Bill Nye on Texas floods and climate change denying politicians

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Even if, at some point in the future, Bill Nye is credited as being the man who saved the planet from climate change, I will always remember him for this awesomeness, especially the swearing:

Yes, I’m shallow, but I’m strangely OK with it.


At least regarding the floods in Houston, I’d just like to comment that the areas that flooded were largely the same ones that flood every time we have a large rain event. Unfortunately, a lot of them are in areas that are heavily developed so it’s all concrete or some of Houston’s robber-baro… er, developers have eyes on for gentrification, so I suspect they’ll fix the problems when the Undesirables™ move out.

Granted, some other areas like Wharton, around the San Jac river, etc, are because of inundation of runoff, but up in Houston? They know. It happens every few years, there’s nothing to see there.


That part of Texas has flooded throughout its entire history – but THIS time, THIS time is was caused by “Global Warming”! This part of Texas is known to be prone to flooding and has been even before there WAS a Texas. Can Bill Nye explain how THIS time is different from all the rest of the Texas floods?


Eh - how is this really “climate change”. Floods happen. All the time.


“When you flood the fourth largest city in the United States, somebody is going to pay for it, and it’s you and me. And so, the sooner we get to work on climate change, the better.”

Sorry, Nye, but you can’t connect any extreme weather event to climate change. You tell us that all the time, so it makes you a huge hypocrite. Btw, we’ve always had extreme weather events; we don’t control the climate (let alone weather); it controls us.


To the posters above: of course some floods happen regularly enough, and when they do happen they are mostly going to go similar places, what with water tending to run downhill and all. The concern with climate change is that the frequency or severity of floods might change. It’s comparable to using weighted dice; it’s not like snake eyes never happen without them, but you might not be ready for how often they come up.

The existence of floods in Texas are nothing new, but the amount of rain that has been happening is a new record, and as a result there have been levels of problems people were not prepared for. It takes very little searching to find out the Blanco River has hit record heights, that the Colorado River is passing its flood stage, that thousands of homes and people have been exposed to much more flood than typical. The sorts of things a sensible civilization would care about.

It does make sense to ask how much of this is anthropogenic. You can’t really prove whether a specific series of snake eyes happened because the dice were weighted, but you can talk about whether it would be typical or not. You should ask people who study climate whether this is how we are weighting it - the general opinion is yes - but at the very least, it should be plain to anyone honest that this particular season of raining and flooding is at least not all business as usual. Waving it off by saying floods happen and forgetting all the details is very specious.

It’s not at all unexpected to see people eager to casually dismiss any possible symptoms of climate change, mind. Apparently no matter what happens, some things take more than a few decades to change.


Nice to see the denialists are out in force. The rainfall in May was the highest ever. The Blanco River rose to its highest level ever. Wettest May day in Oklahoma City ever. The first flash flood warning for central Oklahoma ever.

Yea, just another rainy day. See the WaPo for more details.


@arthurapplebee, @Mister44, @4TimesAYear

Bill Nye didn’t specifically, categorically state that THIS particular flood was caused by climate change. He said that paying to rebuild after events such as this one is expensive, and that there is a strong link between the frequency those events and climate change.

He used the link between smoking and cancer as an example, and that seems like a great way to explain it. SOME of the smokers who died of lung cancer would have got lung cancer anyway. That doesn’t mean you can’t use a smoker’s death from lung cancer as an opportunity to talk about the dangers of tobacco.


Glad you said it…I had to double check what site I was on cause it started off like a Fox News discussion board.


Climate change will result in something humans haven’t done in generations- mass migrations. Area turn to shit? Move. Of course we don’t do that any more. Hell we actively move to shitty areas like deserts. But with floods, that is just something you deal with. Perhaps invest in over engineering the infrastructure to handle that much water and move it.

We have such short detailed info weather in general that we don’t really know what is “normal”. Living in the Midwest I know we have areas marked as 100 year flood plains. And people still build there, even thought they expect it to flood once in a hundred years. But that isn’t often enough to make people stop doing it. Hell I bet making 4x in a hundred years isn’t enough to make people stop doing it.

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Even the comment thread here?

This is why we can’t have nice things.


Thanks for joining BB a little over an hour ago and thanks for your insightful first post. Looking forward to hearing more!


I’m genuinely curious to know how much the climate change deniers get paid to monitor each and every web site and immediately jump into comment threads.

I know that there are some people out there who genuinely believe this stuff - some through deeply-held (if incorrect) beliefs, most through being fed a constant diet of he-said, she said bullshit in the media. There may even be a couple of trained, educated climate scientists who disagree with blanket statements, but I doubt they are monitoring dozens of web pages waiting to jump into the fray (I know I gave up trying to have reasoned, logical, scientific discussions pretty quickly).

So who is paying and how much? Enquiring minds would love to know. Do they pay better or worse than the Russians?


I’m genuinely curious to know how much the climate change deniers get paid

Not many are professionals. Most are just people out looking to rustle some jimmies. They are paid in attention by people like you.

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Just to throw this out there: there’s been a drought to some degree in Texas for half my life. A year ago 90% of the state had drought to some degree on another. Two years ago our state was on fire. Now only 5% have drought conditions. I don’t care to comment about climate change, nor deny that the flooding is very unfortunate for many people. But on the other hand we’ve needed rain badly, and it’s good to be in the “less screwed than most” camp of weather victims for a change.

You may be right.

I confess to not understanding it at all. I don’t create accounts on Fox News, Red State, etc. and then spend all day on them waiting to comment on something so I can stir up outrage. Maybe there are people who do that? I don’t know.

I do know the Russian government pay people to monitor all kinds of sites and respond to any criticisms. It seems to me that there must be equivalent for climate change stuff since these people seem so obsessed with being wrong on the matter - but maybe it’s a hobby for them.


Even within a single website community that wholly appreciates research and understanding of how things work, the separated appreciation for science and technology once again keeps us divided in the most asinine, unrelated, obviously political way.

The Misconception: When your beliefs are challenged with facts, you alter your opinions and incorporate the new information into your thinking.

The Truth: When your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.

What should be evident from the studies on the backfire effect is you can never win an argument online. When you start to pull out facts and figures, hyperlinks and quotes, you are actually making the opponent feel as though they are even more sure of their position than before you started the debate. As they match your fervor, the same thing happens in your skull. The backfire effect pushes both of you deeper into your original beliefs.


You seem angry.

You also seem misinformed. I’m sorry to have given you the impression that you can’t disagree or engage in open discussion (I wonder what you think we are doing now?).

You haven’t read ALL the literature - I guarantee it. I spent 10 years in undergraduate and graduate studies to get a PhD in palaeoclimatology and I barely scratched the surface. You need graduate training in biology, chemistry, physics, geology, statistics, and fluid dynamics to even approach much of the literature - something I attempted to do, but I’m far from a world authority on this.

Still, reasonable people can disagree - that’s the nature of science and civilized society. I’m comfortable explaining to future generations that I tried to educate people as to how the world works and the effects of dumping gigatonnes of carbon into the atmosphere in time frames never before seen. There’s a chance all the science is wrong and that everything we think we know about the environment is wrong. And in that case - what a horror, we will have cleaned up the environment for nothing.

You will have to live with your decisions and actions and beliefs (as will I) and history will judge which of us was right.

Have a wonderful evening