How Bill Nye is teaching the GOP to be 'cool' to millennials

While promoting his new book 'Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World,' Bill Nye the Science Guy says Republican presidential candidates have to accept climate change to win the millennial vote.

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
Bill Nye speaks on stage at the National Geographic Channel 2015 Winter TCA on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif.

Bill Nye released his new book, “Unstoppable,” Tuesday, which explains the science behind climate change in a way only "The Science Guy" can do.

And during a series of interviews to promote his book, Mr. Nye says Republican presidential candidates have another practical reason beyond science to leave climate denying in the past: the millennial vote.    

According to a 2014 poll by The Clinton Initiative and Microsoft, millennials care more about the environment than their parents’ generation, 76 percent to 24 percent. 66 percent of millennials surveyed say there is “solid evidence” that the earth is getting warmer, and of this 75 percent of these climate advocates say warming is caused by human activity.

“What happens when you want to get the millennial votes? Millennials are very concerned about climate change,” Nye said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday. “Are the conservatives just going to let those votes go? Or is somebody going to have an epiphany in the spring?”

Letting millennial votes ‘go’ isn’t something that any presidential candidate can afford to do. A Pew Research survey from January predicts the millennial generation (between the ages of 18-34 in 2015) will surpass the Baby Boomer generation (between the ages of 51 and 69), reaching 75.3 million people this year.

And a study by the Democracy Corps and NextGen Climate suggests millennial voters prefers a candidate who supports climate action to one who denies climate change by 50 points. 

“An overwhelming margin of millennial voters – including Republicans – say climate change denial would make them less likely to support a candidate – with more than 41 percent saying it would disqualify that candidate regardless of their other positions,” the study reports. 

Only 40 percent of millennial voters want to see a Republican win the presidential election in 2016, according to a poll by the Harvard Institute of Politics. In the 2012 presidential election between President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Mr. Obama carried 67 percent of the youth vote compared to Mr. Romney’s 30 percent. In fact, Romney would have won four key swing states (Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania) in 2012 if the Republicans had persuaded millennial voters, a collective loss that some say cost Romney the election.

The correlation between a field of GOP candidates who deny climate change, and a lackluster millennial following, is hardly a coincidence, says Nye.

" … As I listen to the Republican debates – maybe one of these people will go out on his or her own, thinking for him or herself, and say, 'You know, I’ve been thinking about this and climate change is a very serious problem. So if I’m president, we’re going to address climate change,' " Nye says in an interview with Salon last week.

Nye applauds Obama’s decision to dedicate his first Facebook post Monday to the United States’ global role in climate change.

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