In a rare MSNBC segment on climate change, Bill “The Science Guy” Nye called for more coverage of the subject, across all media outlets. On her show, Joy Reid asked” Why should we care that its cold in the winter?”, before answering that the “unusual nature” of winter temperatures should raise questions about climate change. She followed with a quote from Time Magazine on the subject.
“Cold snaps do not change the overall trajectory of our warming planet. While weather is what changes in our atmosphere day-to-day, climate is how the atmosphere behaves over a longer period of time”
Reid then asks if cold weather means we shouldn’t worry about climate change. Bill Nye is quick to point out in the segment that the terms climate change and global warming have two different meanings and are not actually the same thing.
“Let’s not confuse or interchange climate change with global warming,” says Nye, who continued to explain that the planet is indeed warming as more carbon traps in more heat, but that climate change will make some places colder. Nye then says that wild temperature patters are consistent with climate change models in which temperatures vary from one extreme to the next very quickly.
He then points to his recent experience in Wyoming where it was an unusually warm 50 degrees Fahrenheit and makes a passionate plea to all news stations to add more coverage of climate change as a possibility for the extreme temperatures.
“What I would hope for, my dream, Joy, is that you all, you in the news business would say the words ‘climate change. Just like, ‘It could be climate change,’ ‘It’s a possible connection to climate change,’ ‘Is it possible evidence of climate change?’ Can you just toss that in now and then?”
His statements underscore how little even the perceived “progressive” stations pay to the issue. As of last year, all 24 hour news networks have a combined climate change coverage of just 154 minutes. NBC has a total of 47 minutes for the entire year, as compared to Fox, which climbed up from just 4 minutes in 2013, to 19 minutes in 2014.
Joy Reid was quick to Highlight Nye’s argument, pointing out that all over the east coast, there have been record-breaking cold weather temperatures. Reid agreed that there was not enough attention paid to our actions and how they affect climate change.
Nye continued his on-air science lesson by commenting on the warming ocean temperatures, explaining that even if the ocean gets just a tiny bit warmer, there is more condensation which adds to the overall amount of snow, which he explains is why we have more snow and cold temperatures even as the earth heats up.
Nye also acknowledged that “in many ways, MSNBC is regarded as a progressive station”, suggesting that his message was nothing new to viewers of the station. He added that conservative networks need to cover climate change as a scientific fact, saying that “we can’t have everybody be a progressive liberal bleeding heart and so on.”
“We need people on both sides. But if the conservatives are going to continue to deny what 90% of the scientists in the world are saying, we’re not going to reach a consensus and make progress.”
When asked what people can do about climate change, Bill Nye’s short answer is “talk about it”, saying that even a discussion would further efforts as reducing climate change, adding that as a United States citizen, he would like to see the U.S. leading the effort.