Bill Nye Issues Warning for the World

Green Backs

A damning new climate report is warning about Greenland's massive ice sheet melting — and the world's premiere science guy is sounding the alarm.

The new study, conducted by climate researchers at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, found that the once-frozen country has experienced a devastating amount of ice loss over the past 30 years due to climate change.

If that melting continues unabated, the territory will keep getting greener — yes, like its name — as its permafrost melts and releases climate-destroying greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

In an interview with CNN about the new report, pop scientist Bil Nye pointed out that "people have been concerned about this business of Greenland's ice for decades" — and although the world is paying more attention now than ever, the problem has only gotten worse.

Beyond the catastrophic gases released from the permafrost melting, Nye said there are two other "big, big problems" with Greenland's thawing: that it's causing sea levels to rise and menace our coastlines and weather patterns, and that it's screwing with the circulation of the ocean.


Mind the Gulf

Specifically, as the Cornell-educated science educator added, the freshwater that's streaming into the ocean from the melted ice sheet might majorly disrupt the salty Gulf Stream. Among other things, the clockwise circulation from the stream "keeps Europe warm," and when that gets messed with, so too may Europe's climate.

Last year another assessment, this time from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warned that the Gulf Stream may collapse as soon as 2025, which could lead to temperatures on the European continent lowering up to 10-15 degrees.

"It's happening," Nye said. "It's happening faster and faster... as we lose ice, we lose sunlight reflecting into space, which makes things warm up faster and faster."

The melting of the Greenland ice sheet is, of course, "very troubling," but the scientist said he still has hope for the future — especially if we keep taking action on climate change and voting in candidates who believe in it and push for environmental policies.

Nye went on to reference recent scientific arguments suggesting there "isn't really a turning point" for climate change and that we should, instead, focus on mitigation efforts.

"There isn't like a click where it's all going to go to heck, instead it's just going to get worse and worse and worse," he said. "And that getting worse will accelerate, so the sooner we get to work, the better."

More on climate: Scientists Say the Atlantic Current Appears to Be on the Verge of Collapse