Science & Tech

Let’s Seek Scientific Solutions to Climate Change

Bill Nye

Lesson time 21:46 min

Bill takes on the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, explaining how each economic sector could improve. He covers transportation, electricity generation, industry, and agriculture—and even shares improvements members can implement at home.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Understanding the Largest Emitters · Handling Transportation · Rethinking Electricity Generation · Analyzing Industry · Sustaining Agriculture · Upgrading Your Home


[MUSIC PLAYING] - So I tip up the cup and the tea doesn't come out because air can't get in behind it. Even with this plastic lid on a largely plastic cup, it seals well enough that you can't take a sip. So using a tool, I will enlarge the air opening, the vent in the back of the teacup. And this will enable me to take a sip. It's not magic, people. It's what? It's science. To tackle climate change, we need to break it down into separate parts. First, we identify the challenges. Then, using all the scientific tools at our disposal, we will find solutions. When you look at Earth from space, you don't even see the atmosphere. It's so thin. And yet that atmosphere and the chemistry of that atmosphere is what sustains us. So if we accidentally change the chemistry of the atmosphere, we could make this place unlivable for a large fraction of a human population. And we don't want that. Of the greenhouse gases we produce, carbon dioxide and methane are our main worries. So where do our greenhouse gases come from? Well, take a look at this. Most of our greenhouse gases are produced by transportation. Next is electrical generation, then industry writ large. Some commercial and residential things produce greenhouse gases, and finally agriculture. All of these are big contributors to climate change. And we'll talk about each one coming right up. Most of our transportation is done with fossil fuels. That is to say, we have cars and trucks. We have airplanes. And we especially have very large ships at sea that use this really you have to describe dirty fossil fuel, this bunker oil. And all of these things are producing carbon dioxide and other particulates, small particles, at an extraordinary rate, at 51 billion tons a year. So we want to electrify all the transportation. And I say electrify, use electric motors instead of fossil fuel, gas-powered diesel motors, because they're more efficient. And they're cleaner. There's no exhaust with an electric motor. Now, we have the technology to convert cars, buses, and trains to electricity. I drive an electric car. The car doesn't know if the electrical energy is coming from a nuclear power plant or a solar panel or a wind turbine or a coal-fired electrical plant. The car can't tell, doesn't need to know. It's a car. And if you've ever driven an electric car, you'll never go back. When will you go back to a fossil fuel? You won't. You won't go back. This gets back to this mythic thing, the second law of thermodynamics. When you use heat to make something spin, to make mechanical work, you are constrained by what the "Star Trek" engineers would call the laws of physics. But electrical motors are much more efficient. So as we change to electric vehicles, we can make our transportation systems more efficient. We can have less greenhouse gas emissions. And we can make the world cleaner and quieter. And I think in the future, people will not own cars. I know a lot o...

About the Instructor

With his 19-time Emmy Award–winning show, Bill Nye the Science Guy introduced the joy of scientific discovery to a worldwide audience. Now, for the first time, the beloved educator is teaching his framework for scientific thinking and everyday problem-solving. Learn Bill’s approach to navigating information through “critical filtering” and embrace a science-based, optimistic response to some of the planet’s biggest challenges.

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Bill Nye

Emmy Award–winning science educator Bill Nye teaches you his method for solving everyday problems, evaluating information, and thinking like a scientist.

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