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Bernie Sanders and Bill Nye offer hope—and horror—in climate change discussion

'We can power the entire U.S. renewably right now if we just decided to do it.'


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Posted on Feb 27, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 10:23 pm CDT

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Bill Nye sat down to discuss climate change and the potentially “catastrophic” road we’re on in the wake of a president who once called climate change a Chinese hoax and a new EPA head who has been seen as an enemy to scientists.

Sanders first announced Monday’s Facebook live discussion with Nye on Sunday across social media. Unlike Sanders’ previous debate with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) earlier this month or Sanders’ grilling of new EPA head Scott Pruitt during his confirmation hearing, the discussion between Sanders and Nye wasn’t about whether climate change is real; they both believe it is. They used it as a launch into talking about the roles of scientists in Donald Trump’s administration—and the fear that their work may be erased—as well as how to change the minds of climate change deniers.

Nye compared the act of dismissing the data and evidence about climate change to cognitive dissonance and explained some of the consequences it will have; in the short term we might have to build seawalls to help prevent future weather events. And for those in other countries, the cost may be even greater.

As for one way to convince deniers, Nye cites an economic incentive: Investing in renewable energy would create more domestic jobs and create an affordable option for consumers.

“From an optimistic point of view, I think if we can get these people to look at the world a little differently they will be on the side of domestic reproduced renewable electricity in a very quick short order,” Nye said.

You can watch Sanders and Nye’s entire conversation below.

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*First Published: Feb 27, 2017, 4:27 pm CST