The challenge thrown down this week by the U.S. State Department to the world’s home video makers is an ambitious one — apparently nothing less than changing the climate of the planet. “Change Your Climate, Change Our World,” is the title of the State Department’s new public diplomacy campaign in the run-up to the U.N. climate conference in Copenhagen in mid-December. This is hardly an appropriate use of US taxpayer money or effective public diplomacy for the United States as it advances a tendentious political agenda, not knowledge of the United States.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton herself launched the initiative using the department’s social networking site, ExchancesConnect, hoping to draw in submissions for videos from all over the world. The website is a prime example of Public Diplomacy 2.0, the newest tool in the governments tool box for reaching publics around the globe at the touch of a computer key board. Teenagers from 14 to 17 are invited to submit their entries between now and January 12 next year, from which four will be selected by a panel of judges. Winners will be awarded all expense aid scholarships, a handsome prize.

Undoubtedly the international entries will be numerous as the United States continues to be a favored exchange student destination.According to State Department numbers international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by 8% to an all-time high of 671,616 in the 2008/09 academic year. This is the largest percentage increase in international student enrollments since 1980/81.

But what does “Change Your Climate, Change Our World,” actually mean? By now “climate change” has become a term so broad and overused that it can mean anything you want. In the video clip posted on the ExchangeConnect website, Hillary Clinton confirms that “climate change” is a political agenda more than a meterological fact. “Climate refers to more than the weather,” she states cheerfully. Well, what more could it be, some will wonder, if not temperature, weather patterns and the like. “Climate change” in Hillary Clinton’s definition, is about all the ways human beings interact with each other, about “relationships” and “experiences.”

Young people the world over are thus invited to show what they are “doing to improve the planet” — very little of which or perhaps none at all will have the remotest relationship to the climate of the Earth.