Bill Nye Debates Climate Change on CNN’s ‘Crossfire’ [VIDEO]


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Bill Nye the Science Guy was on CNN’s Crossfire Tuesday night to discuss the recent report on climate change released by the Obama administration. Since it’s Crossfire, he didn’t just have two hosts to contend with — he also went toe-to-toe with Nick Loris of the Heritage Foundation, a conservative research think tank based in Washington, D.C.

Do you think co-host S.E. Cupp has a point? We continue to get report upon report upon report on climate change, yet the majority of the public remains unfazed. What do YOU think needs to be done? Do you think part of the problem IS the alleged “bullying,” as Cupp puts it, by the science community? Let us know in the comments below!

[Source: CNN’s Crossfire]







23 Responses to Bill Nye Debates Climate Change on CNN’s ‘Crossfire’ [VIDEO]

  1. Why is Bill Nye even commenting? He is a mechanical engineer and children’s show host. He has as much of a climate background as the others at the table.

    I did like how Nye blamed hurricane and tornadoes on global warming, but when the other guy said latest report show no connection, then it became hurricane shumricane…. ha ha. I might have to change sides just not to be on the pretentious side of Nye.

    Scientist have been wrong A LOT. Lets avoid the whole, world flat argument and look at more recent times. Scientist said black people and womens’ brains were not as developed as white males. Impossible to break the sound barrier. Atoms were the smallest particle… On and on. That doesn’t even include those in the 70s that said we were headed to the next ice age. Any scientist that says anything is 100% is an actor and not scientist.

    • Science has been wrong: there’s no denying that. But my question for you, then, is how would you proceed on an issue like this? Right now, the consensus (yes, there are those who disagree, but the vast majority does not) among the scientific community is that humans are contributing to global warming. So what would you have policy be? To ignore the issue because it might be wrong? Or to proceed as if it might be right and try to see if we can curtail the negative effects we’re seeing? I guess my question is, why are people so deadset on trying to disprove climate change, and so reluctant to take measures to stop it?

      • I have an approach. Lets try to live as clean as we can until we know. In the 70s, scientist thought we were headed for a mini ice age. There were proposals to dump crude oil on the polar caps to try and slow it down. I for one am glad we did not operate on a plan with so limited knowledge.

      • people resist the idea of climate change because it will be inconvenient for them to accept it and therefore have to change. Massive economies are built on the production of dirty power it would be long and hard to change these, some major economic powers now would have a serious effect to their economy if they really started making the changes needed. consumer product manufacture contributes to climate change, but no-one wants to give up their ipods.

        to be clear, i’m not saying these are good reasons in themselves to avoid climate change action, but i can see why people would latch onto any small amount of doubt as an excuse not to have to be inconvenienced by change.

  2. Bill Nye is actually a pretty good person to discuss the topic as the basics are really elementary school science: heat vials of gas with varying degrees of CO2 and measure the change in heat.

    Science has come up with some pretty crackpot hypotheses over the years. These ideas seldom last long enough to become full theories before people notice they’re crackpot. CO2 retaining heat was first noticed back in 1824. The basic science of the Greenhouse Effect is almost two-hundred year old. (At the time the discoverer thought it was a good thing, to prevent a future Ice Age.)
    The theory has been around fifty years longer than the alternating current that powers all home electronics.

    That said, the hosts do have a point. Science is being really scary about the topic. Because it is a big, serious scary topic. But, as they point out, the scare tactics are not working. The Western world is no longer accustomed to inconveniencing itself and sacrifice. Especially for gains that will not be felt until our grandchildren are old.
    The stick is not working.

    Really, the only reason Big Business is fighting as hard as they are is because they’ll lose money switching away from oil. If we encourage them to switch, there’ll be far less resistance. The status quo will lasts until people find a way to really make money from a Green technology or alternative fuel. Once it becomes profitable it stops being an issue.

    What should we do to speed up this process? Encourage innovation. Government and private sector grants for alternate energy and sustainable solutions. Instead of the Space Race, have an alternative fuel race.
    Tax breaks, both personal and industrial, for embracing green technology. People don’t have to believe in climate change, but will go green because it saves them money.

    • Wanna guess the largest investor in alternate energy? It is those very same Big Business that you denigrate. The writing is on the wall that we will see a change in energy. Whoever gets there first will be the world leader. Sounds like a good business strategy to me to promote alternate energy. The trouble is technology has caught up where we need to be yet.

      • I think that the data isn’t really there to support the idea that big business is readying for a change in energy sources. Rather it seems that they’re just adding another profit stream from clean energy.

