DeSmog

‘CO2 is Life’: TalkTV Presenter Andre Walker Hosts YouTube Show That Spreads Climate Science Denial

A number of hosts on Murdoch-owned TalkTV have expressed opinions about climate change that ‘you would hear on Fox News’, experts say.
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TalkTV presenter Andre Walker in 2017. Credit: Aimee Valinski / Alamy

A TalkTV presenter co-hosts a YouTube show with the leader of a climate science denial group, on which he has called climate change a “paganistic religion” and said rising CO2 emissions will make the world “more green”. 

Andre Walker is a regular presenter at TalkTV – the channel launched by News UK in April 2022 – hosting several current affairs shows a week, including prime time fixtures “That Was the Woke that Was” and “Saturday Night Talkaway”. 

He has often used his TalkTV platform to attack climate policies, claiming last August that the UK’s net zero targets are “plunging people into poverty”. 

In his spare time, Walker presents “The Lois and Andre Show”, a fringe YouTube series with Lois Perry, who has said that she does not believe in man-made global warming. Perry is the director of CAR26, a pressure group which campaigns for more fossil fuel extraction and a Brexit-style referendum on net zero. 

This revelation comes as evidence mounts that climate misinformation is being spread by populist media platforms. In May, a DeSmog investigation found that one in three hosts on rival channel GB News spread climate science denial on air in 2022. Both GB News and TalkTV are facing probes by the broadcasting regulator Ofcom due to impartiality complaints.

Walker is not the only TalkTV host to have attacked climate action and science. DeSmog has found at least five other regular presenters who have cast doubt on climate science and criticised net zero policies in the past year, including two – Mike Graham and Richard Tice – who have appeared on CAR26 webinars. 

“Climate change denial has deadly real-world consequences, sowing confusion and undermining our ability to protect our civilisation and ensure a liveable future,” Richard Wilson of the Stop Funding Heat campaign told DeSmog. 

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading climate science body, has warned of false and misleading information which “undermines climate science and disregards risk and urgency” of cutting emissions. 

The Lois and Andre Show 

Walker has worked for TalkTV since its launch, having started at its sister station TalkRADIO in 2018.

His climate-focused YouTube show appears to be bankrolled by CAR26. On a 9 June episode, Walker said “thank you to CAR26 for sponsoring us”. He has promoted CAR26 merchandise – including badges saying “CO2 is life” and “there is no climate crisis” – on the show. 

Perry, a PR executive, is a regular guest on TalkTV, which had an average monthly reach of 1.7 million in May 2023. Perry has made at least seven appearances on TalkTV to date, using the platform on one occasion to say that: “I do not believe that man-made climate change is a thing.”

She has also appeared on Walker’s TalkTV shows at least twice this year as a pundit, including a March broadcast in which she criticised London’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ).

In the fourth episode of their YouTube show, on 9 June, Walker said of the climate movement: “I don’t want to sound like we’re conspiracy theorists but I just feel like it’s a paganistic religion and you have to destroy all your health, wealth and happiness in order to worship their gods.” 

In a 29 May episode, Walker said that drivers disrupted by climate protestors should be able to run them over. “We should allow people who are the victims of someone breaking the law to resolve it, so if you glue yourself to the M25, a lorry can run you over,” he said.

Later in the episode, when discussing a UN report about excess deaths caused by extreme weather over the past 50 years, Walker belittled the scale of lives at risk due to climate change.

“I mean two million over 50 years is not a large number,” he said. “That’s even if you believe it. But I’ll tell you what, the poverty being created throughout these countries is going to be far more significant.” 

In a 9 June episode, Walker spread false information about the impact of increased carbon emissions, saying: “Look, the Earth will respond, won’t it, so there’ll be more photosynthesis, so some areas will get more green as a result of CO2 and that will reduce the levels back down”. 

The IPCC has warned that climate change caused by increased CO2 emissions will put ecosystems and species, including plantlife, at risk of extinction. 

‘This Crazy Net Zero Thing’

Walker has also used his TalkTV platform to spread climate science denial.

In a June episode of “Saturday Night Talkaway”, discussing the UK’s record temperatures, Walker said sarcastically that “as we know, summer is not a real thing, it’s just climate change happening in June and July every year”. 

He went on to accuse a climate journalist of “blaming the heatwave on climate change”.

This contradicts established climate science. The IPCC has said it is “virtually certain” that human-caused CO2 emissions have increased the intensity and duration of heatwaves. 

Walker has also attacked the UK’s climate policies on TalkTV, saying on a 22 August show last year that he was “furious” about “this crazy net zero thing plunging people into poverty”. 

The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) think tank has reported that the inflated cost of gas, not net zero, is elevating energy prices and driving the cost of living crisis. “Higher wholesale gas prices over the past year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine… have cost the UK an additional £50-60 billion, equivalent to around £1,000 for every adult,” ECIU says.

Walker declined to comment on the record when contacted by DeSmog. CAR26 did not respond. 

Monetising Outrage

Walker is not the only TalkTV presenter who has attacked climate science and net zero policies. DeSmog found examples of at least five other regular presenters who have cast doubt on climate science in the past year – both on the channel and in posts on Twitter. 

