CNN’s Crossfire turned its attention to climate change Tuesday night, hosting a contentious and sometimes heated debate that saw “Science Guy” Bill Nye facing off against the Heritage Foundation’s Nicolas Loris.
Although he was there to debate Loris over the White House’s new climate change report, Nye found himself at odds with conservative panelist S.E. Cupp right from the outset. Asking her to “talk about the facts,” he interrupted her first question, which accused co-host Van Jones and the Obama administration of using “scare tactics” on the issue. Cupp continued on to confront Nye with polling numbers that purported to show only 36% of Americans viewed climate change as a serious threat.
In response to Cupp’s statement that she wanted Nye to “advise the politicians” about how to reach the public, Nye pointed out the economic impact of severe weather events, using the flooding of lower Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy as an example.
As Loris entered the debate, saying “we haven’t seen these extreme event trends. The observed data doesn’t prove that,” Nye asserted that he disagreed with Loris’ position.
“So let’s start with, we don’t agree on the facts. This third [NCA] report came out, saying it’s very serious, you say no. There’s the essence of the problem, S.E. The science, the researchers say yes.”
When Loris cited an IPCC report on hurricane trends, Nye pushed back, saying “Hurricane shmuricane, if I may,” and accused him of “cherry-picking data” to support his viewpoint.
The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank that employs Loris, has repeatedly expressed doubt over the idea of man-made climate change. Cupp ended the segment with a pointed criticism of Nye, accusing “science guys” of bullying others on the issue.
“Isn’t it a problem when science guys attempt to bully other people? Nick here had to say, ‘I’m not a denier.’ He had to get it out: ‘I’m not a denier.’ Because really, the science group has tried to shame anyone who dares question this, and the point I’m trying to make is, it’s not working with the public.”
The National Climate Assessment (NCA) report, released on Tuesday, was prepared by hundreds of scientists. It’s findings are in line with a recent United Nations report that concluded that not only is the planet warming, but it is doing so largely because of human activity. Nye, for his part, is no stranger to the debate over climate change.