Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles Climate Change

All the late night hosts joined forces to see if they can make you care about the climate crisis

To mark climate week, all the late night shows dedicated their shows Wednesday night to the climate crisis — well, almost all of them. Fox News host Greg Gutfeld opted out (or wasn't invited).

Yes, "this week, eight late shows, including this one, are doing climate-themed nights," Stephen Colbert said at The Late Show. "Crisis solved, just as surely as when all those celebrities sang 'Imagine' and ended COVID." 

Climate change is already "transparently disastrous," and few countries are rising to the challenge, he said. "But ordinary people are doing something about climate change: they're worrying, especially young people." Not most Americans, though, he sighed. "Americans treat climate science like soccer — we know it's out there and it really matters to the rest of the world, but no one can make us care."

Well, "if death and destruction, famine, pestilence, water shortages on a global scale, if that isn't scary enough, think about this: Scientists say climate change could severely impact the world's supply of beer," Jimmy Kimmel said at Kimmel Live. "Half the world's coffee beans could be wiped out," and "climate change could even lead to massive shortages of rosé — I don't actually know if that's true, I just wanted to see if the white women were listening." 

Look, "no matter what the big corporations and energy companies tell you, we're not going to vegan or Prius our way out of this ourselves," Kimmel said. "We need action. We need to make this our No. 1 priority."

"It's the No. 1 issue that we face," Samantha Bee said at Full Frontal. "But there's another big climate change issue that doesn't get as much attention as wildfires and hurricanes — you might say it's the No. 2 issue." That's right: sewage.

Instead of boring viewers with "the effects of climate change that everybody knows about," Trevor Noah said at The Daily Show, he focused on "how all the major effects trickle down into a lot of weird little effects that you may not know about," like all-female sea turtle populations, the Taliban's rise, space junk, and more violence and less sex.

The Late Show had a solution of sorts for the sex part.

The Late Late Show's James Corden and Late Night's Seth Meyers started their shows together. 

Corden assured his viewers that "we're not going to hammer you with scary stories" but rather "focus on some positive, inspirational news stories about how people and companies are stepping up and rising to the occasion to confront this climate challenge." He also spoke with Bill Gates to get his solutions. 

Meyers focused on the politics of climate change, notably the dual infrastructure bills in Congress, and rewrote Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire."

The Tonight Show phoned it in. "Some people are sad that summer's over," Jimmy Fallon said, "but good news: Thanks to climate change, it's not." He also interviewed Dr. Jane Goodall about her plan to fight climate change by planting trees.