Wednesday night was “Climate Night” on late-night TV, which found seven hosts across network and cable joining forces, in a sense, to tackle an issue that rarely gets enough attention from the shows given the level at which it is now affecting the lives of Americans every day.
Steve Bodow, the former Daily Show showrunner who conceived of the coordinated effort, recently told The New York Times that his message to the hosts was “Please do your show the way that you do your show,” adding, “The shows have different styles and vibes, and that’s how they’ll approach this.”
Late Night host Seth Meyers took that directive to heart, delivering a sprawling version of his “A Closer Look” segment on Wednesday that examined not only the problem but also some of the major obstacles standing in the way of a solution.
“Progressives in Congress, including Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders, are pushing forward with a transformative $3.5 trillion spending plan that would invest heavily in climate infrastructure amid historic wildfires, droughts, and flooding,” Meyers began. “And now centrists with ties to the fossil fuel industry are trying to water it down.”
The “centrist” he was referring to, of course, was Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) who has called for a “pause” on the budget resolution. After reviewing the details of a study that shows clean energy is actually more cost-effective in the long term than a continued reliance on carbon emission-producing fuels like oil, gas, and coal, Meyers directly called out Manchin for being a “powerful ally” of fossil fuel industry who is “doing their bidding” in Congress.
Then, noting that Manchin still reportedly owns stock worth between $1 million and $5 million in a coal brokerage firm he founded, the host asked, “How is it acceptable that the guy writing our climate policy personally profits from coal?”
“It’s like if instead of hiding his gambling, Pete Rose called his bookie from second base,” Meyers joked.
Later, he concluded, “Climate change is here. It’s having deadly real-world consequences. We need bold action now to stave off the worst effects before it’s too late.”