The Slatest

Bill Nye, John Kerry Fight for Progress on Climate Change

Television personality Bill Nye attends Hub Network’s First Annual Halloween Bash at Barker Hangar on October 20, 2013 in Santa Monica, California.

Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images

This Sunday, NBC took a break from its Olympics coverage, for a different kind of sport: the politics of climate change. In one corner, representing the side of an overwhelming majority of scientists, was Bill Nye (of “Science Guy” fame). In the other corner, Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) argued for the opposition.

“There is not agreement over exactly what is causing this,” Blackburn said of the recent snow storms along the East Coast, drought in California, and severe flooding in the U.K.


Disputing what he saw as the Congresswoman’s strategy of denial, Nye countered, “We have overwhelming evidence that climate is changing, that you cannot tie any one event to that is not the same as doubt about the whole thing.”

Putting aside the obvious question about why Meet the Press pitted these two against each other in a debate that is largely settled within the scientific community, let’s take a look at the other big climate change news of the day. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in Jakarta, Indonesia, called climate change “perhaps the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” He urged developing countries to work alongside the world’s biggest economies to lower emissions.

“It’s absolutely true that industrialized countries have to play a leading role in reducing emissions, but that doesn’t mean other nations have the right to repeat the mistakes of the past,” he said. Kerry also had some fighting words for climate change deniers, calling them “shoddy scientists and extreme ideologues.”