        If we saw a reduction in fossil fuel extraction commensurate with an increase in renewable energy production I’d have to agree with you but we simply don’t.

        • Ummm….
          MAY 6, 2014 11:43 AM
          Shift from coal to natural gas driving drop in US greenhouse gas emissions
          MIT Technology Review: An International Energy Agency report has revealed that greenhouse gas emissions in industrialized nations fell 1.3% in 2012, despite a global increase of 1.4%. Also, the Environmental Protection Agency’s annual emissions report has revealed that US emissions in 2012 were at their lowest since 2005. Levels in 2012 were just 4.7% higher than they were in 1990, which is down from a peak in 2007, when they were 17.5% higher than in 1990. The drop in 2012 was the second largest decrease after a recession-driven drop in 2009. The reduction in emissions is almost entirely due to a shift from coal to natural gas by the electricity industry, which is the largest contributor of greenhouse gases. Coal’s portion of electrical generation is down to 40% from 54% in 1990, while natural gas’s share has risen from 11% to 26% over the same time period. And in 2013, wind and solar plants produced 4.5% of the US’s electricity, an increase of more than 950% since 2005.

  3. I suppose it is a fair question to ask how to effectively communicate the impact of climate change.

    However, I think a larger question is being ignored; and I think the big picture makes it likely that climate change response will continue to slowly drag on over generations.

    The reason that AGW is not catching on as a popular cause is not merely because the information specific to the issue is being communicated poorly. Our entire system for communicating important information is broken.

    Scientists are not wholly, not even mostly, to blame. We have a cultural problem. We all share responsibility for it, every level of society.

    One aspect of the problem is the politicization of every single issue. I will not inflame passions by naming specific scientific questions; but we have been outright lied to about concrete scientific realities several times in my lifetime (it continues), purely for political and ideological reasons. The causes of, and motivations for, this are diverse and complicated. Whether or not people consciously add such a consideration to the climate debate, it is surely in the mental processing mix.

    Separating out scientific and medical questions, think about prudential matters and social issues. Again, I believe anyone could very easily name several that we have been very clearly misled about by “authorities” in the various spheres of the establishment, spanning several generations. Tolerance of deviation from the, at most, two acceptable opinions is very low.

    To the justifiable suspicion of the official line, add a strain of anti-intellectualism, a dash of class envy, a touch of elitism. Increasing centralization of all aspects of society is causing personal and regional alienation. Not a good “climate” for open, honest, actionable debate.

  4. What I find disheartening is the bullying that takes place on the subject. As was demonstrated by Bill (who I am a big fan of) is that the minute someone begins to question it, they’re attacked. With all of the conflicting reports coming out, how are we NOT suppose to be questioning things. Questioning is GOOD. If scientists didn’t question things, how would we ever figure anything out!

    There’s also too much agenda to be pushed and money to be made in “climate change.” How many grants and funding sources out there exist to “study the effect of global warming.”

    Now, how many places are throwing out money to prove it’s bunk?

    I would never accuse all the scientists of trying to make a buck. But if you’re a research scientist, you get study what people pay you to.

    People got to eat!

  5. You want to control CO2 emissions? Plant a tree. It takes CO2 and converts it to O2. Still not enough? SUVs put out too much to be countered? How about cow flatulence? What if I told you that one volcanic eruption puts out more pollutants than all the SUVs in the WORLD do in a YEAR? Yet, we aren’t in an ice age. Or barbecuing on the streets.

    Remember that oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? While there was initial human help with the clean up, did you hear that a lot of oil was broken down by bacteria already in the ocean water? Gee, it’s almost like the earth has ways of fixing itself.

    I’m not saying we can do whatever we want, whenever we want to the environment. As good stewards for the planet, we should leave it in better shape than we found it. The point I am trying to make is to not sacrifice the good we’ve done in the form of increased productivity in feeding the population, making “conveniences” like heating, cooling and clean water cheaper and more easily obtained by more and more people for the sake of countering a nonspecific threat like climate change. (For example, in Southern California farms are being starved of water to protect a bait fish called a smelt. Call me callous, but I think feeding millions of people should come first.)

  6. There is a charging gorilla behind you. How do I tell you this without scaring you? It’s not scare tactics when the thing you are warning people about is a real threat to their future. The side effects of the warming planet are indeed scary economically, physically, emotionally. You can’t propose changes that would help lessen the blow of these changes without describing for people just what the threat is.

