of the world’s energy comes from renewable sources, without indicating the source of that claim or explaining the context of that percentage.
In our research, we found that this figure is outdated: the amount of energy generated by solar and wind plants worldwide was 10% in 2021, but by 2022, it had increased to 12%, according to a study by the nonprofit international organization Ember.
According to Ember’s research, solar energy is the source of electricity that has grown the most annually over the past 18 years.
Factchequeado reached out to the Prager University Foundation to inquire about the sources of these claims, but as of the time of closing this report, we had not received a response. We also contacted the Florida Department of Education to inquire whether they were aware of the content of this video, but we have not received a response from them either.
Our contact with Professor Filippelli and Meteorologist Morales was facilitated by HuellaZero, an ally of Factchequeado.
Factchequeado is a fact-checking outlet that builds a Spanish-speaking community to counter misinformation in the United States. Want to be a part of it? Join us and fact-check the content you receive by sending it to our WhatsApp at +16468736087 or via factchequeado.com/whatsapp.