Neil deGrasse Tyson: The Wealthy Will Take Climate Change Seriously When They Lose Money

Neil deGrasse Tyson on the rich and climate change

Neil deGrasse Tyson said the wealthy will be forced to take climate change seriously, not because of a political view, but because of economics.

In an interview on “All In With Chris Hayes” on MSNBC, the astrophysicist said the evidence is mounting that climate change will have an economic impact, which will get the rich to pay attention.

“The evidence will show up when they need more evidence,” the “Cosmos” host said. “More storms, more coastlines getting lost. People beginning to lose their wealth. People, if they begin to lose their wealth, they change their mind real fast, I’ve found – particularly in a capitalist culture.”

If steps are not taken to fight climate change, may of the global economy’s key coastal cities and commerce hubs could be lost to the rising sea levels Tyson said according to The Huffington Post.

“Don’t expect to conduct civilization the way we do now, because all the coastlines will get redrawn.”

Regardless of how the global climate patterns emerge, deGrasse Tyson said humanity would carry on, but facing different temperatures that it has over the past 1,000 years.

“Yes, there will be storms,” he explained. “But in the mix of things, you had some assurances. It’s remarkably stable, given the fluctuations that had existed previously in the history of the world. When the dinosaurs were here, there were no polar ice caps. Talk about global warming – it was really warm when the dinosaurs were here.”

To “wake people,” he asks them how high the sea levels will be if the ice caps melt, a scenario he said reminds him of the destruction Charleton Heston confronted in “Planet of the Apes,” according to the Raw Story.

“(They say), ‘Oh maybe a couple of feet'” deGrasse Tyson said. “No, it would come up to the Statue of Liberty’s elbow – the one that’s holding the Declaration of Independence. That’s how high the water line will be.”

In the interview, deGrasse Tyson explained that denial of scientific truths generally goes through three stages: First, skeptics say it can’t be true. Second, they say it contradicts the Bible. Finally, they admit the clues were there all along.

He also took on the climate change denial movement. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion he said, but those in a position of power have a responsibility to rely on something that is not just faith.

“I’d like to think that governance is based on objectively verifiable truths,” he said. “Otherwise, what kind of culture have we created?”

Neil deGrasse Tyson is also the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.

[Image via salon.com]