StarTalk Live! Climate Change

Backstage at The Bell House before StarTalk Live! Climate Change. From Left: Eugene Mirman, Jemaine Clement, Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig, Bill Nye, Michael Che. Photo Credit: Elliot Severn.

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About This Episode

On a hot night in Brooklyn, Bill Nye and Eugene Mirman get steamed up about climate change with help from their guests, climatologist Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig (member of the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC) and comedians Jemaine Clement and Michael Che. Find out how climatologists create climate change and environmental impact models, and why those models show that the rate of global warming is faster than anticipated. Learn about albedo, the hockey stick, tipping points, and the “knock-on effects” of warmer temperatures. You’ll hear why fossil fuels are bad for the environment, what the global impact of a one degree Celsius change in temperature would be, and how cities are the “first responders” in addressing climate change. All this plus coastal flooding, melting glaciers, species migration, agricultural disruption, world-ending “cow farts” and the future of New York City and New Orleans.

Previously recorded live at The Bell House in Brooklyn, NY.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: StarTalk Live! Climate Change.

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  • Stephen

    Usually I’m a fan of and enjoy the show’s format of mixing dry but informed science professionals with light-hearted ribbing from professional comics, but this episode I found particularly jarring, and the ‘comic’ interjections I found to be ill-timed and at times disrespectful of the speaker. Either way, good job by Doc Cynthia on being a good sport and sharing her insights with us.

    • Paulo Costa

      I agree, the New Zealand guy has absolutely no timing.

    • I tend to agree. A guest mix of 3 comedians to 1 scientist is just a bit skewed and the result is just too many interruptions. One comedian is good fun but here it’s just too much of a good thing.

    • Peter Griffin

      I think the New Zealand Guy is really great and I’m a big fan go his work.

      But I definitely agree that 3 Comedians to 1 Scientist (+Bill as Host) are not good. Too much comic relief, so spoken, and at some point disrespectful, totally agree.

  • I love how remarkably important and intense this conversation is, yet how funny it was to talk about our impending doom. Eugene was on fire!
    I consider myself very progressive with respect to climate change thoughts, yet I still learned quite a bit.

    I started listening to this podcast with the previous episode and I am sad it took so long to find out about this. It is the most thoughtful, thought-provoking, insightful podcast out there, more people need to listen to this.

  • I love how remarkably important and intense this conversation is, yet how funny it was to talk about our impending doom. Eugene was on fire!
    I consider myself very progressive with respect to climate change thoughts, yet I still learned quite a bit.

    I started listening to this podcast with the previous episode and I am sad it took so long to find out about this. It is the most thoughtful, thought-provoking, insightful podcast out there, more people need to listen to this.


    As Krypton crumbled it would have been great to have heard Brando zip off a few one liners in the voice of Jackie Mason.

  • Ronnie

    Passing along great information as always! Go StarTalk!!

  • steven

    what about the evidence shows the the ice caps are growing. since you didn’t say anything about the opposing research makes ya’ll seem really biased and that’s a bad trait for scientist

  • Steven

    ive seen new research that shows that the ice caps are increasing so why didn’t y’all say anything about that. why dont yall do both sides of the topic to let your listeners a better education on the topic

  • red

    Although I love the comedians themselves, they’re really starting to get in the way of the topics at hand. I was cringing every time the doctor was interrupted. She starts saying something interesting, and then a joke comes along to ruin the whole thing. It makes it very, very difficult to listen to and appreciate.

    • Mike Watkins

      I felt the exact same way.

    • Billy Luna

      Totally agree with friend. These and any other serious topics should be taken seriously. If they want to be funny they need to open a new channel called COMEDY SCIENCE channel.

    • rina varughese

      Agreed- the comedians need to shut up and let the scientists talk

    • Sean

      I disagree I thought the comedy was tasteful and complimentary

  • herther

    I’m a huge fan of injecting humor into serious topics, & also usually a fan of Jemaine Clemant, but I found his constant interruption of Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig, highly annoying, disrespectful, and ill-timed.

  • Markus nanderöd

    This was the worst episode of any podcast I ever listened to. The “comedians” totally ruined it with interrupting Dr Cynthia R every time she was speaking. What was wrong with them? Every time she was about to say something interesting she was interrupted by the British(?) guy who just had to say something stupid. It’s not a bad idea to have a comedian in the show but they should really know when to shut up. 
    Markus Nanderöd

  • Markus

    I agree with previous speakers. The new Zeeland “comedian” was really destroying this episode.

  • Lisa Palmisano

    I want to add my objections to the constant interruption whenever Dr. Rosenzweig (the invited expert) tried to speak. I was VERY frustrated by the fact that she was unable to express any single point without being interrupted by one or more (or all) of her fellow panelists. Other commenters have said that three comics to one expert was the problem. I posit that four disrespectful men to one woman was the problem. The men on the panel were extremely disrespectful to Dr. Rosensweig, and I am especially disappointed in Bill Nye. I am willing to give a pass to the comedians, as their job requires them to be irreverent at times, but Nye should have reined them in. Instead he joined in on the disrespectful behavior. Shame on all four men involved, and my sympathies to Dr. Rosenzweig, who did her best to try to educate under very difficult circumstances. I hope she is invited back and given the respect she deserves.

  • Evren Guven

    This episode would have been much better & helpful if the comedians (!) kept the interruptions at a reasonable level. Dr. Rosenzweig could barely finish her sentences.

  • slave2six

    I found this episode to be highly interesting and entertaining. All y’all complaining that the comedians were being unprofessional obviously have no grasp of the profession of comedy. They were very professional toward their craft.

    Dr. Rosenzweig was a great sport and I found her information to be extremely interesting and important.

