John Oliver devoted a large segment of his latest show to explaining the Green New Deal to his viewers. He went on at length about the hilariously stupid things reactionaries — most of them Faux News aficionados — have said about it, bringing experts into the discussion to explain that the GND is not about taking away hamburgers or airplanes and that cows don’t fart so much as burp.
Rather, Oliver intoned, it is about starting a conversation, one that will include multiple scenarios including consuming fewer animal products, driving electric cars, upgrading electrical grids, and creating low carbon fuels for jetliners. These are all ideas that CleanTechnica readers are already familiar with but which national leaders — particularly in the US — have great difficulty wrapping their heads around.
Next, Oliver introduces the idea of a carbon tax and calls upon Bill Nye to explain the concept in simple scientific terms. First he dons his de rigeur safety glasses, then turns to a simple chart which he taps authoritatively with his pointer. “When something costs more, people buy less of it.” End of lesson. Any question from the audience? Good. Let’s move on.
Now, John Oliver is a comedian. As such, he frequently pulls stunts and says things designed to get a laugh from his audience. Some of those stunts are silly, some are in poor taste, but they all are part of his shtick. Toward the end of the segment, he turns to Bill Nye once again to help illustrate what will happen if we don’t stop pumping megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
This is where Nye steps out of his usual mild mannered science guy character and does something rather unexpected and quite extraordinary. See for yourself.
When talking until you are blue in the face about something fails to win the day for your point of view, a little humor can prevail where logic cannot. Sometimes people need to be blasted out of their comfort zone in order for the message to get through. You may or may not approve of Nye’s choice of words, but there is no question his unorthodox explanation will make an impression on you. Maybe that’s what is needed to finally get a conversation about the Green New Deal going.
You can watch the entire Last Week Tonight discussion of the Green New Deal on YouTube at this link.