Extreme weather events could soon become the “new normal” and human activities would be responsible for it, famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson -- the host of Cosmos and StarTalk -- said on Monday, during his appearance on "Larry King Now."
Tyson’s comments come at a time when California is entering the fourth year of a record-breaking drought, and farmers and several senior water rights holders have been hit with major water cuts. According to recent studies, unless burgeoning greenhouse gas emissions globally are brought under control, the drought California is currently experiencing will only get worse. Since records began in 1880, global temperatures have risen by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit -- making 2014 the warmest year on record. And, over the last 100 years, the global average sea level has gone up by seven inches.
“When it rains, it’s gonna rain heavier. When it’s not gonna rain, it’s gonna rain less than it ever didn’t rain before,” Tyson warned. “That’s kind of the new normal we’re gonna have to grow accustomed to. And all evidence points to the fact that it is human-caused influence on the ecosystem.
“It not [as if] one day the ocean will just sort of come in and stay there on your doorstep. No, that’s not how it happens first,” Tyson said. “At first, there would be a storm and there would be a tide surge, and [while] previously the tide surge maybe came over the sidewalk and that was about it, now the tide surge makes it into the streets.”
In the past, Tyson, who is also the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, has hit out at the so-called “climate skeptics” -- those who deny the existence of anthropogenic climate change -- for “cherry-picking” science.
In March, when reports emerged that Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s administration had allegedly banned state workers from using the words “climate change,” Tyson had likened it to “repealing gravity because you gained 10 pounds last week.”
“I don’t care what you believe. Believe whatever you want,” Tyson said on Monday, responding to a question about those who claim not to believe in climate change. “The problem comes about when you are in denial of an emergent scientific truth and you wield power over legislation.
“That’s a recipe for disaster,” he added. “That is the end of an informed democracy.”
During the interview, Tyson also answered questions related to future manned missions to Mars, expressing skepticism over Elon Musk’s plans for travel to the red planet.
“I can tell you that the first people to do really expensive things -- where there are dangers and people could die and there’s no known return on investment -- those are not business people,” Tyson told King. “Somebody’s gotta go in there with a long view -- the longer-than-the-quarterly-report view.”