'The Planet's on F***ing Fire’: Bill Nye Explains Climate Change to Adults
In a segment on John Oliver's Last Week Tonight Sunday, the beloved science communicator riffed on the set-up of the PBS series that made him famous. Donning a lab coat and safety glasses, he proceeded to school the audience on global warming, but this time he used some very adult language.
"By the end of this century, if emissions keep rising, the average temperature on Earth could go up another four to eight degrees," Nye said, as CNN reported. "What I'm saying is the planet's on f***ing fire."
Nye then proceeded to light a globe on fire with a blow torch.
"There are a lot of things we could do to put it out—are any of them free? No, of course not. Nothing's free, you idiots. Grow the f**k up. You're not children anymore. I didn't mind explaining photosynthesis to you when you were 12. But you're adults now, and this is an actually crisis, got it? Safety glasses off, motherf***ers," he added.
Global warming is so bad that it now has Bill Nye the Science Guy cursing us out to fix it. "What I'm saying is th… https://t.co/KhKVPFb6T0— Ernest Owens (@Ernest Owens)1557771603.0
"I think we've all broken Bill Nye," Oliver said, as USA Today reported.
Oliver invited Nye onto his show after a discussion of the Green New Deal resolution introduced by Freshman New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey that calls for a 10-year mobilization to help the U.S. achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while promoting green jobs and environmental justice.
Nye appeared to endorse the deal in his segment, The Washington Post reported. He has also previously expressed support for Ocasio-Cortez, showing up to ask a question at her South by Southwest talk in March.
"AOC gets it," he tweeted at the time.
Oliver also asked Nye to explain the idea of carbon pricing, as CNN reported. Nye complied, saltily:
"When we release carbon, say, by burning coal or driving an SUV, all of us pay for that in the form of things like fires, floods and crop failures," he added. "Putting a fee on carbon creates incentives to emit less carbon, and, more importantly, it also incentivizes the development of low-carbon technology, which is huge, because that's vital to reducing emissions globally. And because for some reason, John, you're a 42-year-old man who needs his attention sustained by tricks, here's some f***ing Mentos and a bottle of Diet Coke. Happy now?"
Some viewers were shocked by Nye's tone.
"I just heard Bill Nye swear and it's blowing my mind," one viewer tweeted, as The Washington Post reported.
Oliver also referenced Nye's language in a thank you tweet the next day.
"Many thanks to the fantastic Bill Nye for explaining Carbon Pricing to us with an entirely appropriate amount of profanity," he wrote.
Many thanks to the fantastic @BillNye for explaining Carbon Pricing to us with an entirely appropriate amount of profanity.— John Oliver (@John Oliver)1557758053.0
This isn't the first time that Nye has used his platform to bring attention to climate change. In a 2018 interview with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for example, he questioned the leader about his approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. A 2017 documentary focused on Nye's more recent efforts to promote science, including spreading accurate information about the threat posed by global warming.
"Nowadays, I'm talking to adults," he said in the trailer, "and I'm not mincing words. Climate is changing, it's our fault, we got to get to work on this."
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By Katherine Kornei
Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.
A Pattern in the Rings<p>The <a href="https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/coppice-standards-0" target="_blank">coppice-with-standards</a> management practice produces a two-story forest, said <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bernhard_Muigg" target="_blank">Bernhard Muigg</a>, a dendrochronologist at the University of Freiburg in Germany. "You have an upper story of single trees that are allowed to grow for several understory generations."</p><p>That arrangement imprints a characteristic tree ring pattern in a forest's upper story trees (the "standards"): thick rings indicative of heavy growth, which show up at regular intervals as the surrounding smaller trees are cut down. "The trees are growing faster," said Muigg. "You can really see it with your naked eye."</p><p>Muigg and his collaborators characterized that <a href="https://ltrr.arizona.edu/about/treerings" target="_blank">dendrochronological pattern</a> in 161 oak trees growing in central Germany, one of the few remaining sites in Europe with actively managed coppice-with-standards forests. They found up to nine cycles of heavy growth in the trees, the oldest of which was planted in 1761. The researchers then turned to a historical data set — more than 2,000 oak <a href="https://eos.org/articles/podcast-discovering-europes-history-through-its-timbers" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">timbers from buildings and archaeological sites</a> in Germany and France dating from between 300 and 2015 — to look for a similar pattern.</p>
A Gap of 500 Years<p>The team found wood with the characteristic coppice-with-standards tree ring pattern dating to as early as the 6th century. That was a surprise, Muigg and his colleagues concluded, because the first mention of this forest management practice in historical documents occurred only roughly 500 years later, in the 13th century.</p><p>It's probable that forest management practices were not well documented prior to the High Middle Ages (1000–1250), the researchers suggested. "Forests are mainly mentioned in the context of royal hunting interests or donations," said Muigg. Dendrochronological studies are particularly important because they can reveal information not captured by a sparse historical record, he added.</p><p>These results were <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78933-8" target="_blank">published in December in <em>Scientific Reports</em></a>.</p><p>"It's nice to see the longevity and the history of coppice-with-standards," said <a href="https://www.teagasc.ie/contact/staff-directory/s/ian-short/" target="_blank">Ian Short</a>, a forestry researcher at Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, not involved in the research. This technique is valuable because it promotes conservation and habitat biodiversity, Short said. "In the next 10 or 20 years, I think we'll see more coppice-with-standards coming back into production."</p><p>In the future, Muigg and his collaborators hope to analyze a larger sample of historic timbers to trace how the coppice-with-standards practice spread throughout Europe. It will be interesting to understand where this technique originated and how it propagated, said Muigg, and there are plenty of old pieces of wood waiting to be analyzed. "There [are] tons of dendrochronological data."</p><p><em><a href="mailto:email@example.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Katherine Kornei</a> is a freelance science journalist covering Earth and space science. Her bylines frequently appear in Eos, Science, and The New York Times. Katherine holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.</em></p><p><em>This story originally appeared in <a href="https://eos.org/articles/tree-rings-reveal-how-ancient-forests-were-managed" target="_blank">Eos</a></em> <em>and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.</em></p>
Earth's ice is melting 57 percent faster than in the 1990s and the world has lost more than 28 trillion tons of ice since 1994, research published Monday in The Cryosphere shows.
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Noreen Nunez lives in a middle-class neighborhood that rises up a hillside in Trinidad's Tunapuna-Piarco region.