Right Opinion

Fact-Checking Bill Nye

Joe Bastardi · Mar. 1, 2017

Let’s fact-check Bill Nye regarding comments he made about something near and dear to my heart — wine — during the Feb. 26 edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Here’s his response to what the earth would look like today if man was not the culprit for all the warming:

“It would have looked like it did in 1750. Britain would not be very well-suited to growing grapes as it is today. French wine-makers would not be buying land to the north as they are now. People who plan to run ski resorts would still be able to do it in Europe.”

First of all, grapes are being grown in modern day Britain, but they were also being grown back when the Romans were in charge. There were 50-100 vineyards in Britain between 1000 and 1300 AD and even one in Scotland! And Britons were still giving it a go as late as the 1700s before the Little Ice Age. The reason is two-fold. 1) You could grow grapes and make wine because it was warm enough to (we were in a climate optimum both times). 2) The occupiers were of Roman and then French descent (the Normans showed up in 1066), both known for their love of wine. I can certainly speak for the former. Obviously, the northern tastes are more toward ales, and this combined with the cooling lead to the necessary change from the fruit of the vine to the harvest of the field.

Here’s an excellent read on this.

What about the ski industry?

Looks like there are plenty where people usually go to ski — the Alps.

And locations north of the UK still have theirs.

A big hint to all this lies in the cyclical nature of the oceans. The shift in the Pacific in 1978, called the Great Pacific Climatic Shift, from cold to warm naturally started elevating global temperatures, and that was followed by shifts in the IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole) and, most importantly for Europe and the Arctic, the Atlantic to its warm phase. It does not take a science guy, just common sense, to understand the earth’s major warm ocean bodies, with 1,000x the heat capacity of the air, would have a warming effect on the planet. (Inconvenient truth: Warming oceans also release CO2.) But why quibble with such trivialities as the ocean when you can just label people like the late Dr. William Gray, who had 50 years of experience in the field and a PhD — something Bill does not have — delusional? Perhaps a read of his paper is in order.

Here’s what it comes down to. By saying CO2 is now the climate control knob, i.e. 100% responsible, you are denying (there’s that word) the entire history of the CO2-temperature relationship in the known history of the planet.

Also being denied is that warmer times, including when grapes were grown in Britain, were called climate optimums because life flourished then.

And the increase even has a diminishing return.

I had the chance to talk with Bill Nye for about three hours in my home. He is not an evil demon; he is a man who believes he is right and wants to change the world for better. That is what he believes. The problems for me start when you resort to some of the things he has recently advocated — jailing people or, in the case above, labeling people delusional. And that’s a shame for two reasons. 1) It’s the first step toward the type of despotic view that people who think they know better try to force on others. That is not freedom, and that is not science. 2) He is someone who really brought science to the forefront. I have a picture of two former pro football players, Chris and Keith Conlin, “choking” me because they told me to lay off Bill Nye.

No, I am not going soft, because it’s the totality of the journey that has to be looked at. But diminishing whatever authority you may have had before (if these two guys watched Bill Nye, then he has gotten a lot of exposure) with this kind of thing seems to be out of line to me. One is always taught to “finish strong.” The argument here is not that the climate does not change — it always has and always will — but it involves, in my opinion, three main points that sum up my position:

1.) How much is man responsible for variances that were previously exclusively natural?

In my opinion, most of the warmth today is likely natural given the tiny amounts of CO2 relative to the entire system, of which the oceans have 1000x the heat capacity and are the great thermostat of the planet, taking centuries of action and reaction to reach where they are now.

2.) Is this worth the draconian reactions that will handcuff the greatest experiment in freedom and prosperity in history, the United States of America?

3.) This question may arise, if one wants: Would not the cost of adaptation to such things, rather than trying to correct what has always happened in the past anyway, be a sounder fiscal response?

Now does that seem delusional or worthy of jail time?

I suggest Bill finish strong with his argument, but not by what is a soft tyranny of suggesting jail time or demeaning others, some with far more education and experience than him.


Joe Bastardi is chief forecaster at WeatherBELL Analytics, a meteorological consulting firm, and contributor to The Patriot Post on environmental issues.

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