Bill Nye to Congress: 'I'm scared too' about climate change

Testifying before the House Committee on Homeland Security on Tuesday, Bill Nye told lawmakers that he was “scared too” about climate change, and that the U.S. needed to “invest in a big way” to solve the problem.

Nye, whose public television program “Bill Nye the Science Guy” has helped educate children in the U.S. on a wide range of scientific topics, testified on his own behalf. Asked by Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, how the nation could address climate change when so many people did not believe it was real, Nye recounted his own dealings with skeptics.

“I’ve fought this for 30 years: trying to get people to accept the science of climate change. I offered four bets to two notorious climate deniers. I offered them $10,000 that 2016 would be the hottest year on record, 2010-2020 would be the hottest decade on record. Neither one of them would take either one of the bets,” Nye responded.

He added: “They wouldn’t take the bets because they’re scared. We’re all frightened. This thing is overwhelming and if you don’t believe me, there have been these studies lately that, worldwide, people are having fewer and fewer children. That’s because women and men are a little reticent to bring a kid into a world where the world’s on fire. So, everybody, we’re in this together. We’ve got to fight this fight together. I’m scared too. Let’s get to work.”

That work, Nye testified, included Congress passing sweeping regulations to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

“I think it’s time for the government to invest in a big way,” Nye said.

Bill Nye
Bill Nye at the 2019 Global Citizen Festival in New York City. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

Asked about China's role in fighting climate change — it accounted for more greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 than all other industrialized nations combined — Nye pointed out that no nation could go it alone when it comes to global warming.

“Everything every single one of us does affects everyone in the world because we all share the air,” he said.

Echoing climate envoy John Kerry, who in May said that in order to meet targets for cutting emissions, new technologies would need to be developed, Nye proposed investing more money into fusion energy, a technology that is still in the early stages of development.

“Well, if you want to do something bold, let’s invest in fusion energy. I’m not saying it will work, but let’s take a chance,” he said.

Without concrete steps taken to address the climate crisis, Nye said, certain regions of the U.S. could soon be rendered unable to grow food, hurricanes would grow stronger, coastal populations would be displaced and wildfires would continue to ravage the western U.S.

“If you like to worry about things, you’re living at a great time,” Nye said, adding, “These are huge problems and the sooner we get started and the sooner we accept that we’re all in it together, the sooner we’re going to get it done.”

Nye noted that, as scientists had predicted years earlier, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere continues to rise as humans have continued to burn fossil fuels.

“The computer models have proven to be true,” he said.

“I encourage everyone to realize how serious this problem of climate change is, how it affects everyone on Earth, and how we’ve got to work together to move forward,” Nye said.

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