Thanks in part to Cosmos, Tyson is arguably the single most visible public face of science in America today. And as such, he may have to walk a difficult line. Many science defenders want Cosmos to do nothing less than restore our national sanity by smiting all science denial, especially when it comes to the issues of evolution and global warming…..
Global warming is the case in point: Just as Carl Sagan worried about nuclear holocaust because of science, so we today worry about the planet’s steady warming. Indeed, that kind of thinking is central to the Cosmos legacy. Asked on the podcast about the warming of the planet, Tyson explained the ultimate message of Cosmos: “You are equipped and empowered with this cosmic perspective, achieved by the methods and tools of science, applied to the universe. And are you going to be a good shepherd, or a bad shepherd? Are you going to use your wisdom to protect civilization, or will you go at it in a shortsighted enough way to either destroy it, or be complicit in its destruction? If you can’t bring your scientific knowledge to bear on those kinds of decisions, then why even waste your time?”
as usual one must ask: what global warming? over what time frame? we are still in an inter-glacial period in the Pleistocene ice age.The chart below, from “Geologic temperature record”, is deceiving in the sense that it is heavily weighted to recent time, but even a casual observer can see the earth has been gradually cooling for the past 50 million years. We are in an ice-age, despite the latest inter-glacial heating of the past 10,000 years, and which itself is coming to an end before the next 2-3,000 years, when the ice moves south again.
Global warming is entirely a matter of what time scale you use, nothing more, nothing less.