    And, let’s be honest here folks, this woman is accustomed to being shouted down by other scientists in her field. If you really think that interruptions by a comedian are out of line, perhaps you should attend one of her summits with other climatologists. I bet she would prefer this crowd to the ones she normally graces.

    Get a grip people.

  • E

    While I love jokes, the constant interruption of Dr. Rosenzweigs information by all of the comedians really pulled away from an actual discussion on climate change. Why have a scientist there at all if you don’t let them speak? It was disrespectful and broke much of the actual discussion. I love Star Talk but this episode was one of the worst, ever. It actually lacked a scientific discussion and ended up being a bunch of bad jokes. frown emoticon bummed.

  • Skeptical

    Disappointing episode the comedian guests weren’t entertaining and then you advertise a homeopathic treatment on a science podcast. Poor form star talk.

  • Billy Luna

    If you ask me, it’s either going to get hot or cold. One balance will out way the other in the end. Lets say the earth calls out and says, “it’s hot! Cool me down!” Or vise-versa. What on earth do we have to make that change?

    • Johnny Le

      If the earth calls out, “cool me down” and if we don’t cool the earth down, the earth will cool itself, and it has been doing that. The problem is that hundreds of people will die in the process and it will cost us billions of dollars whenever the earth decides to take the matter in its own hands. That’s why we concern. We don’t HAVE to do anything, but it’s possible that we may be wiped out entirely if we rely on the earth to correct itself.

  • sirhotalot

    Why are they having a discussion about climate change with people who don’t know anything about it? For people interested in a real interview here you go:

    • I submit to you that while you may not agree with her position, Nobel Prize-winning climatologist Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig, who was on the IPCC, is one of the world’s acknowledged experts on climate change. And given that the book Bill Nye is writing is on climate change as well, he doesn’t exactly fit into the category of “people who don’t know anything about it.”

      • Taxil Necrobane

        Seeing that the Nobel has lost it’s credibility with me and many others, any one with an award from them means little. Yes, Mr Nye isn’t one of the “people who don’t know anything about it.” but he knows enough to be recklessly dangerous with it. Yes, Mr. Nye, you can write a book about ‘climate change’ but so can I if I wanted to. However, writing one does not make you an expert or even fully knowledgeable about it.

  • Paul Maher

    I admire any and all organizations that speak to their knowledge and or lack of it in an effort to get to the bottom line. This particular group of people should have a little more focus on events in the world of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science/LENR. Perhaps they are simply not aware of the happenings because they just aren’t aware of the doings. Well here it is, People have been working on developing an energy producing device that accomplishes its task as Andrea Rossi has with his E-CAT. He applied for a patent with USPTO in 2012, it was repeatedly rejected, until a couple of months ago when it was issued a FINAL REJECTION. Then on Aug 25th 2015 the USPTO reversed their stance and ISSUED the patent, us9115913b1. Industrial Heat LLC is no small player and have aligned themselves with Mr. Rossi and Cherokee Business Partners. If they don’t drop the ball or hide the damned thing, things are going to change for the good very shortly. A good friend of mine, involved in reporting Cold Fusion and LENR history and doings pointed out to me today that because of the enormity of the new technology the government is working closely with the aforementioned group to try to craft a good transition. But along with Ruby Carat, I WANT COLD FUSION NOW!! Perhaps there will be some light shined on these issues on Sept 23rd at the meeting talked about on the following link. IEEE hosting meeting at Teradyne on Sept 23rd 2015. Pretty significant meeting concerning LENR.

    May the Weak Force Be With Us ALL.
    Paul D. Maher

  • Cedric

    I really have no idea what is going on with ST these days. Why even have Dr. Rosenzweig there when you have all these comedians talk over her. I mean some don’t even have good timing and isn’t that the whole point of telling jokes. Anyways, this ep is a 2 out of a 10 for me. Couldn’t even finish it, it was that bad. Get it together over there. If you want to do pure comedy w/o science, please get a new channel.

  • Light Punster

    This was a bad episode. The comedians were very distracting and Dr. Rozenweig just had a very confusing attitude toward the whole thing, laughing about what should be an important issue and referring to the people who “make decisions.” Dr. Rozenweig, it is also your responsibility to make decisions. I Cedric below, I also couldn’t even finish.

  • ndnpro64

    Definitely too much comedy, not enough science in this episode. Maybe Bill Nye hosting had something to do with this since he’s not as experienced as Neil with staying on topic and controlling the humor.

  • Karina Yager

    Awesome! Thanks for this! I think the comedy highlights were right on, and the discussion incredibly important.

  • Martin

    This time the comedians were too annoying, always interrupting the female scientist… it was painful to listen to this time (maybe it’s because Neil is better in handling the comedians and not letting them off leash: but of course, B|ill is the last person to blame).

  • monstertime

    I enjoy and welcome the comedic interjections, life’s too short to take everything so seriously all the time. I love listening to the show regardless of who is hosting as the subject matter is always thought compelling. Never stop learning.

  • cat_computress

    I found it very cynical hosts and guests laughing at the fact that methane gas, released from cows are just funny and somehow not catastrophic, this show is not Fox & Friends. And how come they agree that fossil fuels does the biggest impact to the climate change, while it is actually animal agriculture, which was barely addressed. Transportation industry amount to 13% of the total impact, while animal agriculture is 51% according to Livestock and Climate Change (LCC), environmental assessment experts at the World Bank.
    This show is not that. It would be like saying Pluto is a planet or the earth is flat.

  • Will

    In total agreement with many of the comments here, dump the comedians. What is the point of this? In this episode especially, I was rolling my eyes and got increasingly aggravated everytime the climate scientist was interrupted by stupid, unfunny interjections. She graciously put up with that crap. I stopped listening a few minutes in when I couldn’t stand the flat quips from that nasally, monotone Brit.

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