Shanti Menon 2 minute read

Bill Nye, the climate guy


Everyone’s favorite TV scientist, Bill Nye, is back with a new video. 

If that banger of a theme song (Bill! Bill! Bill!) is running through your head right now, you’re probably among the generation of kids who grew up watching Nye on his classic PBS show, Bill Nye the Science Guy

Remote video URL


In his latest video, Nye once again explains the science you really should know: namely, there’s a fast-acting climate solution out there that could change all our lives.

What is this speedy climate solution? It’s cutting pollution from methane, a short-lived but potent greenhouse gas that has 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide in the first 20 years after its release. 

“When I’m in a bad situation, I want the fastest solution possible,” says Nye, who worked on the video with the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund. 

A mechanical engineer and former standup comic, Nye has spent decades helping the American public understand science, with the help of goofy props and a healthy dose of slapstick humor. In a late-night talk show appearance in 2019, he took a blowtorch to a globe to explain to host John Oliver, “The planet’s on f*#*&ing fire.” 

In his new (and f-bomb free) video, Nye says methane pollution is pouring gasoline on that fire. Research by EDF scientists has shown that cutting methane pollution can shave as much as half a degree off global warming, which would reduce the risks of sea-level rise, water stress and other climate impacts for millions of people.

How do we go about cutting methane? Some people might associate methane pollution with flatulent cows — and Nye doesn’t fail to take advantage of that bit of comedic gold. But methane is also the main component of natural gas, which often leaks or is purposely released from oil and gas facilities. 

Nye knows this from personal experience. “I used to work in an oilfield in West Texas,” Nye said. “Methane leaks out of everything.”

Rendering of MethaneSAT flying through space and scanning earth for pollution
MethaneSAT will be the first satellite capable of high-precision methane tracking around the world. 

Here’s the good news: most of those climate- and air-polluting leaks, once located, can be easily fixed and prevented with proper maintenance. 

What’s more, new satellites — including the EDF-affiliated MethaneSAT, which will be ready to launch in early spring 2024 — will soon be able to locate and measure methane leaks around the world. Satellite data will hold polluters responsible for methane emissions that have, until recently, been largely invisible.

As Nye would say: Science rules. 

Hope for a warming planet

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