Ireland’s largest publisher of school books has revised a chapter in its sixth class school geography book after environmental group, An Taisce, raised concerns about what the book says about global warming.
'Unlocking Geography', published by Folens, quotes a fictional meteorological researcher, who suggests that global warming is caused by nature and that humans are not to blame.
The book was published four years ago and has been used for sixth class pupils in primary schools ever since.
In chapter ten of the book, 'Barry' a fictitious climate scientist outlines the effect that human activity is having on the environment.
He is followed by 'James', a fictitious meteorological researcher, who disagrees. James says "Most of the things that have led to Global Warming were caused by nature itself".
He goes on to say that "Humans are not to blame because we have very little control over nature.
The chapter asks children to discuss these points of view.
It quotes from blogs that state "All this talk of Global Warming is silly", and "Those scientists are always trying to scare us!".
The book came to the attention of An Taisce when the daughter of one of its members alerted her parents to its arguments. Following representations from An Taisce, Folens agreed to revise the chapter.
Today a new booklet was sent to schools, replacing chapter ten of the book.
This new section was drawn up in conjunction with An Taisce and scientists.
The fictitious meteorological researcher, and his arguments against global warming, are gone.
Folens has told RTÉ News that the original content reflected the "balanced opinion" on climate change which was prevalent a number of years ago.
Managing Director John Cadell said that scientific opinion had now changed and the company was happy to update its book. Folens has written to primary schools today asking them to replace chapter 10 with the new booklet that the publishers has issued.
Folens said it would be too expensive to republish the entire book.
An Taisce has welcomed the revision. Its Climate Change Spokesperson, John Gibbons, told RTÉ News it was incredibly important that children and their teachers were armed with the most accurate information.