Bill Nye came very prepared to confront one of Fox News’ biggest blowhards. He kept his cool with circumspect answers that caused Carlson to flip out. After several minutes of setup and back and forth, Tucker Carlson asked Bill Nye a very specific question. Bill Nye’s answer did not conform to the answer Carlson was expecting, and that is where we pick up on the exchange:
“The Climate is always changing,” Carlson said. “You’ve conceded that.”Carlson got beaten at his own game-- you could practically see the steam coming out of his ears. Nye took the lead in personalizing climate change first. Carlson was unable to segue into the false argument that climate change regulations hurt jobs and freedom. Nye would have refuted the jobs argument noting that the green energy sector is growing faster than the dirty energy sector. Bill Nye debated from the position of strength, science, and humanity. Carlson lost the discussion before he even started.
“I won’t concede that,” Bill Nye said. “I assert that.”
“You have said that human activity increases the speed of that change,” Carlson said. “And my point is, what would the climate look like right now without human activity. At what point would have warmed or cooled.”
Nye’s answer was excellent. Instead of going into the technical weeds which lose more than half the audience, he described it regarding today’s natural events.
“It would look like it did in 1750,” Nye replied. “Britain would not be well suited to growing grapes as it is today. French winemakers would not be buying land to the north as they are now. People who plan to run ski resorts would still be able to do in Europe. And the parasites…”
“You are using the language of politics,” a flustered Carlson interjected. “You are not a scientist as you know. You are a popularizer. And that’s fine. .. To the extent that you prevent people from having an honest conversation, you are doing a great disservice to science. Don’t you think that.”
“You asked how long it would be before, what the climate would be like if humans weren’t involved right now,” Nye asked. “Is that Right?”
“Yes,” Tucker answered. “That is exactly right. At what point would it have changed. And I am saying you don;t actually know because it is unknowable. So why aren’t you open to question.”
“This is how long it takes you to interrupt me,” Nye replied holding up a phone with a six-second timer on it. “It takes you quite a bit less than six seconds. So the climate would be like it was in 1750. And the economics would be that you could not grow wine-worthy grapes in Britain as you can today because the climate is changing. The use of pesticides in the Mid-West would not be increasing because the parasites are showing up sooner, or the pests are showing up sooner and hanging around longer. The forest in Wyoming would not be overwhelmed by pine bark beetles as it is because of climate change. That’s how the world would be different if it weren’t for humans.”
“So much of this you don’t know,” an unhinged Carlson protested. “You pretend that you know. But you don’t know. And you bully people who ask you questions.”
“I really have to disagree with you,” Nye calmly said. I spend a lot of time with this topic.”
“I am open-minded,” Carlson said. “You are not. And we are out of time, unfortunately.”