Climate change discourse in U.S. history textbooks from California and Texas

Anthropogenic climate change is a scientific fact, but U.S. public discourse around the issue remains mired in uncertainty, including in education. Our study leverages natural language processing methods to give an unprecedented look into the precise extent to which climate change-related topics are covered in 30 of the most widely-used history textbooks in California and Texas. We find that history textbooks situate climate change-related topics within the narrative of U.S. progress and development, and focus on the role of government in climate action. Consistent with analyses of science curricula, we also find that history textbooks emphasize controversy and uncertainty in climate discussions. Despite differences in state-level standards, the content of textbooks in California and Texas are surprisingly similar in the extent and nature of their climate change-related discourse. Our study shows that history textbook reform is an important arena for expanding and improving climate change education.