Nye likened the effort needed to combat climate change to that of the United States’ effort during World War II. He advocated for more government involvement, including regulating greenhouse gas emissions and investing in nuclear energy. Citing Texas’s February winter storm, he argued the free market fails to protect people from climate change. Instead, proponents of combating climate change need to take political power and elect people who “accept the science,” he said, adding that voter suppression could stop the United States from taking action.
“We got to make sure that the next election is secure,” Nye said. “If we end up with a situation in the U.S. where we have minority rule, through gerrymandering, through these extraordinary laws that people are trying to pass, it’s going to be trouble for everybody…. It’s not in anyone’s best interest to not have everybody’s vote count, and it certainly looks like people are working to try to suppress votes.”
While Nye was invited to testify on the threat of climate change, Democrats used the opportunity to criticize the Trump administration, promote President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, and ask for Nye’s opinion on how to enact legislation in the face of opposition. Nye, who has a degree in mechanical engineering, was a popular kids’ television host in the ’90s.
Rep. Val Demings (D., Fla.), the chairwoman of the subcommittee, criticized President Donald Trump for not addressing climate change while in office.
“Despite the pressing need to address the risk posed by climate change, and despite the progress that had been made by the Obama administration, President Trump disregarded these challenges, increased the likelihood that Americans would experience these risks, and took steps to eliminate federal research and response,” Demings said.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Texas) echoed Demings’s criticism and promoted Biden’s massive infrastructure spending bill, the American Jobs Plan.
“Very grateful that we are beginning to turn the corner with the Biden administration and the American Jobs Plan and the administration’s budget proposal, which has aggressively looked to rectify President Trump’s failures and directly address the challenges that are so very important,” Lee said.
When asked about China’s role in climate change, Nye said nations should be unified in their approach. He defended China’s large energy use, saying the nation was trying to catch up with Western transportation standards.
June’s slate of Homeland Security hearings cover climate change, border issues, and cybersecurity. None are yet scheduled to examine the growing threat of China to U.S. national security.