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SQA panned for asking pupils to outline ‘economic benefits’ of climate change

SCOTLAND’S exams body has been accused of covering “nonsense” by insisting students explain the positives of climate change in their geography tests.

The SQA’s National 5 Geography specification says that, in “understanding the potential consequences of the effects of global climate change” students should give “equal” weight to the “environmental and economic benefits”.

It says these may include: “Increased tourism in more northerly latitudes; improved crop yields/varieties; reduced level of dependency on other nations.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon says Scottish climate summit is ‘one of world’s last chances’

The Scottish Greens say that these examples are used in “numerous textbooks” available for the course “despite all reputable climate science warning that increased crop failures and widespread famines are an inevitable consequence of the climate emergency”.

Young Scots climate activist Holly Gillibrand shared a photo on Twitter of her textbook to highlight “the state of climate change education in schools”.

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer said asking students to assess the benefits of climate change was “like asking them to think of all the exciting opportunities that come from their house burning down”.

He went on: “Boosting tourism will hardly be our priority when half a billion climate refugees need a permanent home in cooler northern countries like Scotland over the coming decades.

“Yet again, Scotland’s exams authority has some serious questions to answer.

READ MORE: ‘Absolute disgrace’: BBC teaches pupils about ‘positive’ impacts of climate change

“Hosting the COP26 climate summit later this year will offer Scotland the chance to drive change. It means young people can hope to see the solid action that is so urgently needed delivered right on their doorstep.

“In that context, the absolute absurdity of the SQA claiming an upsurge in tourism is a benefit of climate change is not only deeply inappropriate, but downright depressing.”

The MSP also tweeted about the SQA policy in the wake of news that BBC Bitesize would be “reviewing” their material on the positive effects of climate change.

He said that while the BBC’s move was to be praised, the “problem is deeper than that”.

“In Scotland, covering this nonsense is an [SQA] geography course specification!”

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