Host David Gregory had a bit of a hard time staying out of the climate change debate between scientist Bill Nye and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on "Meet the Press" Sunday.
Though Gregory said repeatedly there was little to no debate about the factual basis for climate change, he allowed Blackburn plenty of time to deny the existence of a scientific consensus on the matter, with Nye rebuffing her claims. Blackburn began by pointing out that Nye is "an engineer and actor" and not "a climate scientist." When she argued that "no one single weather event is due specifically to climate change," Nye suggested that Blackburn was "trying to introduce doubt" to viewers.
"We have overwhelming evidence that climate is changing," Nye said. "That you cannot tie any one event to that is not the same as doubt about the whole thing."
Gregory allowed the discussion to proceed despite some terse exchanges, but said he had to step in when Blackburn claimed that scientists lack sufficient evidence to say that carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere have had a significant environmental impact.
"Well, hold on, I just have to interrupt you," Gregory said. "I'm sorry, congresswoman, let me just interrupt you, because it's not -- you can pick out particular skeptics, but you can't really say, can you, that the hundreds of scientists around the world who have looked at this have gotten together and conspired to manipulate data?"
The representative argued that "there is not consensus" that greenhouse gas emissions have had a major effect on global warming.
"But there is consensus," Gregory responded. "Within the scientific community, there is consensus."
In a television world that hardly ever tackles climate change, the fact that three Sunday shows featured conversations on the topic is a step in the right direction. ABC News' George Stephanopoulos devoted the first 10 minutes or so of his show to discussing how to "get ahead" of climate change with Climate Central's chief climatologist, Dr. Heidi Cullen, and CBS' "Face the Nation" spoke with the former head of the American Meteorological Society.