Just a week after the Supreme Court effectively gutted the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases in the United States, Fox’s leading prime-time hack Tucker Carlson hosted fringe right-wing Dutch commentator Eva Vlaardingerbroek, to spread transparent lies about the Dutch government implementing climate policy designed to reign in emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia from the agricultural sector by 2030.
According to Dutch government data, about “70 percent of the country’s surface area exceeds critical limits for nitrogen.” In Europe, nitrogen pollution has caused billions of euros in economic damages and has cascaded through environmental trophic levels, leading to the destruction of drinking water sources, soil health, and biodiversity. In the Netherlands, scientists have also reported decreased plant and species diversity in dunes, bogs, and heathlands.
Despite clear scientific evidence to the contrary, Carlson introduced the July 7 segment by insinuating a longtime right-wing narrative – climate change and its environmental protection policy solutions are nothing more than a sinister ruse by global elitists designed to “whip you into a panic” in order to demand obedience and increase political power. Referencing protests on July 5, during which Dutch police fired on farmers protesting plans to cut nitrogen emissions, Carlson warned his audience the United States could face similar turmoil if “we let them do it.” He later cautioned: “This is what climate activism actually looks like: men in uniform shooting at 16-year-olds.”
While Carlson claimed the emissions reductions would have the “effect of destroying agriculture in the Netherlands,” he failed to mention the Dutch government has earmarked billions of euros to help farmers transition through a voluntary program that offers various strategies to increase sustainability in farming, with only the “very last option” involving the “complete ‘buyout’ of the farmers involved.” Instead, Carlson employed a jingoistic red herring criticizing China’s and India’s use of fossil fuels that failed to account for developed countries’ disproportionate roles in climate change.
Carlson then brought on Vlaardingerbroek to baselessly claim that the Dutch government is “stealing our farmers’ land … under the guise of the made-up nitrogen crisis.” This is a clear lie fueled by years of denial of the climate’s impact on future economies. (A 2022 report from the World Economic Forum estimated that climate inaction would cost $178 trillion over the next 50 years.) Vlaardingerbroek then returned to her nativist tendencies to claim the emissions reduction is designed to push farmers off their land to “house new immigrants,” subtly encouraging anti-immigrant sentiments.
The pair then pivoted to a recent favorite narrative of Carlson, suggesting that climate activism and President Joe Biden’s policies around the war in Ukraine are pushing us toward food shortages and a global famine. Carlson further suggested that the resulting American climate policies would increase food prices. Vlaardingerbroek enthusiastically agreed, saying Dutch citizens understand “no farmers, no food.” Yet, Carlson and Vlaardingerbroek ignored scientific evidence that demonstrates the opposite as true: Climate change has already impacted our food and drinking supply. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2019 Special Report on Climate Change and Land projects an increase of up to 183 million additional people at risk of hunger due to climate change impacts.
The urgency to implement climate mitigation strategies comes not from power-hungry global elitists craving control, but from climate scientists who have warned for decades that unless immediate action is taken, irreversible environmental consequences will impact every aspect of daily lives -- including American and Dutch.