When asked if he was disappointed by President Obama's relative silence on climate change recently, Bill Nye told CNN last week that if he is "disappointed," it's by the media. The educator and former "Bill Nye the Science Guy" host said, "I think if the media asked him, asked both of these people who are running for president of the United States, about climate change, they'd have to respond."
Nye noted the conspicuous absence of climate change discussion in the media, saying, "The environment is a very important issue. I guess, if I understand this, it's fallen by the wayside for a few months while we talk about the economy." A July 2012 study by Media Matters found that out of hundreds of broadcasts and print articles about wildfires in 2012, only three perent mentioned long-term climate change.
Nye told CNN that he's looking forward to the upcoming presidential debates, and hopes that Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney are asked about climate change. Come November, he says, "We'll find out how everybody stands on the environment and climate change."
In April, President Obama told Rolling Stone, "I suspect that over the next six months, this is going to be a debate that will become part of the campaign, and I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we're going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way. That there's a way to do it that is entirely compatible with strong economic growth and job creation."
Romney, who "spent considerable time hammering out a sweeping climate change plan to reduce [Massachusetts'] greenhouse gas emissions," according to the Los Angeles Times, has been more reticent to address climate change in recent months. Speaking to a group at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in October 2011, Romney said, "My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us."
Earlier in July, Nye appeared on CNN to discuss the link between wildfires and climate change. Although the host said some may see him as "the kooky guy that doesn't know what he's talking about," Nye replied, "I can read graphs."
Nye's statements come as scientists are beginning to see a clearer connection between climate change and the probability of extreme weather events. Stanford's Dr. Christopher Field, co-chairman of a forthcoming U.N. climate change report, recently said, according to Reuters, "We're seeing a great deal of progress in attributing a human fingerprint to the probability of particular events or series of events."
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CLARIFICATION: Bill Nye is a science educator, comedian and former host of "Bill Nye the Science Guy."
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