    The format here and how this discussion was framed by the hostess was a joke. So CNN you have once again shown why nobody watches your channel anymore (a shame really).

    Bill Nye is a great person to discuss this. He is to a generation of young adults THE most recognized scientist in our country (remember his show ran in the 90’s, and are still in use in schools today). It’s not about degree, it’s about an ability to communicate complex issues, and this guy (plus N. Tyson) is about as good as it gets.

  7. The biggest problem with the world accepting that human induced climate change is real are the humans themselves. Time and time again, humans have chosen to ignore the danger on their doorsteps until it breaks into their bedroom and slaps them in the face.

    Hitler thought his armies invincible, and ignored all the advice and warnings of his underlings (thank God on that one..)

    America didn’t bother getting involved in any serious capacity until Pearl. Sure we lent support, much like how we dabble in funding green alternatives today. But we didn’t unleash American fury until we paid for our isolation in the blood of American lives.

    I recall a period in history when certain women whom were painting glow in the dark numbers on watch faces were told quite adamantly that there was no harm in the radioactive paint. These women went on to use their tongues to point the bristles of their brushes, despite the fact that the paint was delivered by scientists in protective gear. I’m also pretty sure every single one of those women died. Only then was the process changed.

    We knew Al Qeida was a threat. We knew the Taliban harbored them. It was a foreign problem, we didn’t care. Until once again, American blood was on American streets.

    Some simple questions, that you yourself can answer to determine exactly where you stand.

    CO2 and other gases have been proven beyond a doubt to be potent greenhouse gases. Is it good for the environment, for the planet, for us, to be emitting them?

    It is true that the planet goes through both warming and cooling cycles. It is true that the planet has a great capacity for self healing. However despite this natural healing ability, it is indeed a balance. Humans since the advent of society have reshaped the face of the planet. Manhattan is a prime example of an ecosystem that has been irreversibly changed from how it was pre-society. At some point human influence tips the scale. Has that scale tipped enough to distort the balance of nature? Has our input of greenhouse gases, in conjunction with our removal of greenhouse collectors (trees, for one) pushed the rate of climate change in a noticeable direction?

    I am reasonably certain, that while not a climatologist myself, that simple logic dictates the answers to these questions are in fact, yes.

    So then why the resistance to correcting our errant behavior? Is it that people hate nature? Or is it that people hate change? Why should you be bothered driving a smaller car, consuming fewer things, and imposing limits on yourself, for an imperceptible change in nature that may in fact be irrelevant in a few hundred thousand years anyway? I mean, who really knows how much CO2 is too much? What if we’d be fine for another thousand years? Not your problem, right? Why worry about it?

    That, I believe, is the true problem.

    First off, no one knows where the point of no return is. No one really knows if there will be a gradual change, albeit at a faster pace than otherwise natural, or if it will have a cascade effect. All the scare tactics in the world mean nothing if they’re not personal. When someone talks about a potential disaster 100, 50, or even 25 years out, fewer people care, as fewer people think about consequences that far out. It isn’t personal, so there is no personal commitment.

    Couple big problems with that type of thinking. They don’t know that drastic changes won’t happen in say, 10 years. Sea level rise of a few inches is pretty not good. A few feet is absolutely devastating. More than 60% of the worlds population live along coastlines. The worlds economies depend on infrastructure that is on those coastlines.

    Considering scientists can’t put an exact figure on how much is too much, do we really want to play russian roulette with the future of our society? Our species? It may not matter to you what happens in 1000 years. I know. You won’t be here. But it should matter if you live in Manhattan and change is possible in 10. It should matter if you have children and change is possible in 50.

    We SHOULD change because we CAN change. At some point it will be too late, and that isn’t a gamble I’m comfortable taking. I would rather err on the side of caution. If I have to make some personal sacrifices, so be it. I want my children to live, and my children’s children to live, in a healthy world.

    • I think you’re trivialising complex problems and don’t understand how many factors influence these decisions.

  8. “Do you think part of the problem IS the alleged “bullying,” as Cupp puts it, by the science community?”

    It is an activist community not a science community. The bullying is definitely a turn off and so is the constant world is ending in five years rhetoric. The world isn’t going to end.

  9. 1. Reporting facts that point to a future that is unpleasant isn’t bullying. A professor tells you that you should study more and turn in missing assignments or you are going to fail the course. Is that bullying?

    2. The ignorance of what the science is and what the actual IOC reports say is startling. If 97% of specialist in a field come to the same conclusion, it’s about as certain as you can get that it’s true.

