Neil deGrasse Tyson: Debating climate deniers has wasted valuable time in fighting climate change

Speaking on CNN’s GPS this Sunday, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson warned that the effects of man-made climate change have become so severe that the world “may not be able to recover.”

Tyson’s anger was palpable when host Fareed Zakaria brought up the fact that Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert refused to say whether climate change contributed to the strength of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

“Fifty inches of rain in Houston!” Tyson exclaimed, adding, “This is a shot across our bow, a hurricane the width of Florida going up the center of Florida.”

“What will it take for people to recognize that a community of scientists are learning objective truths about the natural world and that you can benefit from knowing about it?” an emotional Tyson said.

He said that he has no patience for people who “cherry-pick” scientific studies to confirm their own biases.

“The press will sometimes find a single paper, and say, ‘Oh here’s a new truth, if this study holds it.’ But an emergent scientific truth, for it to become an objective truth, a truth that is true whether or not you believe in it, it requires more than one scientific paper.”

“It requires a whole system of people’s research all leaning in the same direction, all pointing to the same consequences,” he added. “That’s what we have with climate change, as induced by human conduct.”

According to Tyson, climate change deniers have caused us to lose valuable time because they continue to question established science when humanity could be moving forward faster to tackle the problem.

“The day two politicians are arguing about whether science is true, it means nothing gets done. Nothing,” he said. “It’s the beginning of the end of an informed democracy, as I’ve said many times. What I’d rather happen is you recognize what is scientifically truth, then you have your political debate.”

“I worry that we might not be able to recover from this because all our greatest cities are on the oceans and water’s edges, historically for commerce and transportation.”

He said that when storms increase and water levels rise, the world’s cities will be the first ones to go.

“And we don’t have a system — we don’t have a civilization with the capacity to pick up a city and move it inland 20 miles. That’s — this is happening faster than our ability to respond. That could have huge economic consequences.”

Featured image via Flickr

Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.