In an interview with the Daily Beast about his new Netflix show about saving the world, the Science Guy™ made a novel case for optimism about climate change:
[In] the case of climate change, I think the people who are in denial about it will age out. There are very few millennial aged people who aren’t concerned about climate change. There are a few, but very few. So as the electorate ages, climate change will be taken very seriously.
Nye is right that young people are more concerned about climate change than old people. A 2016 University of Texas at Austin poll showed 91 percent of people under age 35 say climate change is occurring, compared with only 74 percent of those age 65 or older who say the same. Young people are also far more likely to support carbon reduction policies like decreasing coal production, implementing a carbon tax, and promoting electric cars, the poll showed.
But Nye also correctly pointed out that the planet doesn’t have time to wait for the deniers to croak. According to Scientific American, we can only emit carbon at our current rate for about 20 more years before the Earth’s average temperature increases by 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, creating irreversible damage. Which raises the question: Will Donald Trump live to be 90?