credit: F. Scott Schafer
We are living in the golden era of conspiracy theories.
Today, anyone can use their phone to doctor photos and prove Mark Zuckerberg and Beyoncé are shape-shifting lizard people. The internet incubates fringe ideas into full-blown news narratives. A demagogue can build an entire presidential campaign on baseless fabrications that resonate with the paranoid populace.
One of Donald Trump’s favorite conspiracy theories, which he returns to time and time again, is that climate change is a hoax that China created to make America less competitive. Where did this notion come from? And does it hold any truth? We explore the climate change conspiracy on this episode of I Want To Believe.
Vocativ trawled through the muck of online forums, and came up with some provocative questions for the internet’s favorite bow tie-clad scientist:
“Hasn’t the Earth warmed before? How could you know CO2 levels from hundreds of years ago? Don’t volcanoes emit greenhouse gases too? Pigs fart methane gas. PIGS AREN’T HUMAN.”
None of these queries are new — and neither are their answers. Nye responds with the tired patience of a kindergarten schoolteacher.
“I’m not saying the world didn’t used to be warmer in ancient dinosaur days,” he says. “But it’s the rate at which the world is getting warmer that’s troublesome.”
He also points out the culpability of Big Coal: “The fossil fuel industry works very hard at maintaining their status quo.”
At the very least, it’s handy to have all the arguments in one neat 5-minute package. That way, you can fling it over to your nearest climate denier like a February snowball to the face.