'Science Guy' Bill Nye Debates Lawmaker on Climate Change

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Bill Nye The Science Guy pleaded for action to address climate change in a debate Sunday with Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who called climate science "unproven."

"There is no debate in the scientific community. And I encourage the congresswoman to look at the facts," Nye, the former children's educational personality said in a debate on "Meet the Press" Sunday. "We need you to change things, not to deny what's happening."

He clashed with Blackburn, the vice chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee — the panel in charge of producing and overseeing energy and climate regulations.

"Neither he nor I are climate scientists. He's an engineer and actor; I'm a member of Congress," she said. Of the scientific evidence of climate change, she said: "There is not consensus there."

Blackburn said that even if she were to concede Nye's assertions about the validity of climate change, lawmakers and regulators should still look to a cost-benefit analysis of new laws and rules before imposing them.

"What we need to be looking at is the way to achieve efficiencies," she said.

Nye, who debated a noted creationist over the science behind evolution in a heavily-publicized event earlier this month, argued in favor of using every available tool to address the threat of climate change immediately.

"It would be everybody's interests to just get going," he said. "The more we mess around with this denial, the less we're going to get done."

The debate comes as the gulf between President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress on issues of climate change continues to grow. The GOP has continued to pressure Obama to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, for instance, and relax regulations of producing energy from "tracking."

Obama's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), by contrast, is working to create rules that would unilaterally impose limits on carbon pollution. The executive action comes after climate change legislation — a priority of the president's upon taking office in 2009 — was passed by Democrats in the House that year, but has stalled since the GOP won control of the lower chamber in 2010.

Secretary of State John Kerry also kicked off a series of speeches on climate change this weekend, beginning with remarks in Jakarta, Indonesia on Sunday blasting deniers of climate science.

"First and foremost we should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideologues to compete with scientific fact nor should we allow any room that the costs associated with doing the right thing outweigh the benefits there are people who say it is too expensive we can't do this," said Kerry, who as senator had spearheaded efforts for environmental legislation.