Earther/Gizmodo’s satellite images from Jan 2020 and March 2020 showing the impact of coronavirus on pollution and the climate.
Earther/Gizmodo’s satellite images from Jan 2020 and March 2020 showing the impact of coronavirus on pollution and the climate.

Coronavirus and Climate Change, with Neil deGrasse Tyson

Satellite images from Jan 2020 and March 2020 showing the impact of coronavirus on pollution and the climate. Photo Credit: Earther/Gizmodo.
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About This Episode

On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson is investigating the connections between coronavirus and climate change alongside comic co-host Chuck Nice and expert guests. How has coronavirus impacted climate change? Can methods used to track climate change be used to track the spread of coronavirus? We explore these topics and a lot more. 

Our first guest is Gavin A. Schmidt, PhD, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. To start, we get a little background on CO2 emissions. How has the air quality changed over the current period of widespread quarantining? You’ll hear how the decrease of car and air travel has impacted our climate. We explore how climate modeling is similar to modeling the spread of coronavirus. You’ll also learn the benefits of “simple” vs “complex” modeling. Gavin tells us why models are fundamental to scientific enterprise. 

Then we welcome our second guest, Katharine Hayhoe, PhD, director of the Climate Center at Texas Tech University. She also has her own YouTube channel called Global Weirding with Katharine Hayhoe. Katharine explains how coronavirus made the jump from animals to humans (zoonosis) and why this is not the first, or last, time it will happen. 

Find out why the current pandemic is like a microcosm of climate change. Investigate the role that government has played in this pandemic so far and what governments can learn from dealing with this situation. Katharine explains how this pandemic and climate change are similar in the fact that they both impact the poorest people the hardest. 

We take a look at the spread of conspiracy theories during this pandemic and how they come from the same places that helped spread climate change conspiracies. Lastly, you’ll also hear about climatefeedback.org, a website run by a network of scientists to bring you truthful climate change news. All that, plus, Katharine shares a hopeful message for the future.

Thanks to our Patrons – Taylor Brandt, Carlene Goodbody, Leonard Saldana, Kaden Kartsone, Nicole Deschaine, Jeremy Newman, Nathan Hwee, and Nicholas Marazoff – for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons and All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

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About the prints that flank Neil in this video:
“Black Swan” & “White Swan” limited edition serigraph prints by Coast Salish artist Jane Kwatleematt Marston. For more information about this artist and her work, visit Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, https://inuit.com/.

In This Episode

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