In three recent episodes of Tucker Carlson Tonight, the host attempted to reduce a series of complex global conflicts and unrest to one cause: climate policy.
On July 7, Carlson used the Dutch farmers protests to spread misinformation about climate action. On July 11, he blamed the economic crisis that is driving revolt in Sri Lanka on the Green New Deal. The following evening, on July 12, Carlson launched into a nearly 20 minute monologue that once again tied those events and more to a single cause: climate action.
In order to achieve this feat, Carlson is relying on misinformation and the network's tried and true villains, like congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and the Green New Deal, while debuting the right’s latest bogeyman, ESG (ESG, which stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance, are a set of standards that investors can use to guide investments in companies or national economies). All of which are — according to Carlson and others in the right-wing mediasphere — entwined in a plot by a cabal of global elites to control every aspect of our lives.
Carlson falsely claims that countries around the globe are collapsing because of climate action
During the July 12 edition of Tucker Carlson Tonight, Tucker wove together a narrative that suggested that so-called ideologues like AOC and “woke” investment firms are working hand and glove to force Green New Deal policies on poor countries, leading to their demise.
Tucker began his monologue with a bizarre ad hominem attack on AOC. After a clip of the congresswoman accurately articulating the incompatibility between a thriving fossil fuel industry and a livable planet, which she notes “is not a political opinion, that is the science. We continue to burn fossil fuels, our planet will become inhabitable [uninhabitable],” Carlson responded to the clip by mockingly declaring: “Whatever I say, is the science. There is no debate here. Obey!”
On July 7, Carlson used a similar narrative to frame the protests in the Netherlands, claiming, “Nothing is more effective for the left globally than climate politics. ‘It’s an existential crisis: we’re all gonna die unless you obey and make us more powerful.’”
Carlson’s implication is that the climate crisis is manufactured to coax countries into implementing climate policies and leftist leaders, rather than a real threat. His July 12 monologue went on to misrepresent the popularity of the Green New Deal and voter support for climate action, suggesting that voters don’t care about the climate crisis and don’t support policies to address it.
Notably, Carlson ignores the role Fox has played in toxifying the Green New Deal before insisting that its failure in the U.S., “Doesn't mean that ideologues can't impose the Green New Deal on weaker countries that are too poor to refuse it. And over the past several years, that is exactly what they have done. So the Green New Deal has actually taking effect around the world. So we don't have to guess about what would happen if it took effect here. We can know. That's science”.
While holding up the Netherlands and Sri Lanka as examples of countries that have been harmed by climate action, as he did in his previous episodes, Carlson used his July 12 monologue to add Ghana and other countries to the list of countries he claims are being ruined by climate policies like the Green New Deal and ESG.
Carlson claimed that electricity outages last year and more recent power, water and food shortages in parts of the country are a direct result of actions Ghana has taken to limit its emissions, particularly in its agricultural sector. But just like Sri Lanka, which Carlson equates with Ghana, the factors underlying shortages in Ghana are far more complex and varied then he suggests.
Like Sri Lanka, Ghana has been impacted by global food and fuel market disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine. Moreover, the power supply and related water issues experienced by the Ashanti region in Ghana, which Carlson pointed to as proof that climate action was impoverishing the country, are not the result of lack of supply, but rather the result of infrastructure and local governance issues, and the water supply has reportedly also been further compromised by “illegal mining and drilling activities.”
Carlson advances the conservative campaign against ESG
Carlson further suggests that countries like Ghana are adopting green policies, not just under pressure from elites, but under duress. That is, they are driven by the need for a high ESG score, without which the country would lose valuable investment from financial institutions:
“Everything that has happened in Ghana, Sri Lanka and the Netherlands is happening at the behest not simply of idealouges but by some of the largest financial institutions in the world…they want more of this. It is why Ghana has achieved a near perfect ESG…score of 97.7.”
Carlson first planted this seed during the July 11 segment on Sri Lanka, calling ESG “the latest fad on Wall Street.” His guest Peter Earle, a member of the Koch-funded American Institute for Economic Research, claimed “What you see here is what is really happening in a lot of places, which is where you have ideologies, and in particular woke ideologies, replacing prices and markets.”
ESG, which stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance, describes criteria that companies, and in this case countries, can meet by developing initiatives and disclosures to appear responsive to environmental concerns and other pressing social issues, in order to draw investment from financial institutions which consider environmental and social metrics in their decision making process.
ESG has increasingly been in the cross-hairs of the right, even spurring the launch of an explicitly anti-ESG asset management firm called Strive by biotech founder, conservative author, and right-wing political activist Vivek Ramaswamy.
After also identifying Sri Lanka and the Netherlands as having high ESG scores, Carlson goes on to say that, “The poorer you get, the more human suffering there is, the higher your ESG score.”
Aside from making a dangerous and false correlation, Carlson appears to be misrepresenting Ghana’s score, using instead the country's emissions index, which is just one variable that counts toward the “E” portion of the total ESG score.
To fit his narrative, Carlson rattles off a litany of examples of countries that have implemented climate policies to supposedly disastrous results, concluding with the warning that while America’s ESG score (which is actually the emissions index score) is low at 58, that could change if Biden is allowed to end fossil fuels, cautioning, “Fossil fuels are the only thing that stands between the United States becoming Ghana.”
To affirm his talking points on the Green New Deal and ESG as they relate to current global conflicts, Carlson enlisted notorious climate denier Marc Morano, who is a staple of Fox News’ pro-fossil fuels programming, and also a proponent of the Great Reset conspiracy theory, which posits that global elites, mostly associated with members of the World Economic Forum (WEF), are using the climate crisis as a pretext to impose their global economic control on the masses.
Above increasingly shrill chyrons including one stating, “Green New Deal policies only bring blackouts, shortages and poverty,” Morano claimed that the “war on agriculture” by global institutions has been going on for years with “their goal to literally get us to eat insects and this lab-grown fake meat” by shutting down traditional farming in order to adhere to countries’ climate goals.
He later concludes, invoking the Great Reset conspiracy, that institutions like the WEF, along with politicians like John Kerry and companies that are signing on to corporate climate pledges, “believe that us, the unwashed masses, if left to our own devices, will create inequity, racism, environmental destruction, and the climate crisis, so they literally want to regulate, not just our farming, but every aspect of our lives.”
Morano’s final remarks echo comments from the July 7 segment on the protests in the Netherlands where fringe right-wing Dutch commentator Eva Vlaardingerbroek claimed that the policies that drove farmers into the streets in protest were part of a “globalist agenda” and “great reset by the government.” These guest appearances punctuate one of Carlson’s key lies to his audience: the climate crisis is manufactured to instill fear that in turn allows global elites to institute policies that take away your freedom.
What Tucker Carlson is doing is dangerous
More than just blatant climate denial and another cheap shot at actions intended to address the climate crisis, which he is no stranger to, Carlson is pointing to places that are experiencing societal collapse and major upheavals and telling his viewers that if we transition away from fossil fuels, the U.S. is next.
This is a dangerous inversion of reality, as climate scientists and sociologists are telling us that unless we transition away from fossil fuels, societal collapses and civil unrest driven by climate change will accelerate across the globe.