The oracle of Delphi has been replaced by celebrity scientists, as Bill Nye appeared on the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore to discuss how the GOP will evolve on climate change.
Nye wants more journalistic pressure on Republican candidates to explain their environmental views and what they plan to do when in office.
“Out there, some hard-hitting investigative reporters — we recognize you because you wear knit ties and they’re loose — I want you to ask the candidates about climate change directly,” Nye said. “‘What are you gonna do about climate change?’ And what we need are big ideas. We need to pull together and do these extraordinary things.”
It’s a reasonable proposition. Politicians deserve scrutiny, and the 2016 election has had candidates gleefully ignore questions about policy specifics.
The concern-trolling Nye engages in for the Republicans, however, doesn’t seem sincere. He views the issue as generational, and thinks millennials of all stripes are more inclined toward a belief in climate change, which will force the hand of the GOP.
“Don’t be surprised if after the conservatives, the Republicans, pick somebody and this person goes ‘Well I’ve been thinking about it and climate change is a big issue ... Only now and then do you meet a young person — nobody your age is a climate denier. Very few. It’s all old people.,” he said.
“I don’t know, Mr. Science Guy, I may have to disagree with you a little bit. I think a lot of it is ideological,” Wilmore said.
The Republican Party does have a generational split on environmental issues, but it might not be as Nye believes it.
A 2014 Washington Post/ABC News poll found that younger Republicans are much more supportive of government action that would “limit greenhouse gases” even if it increases their energy expenses.
Republicans in general are more supportive of renewable energy and limiting pollution than Democrats portray them. “A majority of Republicans — including 54 percent of self-described conservative Republicans — believe the world’s climate is changing and that mankind plays some role in the change,” The New York Times noted.
That doesn’t mean the GOP will embrace environmental measures peddled by Democrats, but it shows an ideological consideration for environmental conservation and limiting pollution.
As Nye continues to appear on television and spouts criticism on Republicans in general, he distorts their actual beliefs. Democrats have been successful in branding Republicans as the anti-science party. By doing so, however, it makes politics more tribal and prevents progress on environmental protection. If Nye wants to engage in concern-trolling, he should look at what his fellow liberals have done in their scientific crusade and the consequences of it.
The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore
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