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On September 22, seven popular late-night talk shows put out one massive climate change awareness special. After Hurricane Ida, a rash of “unprecedented” Western fires, biblical proliferation of blood-sucking pests, fatal heatwaves, and an IPCC report that essentially says, “we’ll be lucky if we keep things to a merely challenging degree of warming” — this effort seems a bit like closing the stable door after the proverbial horse is 400 miles away. 

The “late” of late-night TV would seem to extend beyond its broadcast time to the timeliness of its subject matter.

Steve Bodow, the executive producer of this evening of entertainment, told CBS News that “laughing at a problem can help make the problem seem less intimidating — maybe even more solvable.” That is one approach. But is “less intimidating” the most helpful way to see the colossally complex project of evading planetary demise? You can’t really put bunny ears on it and pat it on the head.

One might also ask — and with reason — who is this for? Well, let’s start with numbers. A late-night talk show host in 2021 can expect an audience of around 3 mill... Read more

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