Speed Reads

Johnsplaining

John Oliver explains the Green New Deal, debunks cow-related myths, has Bill Nye curse, set the world on fire

If we're to save the Earth from a climate-related catastrophe in 21 years, we need to take drastic action, and one proposal getting discussed a lot is the Green New Deal, John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. "The Green New Deal has been famously polarizing. On one hand, all the senators running for president co-sponsored it; on the other hand, Republicans have been foaming at the mouth to criticize it for all the crazy provisions that they insist it contains," like bans on hamburgers and airplanes.

"The first thing to understand is that the Green New Deal doesn't even mention the word 'cows' or 'airplanes,'" or even "specific programs to fight climate change," Oliver explained. "It is a nonbinding resolution that very briefly sets out some extremely aggressive goals," and the whole thing "is just 14 pages long — that is, seven pages shorter than the menu for The Cheesecake Factory."

The Green New Deal's main proponent, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), rightly "admits the rollout of the Green New Deal was 'the biggest mistake' she's made in Congress," largely because she released a draft Q&A that contained what's "clearly supposed to be a joke" about getting rid of "farting cows and airplanes," Oliver said, thus allowing certain named "idiots to pretend the Green New Deal was all about hamburger-stealing."

"But while the rollout of this conversation has been bumpy, it is great that the Green New Deal has started one," Oliver said. "No one solution is going to be nearly enough" to combat climate change, and there are lots of ideas. Oliver focused on, and explained, carbon pricing. "Look, I know that this can all seem hopeless, especially under the current administration, but there are actually some small signs that the tide may be turning here," he said. Watch to the end to see "gritty reboot" Bill Nye drop F-bombs and set the world on fire. Peter Weber