Science educator Bill Nye on Monday told CNN that they weren’t doing the public any favors by giving climate change deniers equal airtime because “the two sides aren’t equal.”
“There are a couple of things that you can’t really dispute,” Nye explained to CNN’s Carol Costello. “Sixteen of the last 17 years have been the hottest years on record. That’s just how it is.”
“I appreciate that we want to show two sides of the stories — there’s a tradition in journalism that goes back quite a ways, I guess — but the two sides aren’t equal here. You have tens of thousands of scientists who are very concerned and you have a few people who are in business of equating or drawing attention to the idea that uncertainty is the same as doubt. When you have a plus or minus percentage, that’s not the same thing as not believing the whole thing at all.”
The Washington Post noted on Sunday that scientists had been warning for years that because of warming weather and severe droughts, Colorado’s “table was set” for monster wildfires like the ones currently sweeping through the state.
“It is because of the heat ultimately,” Nye told Costello. “Just two years ago, it was was wet in Colorado and there was a lot of growth in forests. And then you can say they should have responsibly cleared that growth — it’s a difficult thing. So then two years later when it’s especially dry and the forest flora gets especially dry and then there’s a lightening strike, the fire is that much more intense than it would have been.”
“But the people who are politicizing this issue, they seem to be winning because not much is being done on the issue of climate change,” Costello pointed out.
“If you’re a voter consider taking the environment into account as well as the economy,” Nye advised. “I think the two candidates running for president right now have different views about the validity, for example, of science and the importance of it and what you would do about climate change in the coming years.”
“We in the science education community chip away at this problem all the time. We have an enormous population of people in the United States that don’t believe in evolution, the fundamental idea in all of life science. It would be like saying, I don’t believe in earthquakes or something. The analogies are disturbing.”
Earlier this year, a Media Matters analysis determined that coverage of climate change had dropped by 80 percent on U.S. broadcast networks between 2008 and 2011.
Watch this video from CNN’s Newsroom, broadcast July 2, 2012.