Bill Nye would like a word with the men who want to be this year’s GOP candidate. At least, he hopes someone will step up and ask the three front runners for the GOP ticket some hard questions about their views on climate change. In an editorial penned by the scientist/comedian/activist and published on February 26 at CNN’s website, Nye expressed his concern regarding the remaining contenders’ insistence that addressing climate change should not be a priority for the incumbent president.
“As you may know, the three front-running candidates are apparently in denial about the effects and seriousness of climate change and global warming. As a voter and taxpayer, I’d like to know why each of them has no apparent concern about a problem that is worrying people all over the rest of the world. And by the way, those same people are very much hoping the U.S. will lead, showing the way to produce all of our energy renewably.”
The CBS News article cited in Bill Nye’s editorial shows a pattern that is consistent with the overall direction the GOP has taken during this election cycle. The report filed in September of 2015 by CBS News’ Rebecca Kaplan and Ellen Uchimiya presented capsules of each candidates’ views based on their statements to the press. It revealed a range of ideas from the centrist views conceding the scientific proof of the human provenance of climate change but suggesting calls for drastic measure are alarmist to outright accusations that global warming is a hoax perpetuated by activists. None of the candidates who allowed any latitude for scientific thought remain in the race as of February of 2016.
Bill Nye’s pointed questions for the GOP’s most viable candidates are most likely directed at Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump. Marco Rubio contends that global warming is climatological business as usual, and the media and activists are pulling their information from a sector of the scientific community whose findings best fit their agenda. Ted Cruz denies the reality of climate change. He has gone on record accusing the NOAA of “cooking the books” and compares the people who advocate for gentler treatment of the environment to flat-earthers. Current GOP favorite Donald Trump might be the person most likely to bristle at Nye’s proposed line of questioning. In Twitter updates, Trump referred to global warming as a hoax, using cold weather in more temperate parts of the U.S. as a talking point. He has also suggested the Chinese are behind it all, creating a fearful environment that will work to their advantage when it comes to international trade.
Bill Nye and those who share his desire to see more aggressive measures implemented to reverse the current climate trends have their work cut out for them, especially if the U.S. elects a Republican to the oval office this fall. Should anyone approach the GOP leaders or leaders-to-be with a challenge to address the effects of climate change, Nye stated in his CNN opinion piece that he hoped they would ask the GOP talking heads if they thought their intuition trumped the data collected by climatologists and those same scientists were part of a conspiracy.
It’s a transgressive line of inquiry, but one that could lead to more discussion of real action and quantitative benefits. Nye spent time as an engineer for the oil industry in Texas. In his CNN think piece, he uses his insight into that industry and location to demonstrate how a change in focus from petroleum to wind- and solar-sourced energy offers everything from environmental benefits to economic jump-starts such as the introduction of increasingly robust technology industries with the concomitant growth in area businesses and job creation.
Will Bill Nye get to ask his question? Katie Herzog at Grist suggested Nye would be a great addition to any moderator’s panel. While this may not happen, his op-ed could be what environmentalists to get people, especially people in the GOP, to start talking about climate change.
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