In March, TalkTV host Mike Graham claimed on his show that the IPCC is not “fit for purpose because these are the people who keep getting everything wrong”. In 2020, he tweeted that “climate change is a load of old bollocks”. 

Julia Hartley-Brewer, another TalkTV host, has repeatedly used her show to mock warnings of record temperatures as “heatwave hysteria”. In May, she tweeted a video by the website Climate Debate UK, run by Ben Pile, claiming “there is no climate crisis” and calling the video “brilliant”. 

In March, she tweeted the IPCC’s landmark sixth assessment synthesis report on the state of climate change, and called it “climate change hysteria” and “utter nonsense”, adding “net zero is a DISASTER [sic] for humanity”. 

Hartley-Brewer declined to comment when contacted by DeSmog. 

In a TalkTV monologue in March, host Kevin O’Sullivan claimed that climate policies were based on “scientific majority consensus rather than any definite scientific proof that mankind is solely responsible for climate change”. In November, he promoted an open letter on Twitter signed by individuals who “don’t believe mankind is causing climate change”.

In a TalkTV broadcast in July 2022, host James Whale asserted that climate science is not settled and human action cannot change the climate. In December, he tweeted at climate activist Greta Thunberg: “You [talk] some rubbish, the climate has and will always change, and yes, mankind has an influence, but it cannot be controlled, stop telling people lies.” In May he tweeted that “net zero is bollocks”.

At least four hosts have either interviewed CAR26’s Lois Perry or have spoken at her events. Mike Graham has interviewed Lois Perry on TalkTV at least five times over the past year. He also interviewed Perry in 2021 from the COP26 climate summit, where she claimed she was ejected from the conference, though organisers said she left voluntarily.

Henry Peck, campaigner on digital threats at Global Witness, said: “Platforming climate misinformation fits into a familiar model of monetising outrage without regard to the consequences. 

“Our fight against climate change requires accurate reporting and urgent policy action, not profit-driven deception.”

Reform UK

TalkTV presenters Richard Tice and David Bull are leader and deputy leader of Reform UK, a right wing political party that opposes climate action and supports increased oil and gas exploration. 

In March 2022, Tice used his TalkTV platform to launch a campaign for a Brexit-style referendum on net zero, while he has repeatedly blamed inflation on net zero. Tice’s TalkTV “sunday sermon” monologue on 23 July was titled “there is no climate crisis”.  

Tice spoke on a CAR26 webinar in February 2022 while DeSmog revealed in October that he attended a fringe event at Conservative Party conference run by climate science denial group Net Zero Watch, the campaigning arm of the Global Warming Policy Foundation

Tice told DeSmog that “Climate change has existed for millions of years. The only deniers are those who believe climate change will suddenly stop if we get to net zero.” He added that the pursuit of net zero “is impoverishing the UK, is a major driver of inflation and low growth and making people poorer and colder.”

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), the state’s independent economic forecaster, has said that “The costs of failing to get climate change under control would be much larger than those of bringing emissions down to net zero”. The OBR has said that an “unmitigated warming scenario shows debt spiralling up to around 290 percent of GDP thanks to the cost of adapting to an ever hotter climate and of more frequent and more costly economic shocks.”

The IPCC has stated it is “unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land”.

Meanwhile, Tice’s deputy David Bull last month hosted a TalkTV segment called “the madness of net zero”. He began by saying: “I think all of us feel that the climate is changing and that we want to go to net zero”. He then went on to claim, of the UK’s record heatwave last year, “we don’t know whether that is a result of man-made emissions”. 

This contradicts the IPCC, the Met Office, and a study by the World Weather Attribution service that said the heatwave was made “at least 10 times more likely” by human-caused climate change. 

‘It’s Part of Their Model’ 

TalkTV is owned by News UK and forms part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, which includes other outlets that have promoted climate science denial, notably Fox News. 

Responding to DeSmog’s reporting, Allison Fisher, climate and energy program director for the US-based media watchdog Media Matters, said: “This is absolutely stuff you would hear on Fox News.” 

Platforms belonging to Murdoch’s media empire, “try to come off as reliable news media and proprietors of information,” she said. “Internally they have acknowledged climate change, they have tried to limit their exposure to climate change. I don’t think that they’re climate deniers.

“Despite that, because it’s part of their model that has been successful, they’re not going to rein in their personalities or their media. It’s too much of a winning combination for them.”

UK broadcast regulator Ofcom has told DeSmog that under its rules “any scientifically unsubstantiated claims must be handled with care and put properly into context – for example, by receiving adequate challenge – to ensure audiences are not misled.”

Richard Wilson from Stop Funding Heat called on Sky Media, which handles all advertising sales for GB News and TalkTV, to withdraw its support for the channels, which he said makes Sky “complicit in a renewed wave of climate denial that is putting all of our futures at risk.”

A Sky Media spokesperson said: “As both GB News and TalkTV are Ofcom regulated channels, we treat them the same way we approach advertising from any other regulator-approved client. Selling advertising space or advertising on a particular platform is not an endorsement of their views.”

TalkTV, Graham, O’Sullivan, and Whale did not respond to DeSmog’s requests for comment. 

Adam Barnett - new white crop
Adam Barnett is DeSmog's UK News Reporter. He is a former Staff Writer at Left Foot Forward and BBC Local Democracy Reporter.

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