President Obama had a guest with him during his Earth Day visit to the Florida Everglades on Wednesday: Bill Nye, "the science guy."
In a video released by the White House on Friday, Obama and Nye discussed science education and climate change, with Obama telling the commentator and former TV host, "America is beginning to lead" on science issues.
"Because of our leadership in putting forward a climate plan that was pretty aggressive, China for the first time has submitted its own plan. And what we're trying to do now is mobilize the world," he said.
"You're absolutely right that, if America is not at the forefront, it will not happen."
Obama said it's "part of our constitutional duty" to promote science, and chided some in Congress for "being part of the climate-denier clubs."
"I'm not a scientist either, but I know a lot of scientists," he said. "I have the capacity to understand science. I have the capacity to look at facts ad base my conclusions on evidence."
The president posed a few questions of his own to Nye, asking him how to best engage children, girls and minorities on issues like science, technology, engineering and math. Nye said the goal is to begin when kids are younger than 10.
"We want science in every day, in every grade," Nye said. "So there's a huge opportunity for us, because teaching science, elementary level, is very inexpensive. And we fight these surprising problems about reading and arithmetic and standards and so on. It seems like a very solvable problem, but we have to, in my opinion, we have to invest in the elementary grades and keep it going."