    Hypothetical: You have a pain in your lower chest. It feels like really bad heartburn. It’s not there all the time, but when it is there it really hurts. You see a doctor and he says it’s your heart and you need bypass surgery. You don’t like that answer because you feel good most of the time and surgery is pretty drastic. So, you go and see 30 more doctors and they all come to the same conclusion.

    Wow. It looks like you are going under the knife. But wait, you go to see one more physician and he says that it probably is heartburn and you should just watch what you eat. You like that answer and cut out spicy food and red meat. You die from a massive heart attack eight months later.

    3. I like how Van Jones shakes his head and smirks.

    4. S.E. Cupp is the most annoying commentator on CNN. She needs to be on Fox.

    • 1. That isn’t what is happening. People are being threatened to pull funding if they don’t go along. I have a friend who resigned from NASA because he was tired of being threatened to loose his job.

      2. The 97% has been proven false time and time again. If I hand pick 98% of the papers that agree with me, does that mean it is true? That was the worst “science” paper written.
      Also, this is science, not an election. Consensus does not mean fact.
      If it was 100%, our models would work. CO2 is only a small part of the problem.

      Okay, I won’t even get into the science behind it. Lets just give you CO2 is the worst thing ever and the world is dieing in 50 years if left unchecked. If we say that, then why is the only thing being proposed to tax CO2 and to sell credits? It should be no more output past this not it cost you more money. This is a money and power grab, the end.

      • 1. As it pertains to the charges by Cupp of bullying outlined in the interview referenced, it is exactly what is happening. She is accusing scientist of trying to scare the public into action by presenting unpleasant predictions. This is what she is calling bullying.

        2. This take shows your lack of understanding of how science works and the state of modern science. Firstly, nothing is ever 100% in science and science is always open to correction. Certainty is left to religion and politics. Secondly, the checks and balances that exist within disciplines is very rigorous. The breadth of knowledge amassed in the last half of the twentieth century almost eliminates the occurrence of paradigm shifting ideas. When 97% of a discipline’s scientist agree on something, it is about as close to a fact as it comes in the scientific community.

        Finally, the IOC reports are not scientific papers, but summaries of massive amounts of research. They have been distilled so lay people can better understand the findings, conclusions and predictions of the scientist involved.

        No where in the report does it state that the world is going to end. Global temperature rises leading to changes in weather patterns resulting in more and bigger storms and droughts. That is predicted. Warming in the polar regions leading to excessive glacier melt and sea level rise. That is predicted.

        Have you read the reports? Did you proof read your comment?

        • “When 97% of a discipline’s scientist agree on something, it is about as close to a fact as it comes in the scientific community.”
          That is the point, it didnt happen! The 97% of the articles selected agreed, not 97% of articles or scientist. Perpetuating that outright fabrication and people know it is a lie, is why they think the other part that you say is a lie. If you lie about 97% then you will lie about other things.
          Cherry picking articles that agree with you is not science. Based on your “science” lets ask a panel of 4000 republicans who should have won the last presidential election and when they agree, I guess that means Obama must have cheated.

        • You believe the 97%, why not ask one of the scientist included int the 97%? Forbes did.

          “Astrophysicist Nir Shaviv similarly objected to Cook and colleagues claiming he explicitly supported the ‘consensus’ position about human-induced global warming. Asked if Cook and colleagues accurately represented his paper, Shaviv responded, “Nope… it is not an accurate representation. The paper shows that if cosmic rays are included in empirical climate sensitivity analyses, then one finds that different time scales consistently give a low climate sensitivity. i.e., it supports the idea that cosmic rays affect the climate and that climate sensitivity is low. This means that part of the 20th century [warming] should be attributed to the increased solar activity and that 21st century warming under a business as usual scenario should be low (about 1°C).”

          “I couldn’t write these things more explicitly in the paper because of the refereeing, however, you don’t have to be a genius to reach these conclusions from the paper,” Shaviv added.”

          And it goes on and on. The claim of 97% is a outright lie and fabrication.

  10. I’m in the healthcare field. I used to research alternative fuel. Yes, funding and all that is difficult to come by. Sort of anti-productive. My main comment is this: my job exposes me to a lot of different people in a relatively small area. 70,000 + visits to the hospital per year is a drop in the bucket but sure feels like a lot. I’d guess at least 90% of these visitors are undereducated and flat out stupid. We have the benefit of education and following science daily on the internet. I’d venture to say that most of America has no interest and would not understand the discussion in the first place. On the politics side, this surely prevents progress.