Amusing Monday: Colbert has fun with Trump’s climate views

I’m not a regular viewer of Stephen Colbert’s “The Late Show,” so I wasn’t aware of how much he talks about climate change in his monologues and intros until I began reviewing video clips of the show.

Colbert especially likes to joke about the Trump administration’s management of climate change — or should I say the administration’s apparent desire for the subject to just go away.

Last week, Colbert lambasted the appointment of William Happer to head a committee formed to determine whether climate change poses a threat to national security. Happer is a physicist who has no formal training in climate science, although he served as director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science under the George HW Bush administration.

Happer’s claim to fame has been his assertion that global warming is largely a natural phenomenon and that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is really a good thing.

“The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler,” he told CNBC in 2014, a comment that did not go unnoticed by Colbert.

If Happer didn’t seem so serious about all this, he might have a career as a comedian, considering his colorful use of language. Bess Levin of Vanity Fair rounded up several of his other comments, including this quote from Climate Depot: “If plants could vote, they would vote for coal.”

If you’d like to dig deeply into Happer’s beliefs, check out the article he wrote called “The Truth about greenhouse gases” in “First Things” along with a rebuttal in Climate Science & Policy Watch by Michael MacCracken of the Climate Institute.

Sorry, I’m getting off the track. My intention here in this “Amusing Monday” piece is to share some of the many Colbert clips about climate change. Besides the videos on this page, I’ve embedded links to other videos in the text below. Check out this cartoon intro that describes Trump’s climate change committee as a hapless group of superheroes.

With all the hubbub surrounding the Green New Deal, Colbert presents another cartoon showing Kermit the Frog singing the song, “It’s not easy being green” with words relevant to the current topic (second video on this page).

Rather than shy away from science issues, Colbert may take time to explain things in a somewhat accurate way before going off on funny tangents. Other times, he just makes fun of what Trump himself says about climate and weather, as in the third video above.

When a draft of the government report was leaked to the press in 2017, Colbert wondered in a three-minute monologue whether secret weather reports would be next, especially in light of a directive from the Department of Agriculture calling on its employees to stop using the term “climate change.”

In a cartoon featuring Frosty the Snowman, Frosty says he stands with President Trump when it comes to climate and weather. “Relax Snowflake,” Frosty tells a little girl, “you’re just brainwashed by the liberal media” — and then he melts away.

During the recent cold snap in the Midwest, Colbert effuses about Trump’s recent tweet: “What the hell is going on with Global Waming (sic)? Please come back fast, we need you!” If Trump actually believed in climate change, his comment might have been funny at one time. This discussion took up the first two minutes and 20 seconds of Colbert’s monologue.

When the president denied being a climate denier in an interview with 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl, Colbert took him to task during the first 50 seconds of a monologue from October.

Back when the president announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, designed to reduce the worldwide production of greenhouse gases, Colbert produced a satiric video (above) called “Planet Earth 2025” in which he portrays the voice of David Attenborough.

In the last video on this page (starting at 2 minutes), Colbert ridicules Trump for his ambivalence about climate change and his claim of having a “natural instinct for science.”

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