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Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson took on climate change deniers in the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey devastating entire regions of Texas, Florida and other parts of the gulf. Tyson became visibly frustrated when discussing those who “cherry pick” scientific facts -- including the media -- simply to deny the existence of man-made global warming.
"Fifty inches of rain in Houston! This is a shot across our bow, a hurricane the width of Florida going up the center of Florida! Tyson exclaimed, in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria that aired Sunday. “What will it take for people to recognize that a community of scientists are learning objective truths about the natural world and that you can benefit from knowing about it?"
Tyson also ridiculed the news media for often picking one scientific paper and touting it to their audiences as major news. “Oh, here’s a new truth, if this study holds it,” he said in a mocking tone.
"It requires a whole system of people's research all leaning in the same direction, all pointing to the same consequences," he added. "That's what we have with climate change, as induced by human conduct."
Tyson reiterated that he believes humans as a whole are wasting precious time, money and overall resources by engaging in the mere existence of man-made global warming effects instead of pursuing actual tactics to engage what he sees as a worsening worldwide crisis.
"The day two politicians are arguing about whether science is true, it means nothing gets done. Nothing." he told CNN on Sunday. "It's the beginning of the end of an informed democracy, as I've said many times. What I'd rather happen is you recognize what is scientifically truth, then you have your political debate."
“It is truth, whether or not you believe in it,” he said. “And the sooner you understand that, the faster we can get on with the political conversations about how to solve the problems that face us.”
Tyson added that it may already be too late for some of the world’s great cities, especially those sitting near the coasts.
"I worry that we might not be able to recover from this because all our greatest cities are on the oceans and water's edges, historically for commerce and transportation," he told CNN. "And as storms kick in, as water levels rise, they are the first to go.
"And we don't have a system -- we don't have a civilization with the capacity to pick up a city and move it inland 20 miles,” he continued. “That's -- this is happening faster than our ability to respond. That could have huge economic consequences."
The celebrity scientist, who is the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at New York’s Rose Center for Earth and Space, has had more than one foray with climate change deniers. He has particularly targeted the Trump administration for pulling out of the Paris Agreement earlier this year as well as Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert’s outright refusal to connect climate change to either recent hurricane’s strength.
“If I and my advisors had never learned what Science is or how & why it works, then I’d consider pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord too,” Tyson tweeted in May.
“If you’re in denial of global warming, you’re in denial of objective scientific truths,” he continued. “That’s not a political stance, that’s an ignorant stance.”
Tyson explicitly directed his criticism at climate change deniers as images of the Texas damage flooded news outlets. “Hmm. Don’t see much denial of @NOAA climate scientists who have predicted Hurricane Harvey’s devastating path into Texas,” he tweeted on Aug. 25. And he made a very similar argument as the U.S. rallied together to watch August’s much-hyped total solar eclipse. “Odd. No one is in denial of America’s Aug 21 total solar eclipse. Like Climate Change, methods & tools of science predict it.”