After taking on evolution-denial and industry-funded science denial, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos has increasingly been focusing on climate change, with this Sunday’s episode taking a swipe at naysayers who point to the weather to try to prove its non-existence.In the clip below, Tyson uses an analogy of a dog walking a beach to differentiate between weather (what the atmosphere does in the short term) and climate (the long term average of the weather due to global forces).
“Weather is hard to predict, like my friend here,” Tyson explains “but climate is predictable. Climate has changed many times over the long history of the Earth, but always in response to a global force. The strongest force driving climate change right now is the increase in CO2 and the burning of fossil fuels, which is trapping more heat from the sun. All that additional energy has to go somewhere. Some of it warms the air. Most of it ends up in the oceans. All over the world, the oceans are getting warmer.”
“We can’t observe climate directly, all we see is the weather. The average weather over the course of years reveals a pattern,” say Tyson, “I represent that long-term trend, which is climate. Keep your eye on the man, not the dog.”
Tyson devotes Sunday’s entire episode to climate change’s vast effect on the Earth and the solutions we’ve already found in solar and wind energy.
In the clip below, Tyson says scientists began ringing the alarm bell on CO2’s effect on the climate back in 1896 when Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius calculated that doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would melt the Arctic ice.
“Based on scientific projections if we just keep on doing business as usual, our kids are in for a rough ride. Killer heat waves, record droughts, rising sea levels, mass extinction of species. We inherited a bountiful world made possible by a relatively stable climate,” says Tyson “Agriculture and civilization flourished for thousands of years and now our carelessness and greed put all of that at risk.”