In 1999, Jon Stewart took the helm of a struggling satirical news program called The Daily Show on Comedy Central and turned it into an 18-time Emmy Award-winning show—one that many viewers found more informative than traditional television news. During his tenure, with wit, humor, and a good number of dirty jokes, Stewart took complicated issues of the day and made sense of them for millions of viewers. To honor his work as he steps down, we’re taking a look at some of our favorite bits through the years on a topic close to our hearts: the politics of environmental science.
“That’s Thaw, Folks!” December 8, 1999
Back when he first started, climate change was a relatively new concept. When climatologists came out with a report warning that global warming was melting the polar ice caps, a super young-looking Stewart tackled the evidence while honing his trademark mix of depressing information and silly jokes.
“Be Cool” February 17, 2005
Six years later, a more confident Stewart can be seen holding the government’s feet to the coal-burning fire, as he covers the U.S.’ withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol, a global treaty designed to limit CO2 emissions.
“Happy Earth Day” April 24, 2006
The Daily Show made a point of covering Earth Day throughout the years. But during the second Bush Administration, many of Stewart’s pieces were particularly barbed. Watch here as he takes down former President George W. Bush for an Earth Day speech that didn’t exactly jibe with U.S. energy policy. Plus: an appearance by Captain Planet.
“Be Patient This Gets Amazing” June 25, 2008
In 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency was required to regulate greenhouse emissions—something the EPA is still struggling to do—and the Bush administration straight up refused to acknowledge the decision. Watch Stewart take on the issue in style.
“Scientists Hide Global Warming Data” December 1, 2009
One of the things Stewart did best was to cover drummed-up political controversies. In late 2009, leaked emails from a climate change research center gave global warming deniers fresh fuel for their argument. Stewart had none of it.
“An Energy Independent Future” June 16, 2010
Those who feared that Stewart wouldn’t be as hard on a Democratic president’s empty rhetoric were, thankfully, mistaken. Watch this great bit from 2010 as Stewart takes a hard (and hilarious) look at our country’s long, sorry history of clean energy promises.
“The Global Warming Hoax” January 6, 2014
One of things Stewart did best was to poke fun at the rest of the news media. The winter of 2014 was the coldest on record, which meant plenty of local news segments questioning the concept of global warming. Watch for his great reaction to a newscaster’s, err, odd comment, around the 1:40 mark.
“Deaf Party Jam” June 19, 2014
In the face of overwhelming evidence, some people just won’t listen. When a group of four Republican-appointed EPA administrators urged senators to take action on climate change, many still chose to deny the science. Stewart covered their responses and had us laughing while we cried on the inside.
“Burn Noticed” September 22, 2014
Last September saw 311,000 people gather in New York for the biggest climate-change march in history. Organized to coincide with a scheduled U.N. Climate Summit, the march was the brain child of more than 1,500 organizations gathered to urge world leaders to take action. Stewart covered the rally and lectured the GOP on principles of elementary-school science in one epic skit.
“Bye Bye Wordie & Resevoir Hogs” March 25, 2015
Even as he considered retiring, Stewart didn’t lose his edge. When the Florida state government banned its employees from using the terms “climate change” or “global warming,” you’d better believe he had something to say about it.