- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bill Nye, former host of the TV show “Bill Nye The Science Guy,” is no fan of climate skeptics, but he recently acknowledged that they have been “surprisingly successful” in influencing public opinion on global warming.

Asked why environmental issues such as climate change “have not been brought to the forefront of political debate,” Mr. Nye said that, “In my opinion, it’s all due to [whom] I call the ‘deniers.’ “

“The deniers have been very successful — surprisingly successful — because they are almost exclusively funded by the fossil-fuel industry,” Mr. Nye told CBS News. “So this whole anti-science movement has been set up to preserve an economy that is going away.”

Mr. Nye, who was interviewed Monday on his role as an ambassador for the National Park Service’s 100th birthday, was promptly challenged by Climate Depot’s Marc Morano, who disputed the allegation that climate skeptics are doing the bidding of the oil-and-gas industry.

“Nye’s claims of skeptics being almost exclusively funded by fossil fuels are flat-out wrong,” Mr. Morano said. “It is the environmental left that frequently enjoys amounts of fossil-fuel funding that skeptics never see.”

For example, he cited a 2014 report from the Science and Environmental Policy Project that found total U.S. expenditures on climate change from Fiscal Year 1993 to Fiscal Year 2033 exceeded $165 billion, primarily for climate models and efforts to mitigate global warming.

“These entities have a vested interest in promoting the fear of global warming/climate change,” the SEPP report said.

Polls have shown that climate change typically ranks at or near the bottom of voters’ concerns, despite efforts by Democrats and environmentalists such as billionaire Tom Steyer to push the issue to the forefront.

A Gallup poll released in June found that climate change ranked last on a list of 2016 election issues, although Gallup also found in March that worries about global warming have hit an eight-year high.

Mr. Nye, a longstanding critic of those who disagree with the climate-catastrophe narrative, drew criticism in April for indicating that he was open to the idea of jail time for climate dissenters, saying “the introduction of this extreme doubt about climate change is affecting my quality of life as a public citizen.”

He said Monday that Americans lag behind other nations on renewable energy, arguing, “The rest of the world is moving away from fossil fuels in order to do business, but not the United States.”

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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