Tuesday, April 9

Trevor Noah: Putin has ‘shined a spotlight’ on fossil fuel dependency | Late night TV roundup

Trevor Noah

On Wednesday’s Daily Show, Trevor Noah examined why the European Union would be unable to join a US boycott of Russian energy imports. “While America is able to go cold turkey on Russian oil, Europe is hooked,” I explained. The EU gets 40% of its gas and a quarter of its oil from Russia, “which is why they couldn’t join this boycott even if they wanted to.”

The arrangement gives Russia leverage, and Vladimir Putin is using it by threatening to cut off Europe’s gas supply. “You see, you can’t go too hard after the country that makes it possible for you to survive winter,” Noah noted. “That’s why Europe always has to pepper its denunciations of Russia with like the occasional compliment – ​​’this war in Ukraine is as inexcusable as Tchaikovsky’s music is unforgettable, huh?’”

But it’s a two-way street, I continued. “Sure, Europe needs Russian oil, but Russia needs Europe’s money. I mean, what else do they have to offer? It’s not like they’re going to fund a war by selling cabbage soup.”

“So both sides of this relationship are in a game of chicken and nobody knows who’s going to give,” he added. What is clear is that Europe and the US shouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. “Putin has shined a spotlight on the trade-offs that dependency on fossil fuels creates,” said Noah.

“If countries want to move to renewable energy or safe nuclear power, they can no longer afford to make that, like, item number 10 on the agenda,” he concluded. “Because not only will the planet suffer, but you’ll find yourself constantly having to make deals with the devil.”

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seth meyers

On Late Night, Seth Meyers also tore into the devil’s bargain of US fossil fuel dependence. In response to Russia’s escalation of its invasion of Ukraine, Biden announced a ban on all Russian energy imports, “which might make this a good time to pause and acknowledge how insane it is that we continue to buy oil from brutal regimes like Russia and Saudi Arabia,” Meyers noted.

The ban would only send the US to buy oil from other brutal dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, Meyers explained. “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could generate our own clean energy through renewable sources like wind and solar instead of begging murderous crazy people not to gouge us? Then at least we wouldn’t have to watch another US president hold a weird glowing orb or do a sword dance with Saudi royals like he’s auditioning for a non-flipping role in Cirque du Soleil,” he said over photos of Trump’s fawning visit to Saudi Arabia.

Energy independence through domestic, renewable production would be “so much better for so many obvious reasons”, Meyers added, including the fact that it would take power away from repressive oil-based dictatorships. “Right now they have far too much power over both global and domestic politics,” he said, pointing to record-high gas prices.

“The numbers are so shocking that I drove by a station that had ‘viewer discretion advised’ on the sign,” he quipped. But while some Republicans have blamed the prices on Biden, Meyers pointed to oil company profits, which surged to $174bn in 2021. “Maybe they could use some of that money to lower gas prices instead of stock buybacks or shooting glossy commercials full of healthy -looking sea turtles,” he said.

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Stephen Colbert

And on the Late Show, Stephen Colbert took stock of Russia’s financial future after the credit rating agency Fitch downgraded Russian securities to a C rating. The change reflected their view that “a sovereign default is imminent”.

“Russia is about to lose everything and crash with a buddy, I guess,” said Colbert. “Belarus better have a big couch, because without a credit rating, the only way they can pay their debt is by having a garage sale at Lenin’s tomb. Every pickled corpse must go.”

As a new Iron Curtain appears evermore imminent, Russians are hoarding items from Ikea, H&M and Zara before they become “relics of a bygone era”, according to the Washington Post. “It’s amazing that they think anything from H&M will last long enough to become a relic,” joked Colbert.

Several US companies are shutting down operations in the country, including McDonald’s. “And with the golden arches closing down, Russians are going to have to settle for their local chain: McDostoevsky’s, home of their kids meal, the Box of Sadness,” Colbert quipped.

Coca-Cola and Pepsi also announced suspensions of business in Russia; Coke is suspending all operations, while PepsiCo said it would continue to sell potato chips and some daily essentials such as milk, cheese and baby formula. “To which Russian babies said: are you sure you don’t have Coke?” Colbert riffed.


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