Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson told Larry King on Monday that he had no easy answers for dealing with California’s water shortage, but advised Americans to prepare for “more extremes of weather,” fueled by global warming.
“When it rains, it’s gonna rain heavier,” he said. “When it’s not gonna rain, it’s gonna rain less than it ever didn’t rain before. That’s kind of the new normal we’re gonna have to grow accustomed to. And all evidence points to the fact that it is human-caused influence.”
“Cold weather will get colder, warm weather will get warmer, wet weather will get wetter?” King asked.
“Yeah, yeah,” the Star Talk host replied. “What happens is, as the temperature rises, more moisture from the ocean gets lifted into the atmosphere. And generally, when we think of weather, we think of storms and things. When you have a storm, there’s more moisture to feed that storm. There’s more heating to drive the convective cells. And so the storm gets more ferocious.”
However, deGrasse Tyson also expressed skepticism over plans by SpaceX founder Elon Musk and other business mavens to pursue privately-funded expeditions to Mars, while also giving credit to the private sector for pushing forward in that arena.
“I can tell you that the first people to do really expensive things — where there’s dangers and people could die and there’s no known return on investment — those are not business people,” he told King. “Those are governments. The first Europeans in the New World were not the Dutch East India Trading Company. It was Columbus, funded by Spain. Then he draws the maps.”
If he were to ask venture capitalists for money to a mission to Mars without spelling out the return on investment, deGrasse Tyson argued, he would be in for a short meeting.
“Somebody’s gotta go in there with a long view — the longer-than-the-quarterly-report view,” he explained. “Once the patents are awarded and you’ve established what’s dangerous and what’s safe, then you make the business case.”
Watch the interview, as aired on Ora.TV on Monday, below.