Saying goodbye to 2023

and saying goodbye to Substack's Nazi bar

Substack’s leadership supports (literal) Nazis and white nationalists. To help Hill Heat leave this Nazi bar, please consider a contribution to help us cover the costs of setting up on a new publisher.


In 2023, Hill Heat has published 170 posts, including this one. And that’s all thanks to our many great subscribers.

We’ve published 39 entries in the United States Climate Politics Almanac, which includes weekly overviews of Congressional climate hearings, analysis of electoral politics, and in-depth reviews of climate policy. But that’s not all: the 40th entry this year, coming soon, will look ahead at climate politics in 2024.

Now, I’d like to talk about the year in review, from East Palestine to our scorching summer, from the fall of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to the rise of hydrogen hype. Or even better, I could share some hot Reykjanes volcanic action:

But instead, I’ve got to talk about the extreme right.

Post number 169, the one preceding this, is special, about the publishing software used by Hill Heat: Substack. Unfortunately, the leadership of the company, while claiming to have guidelines against “hate” to “protect the platform at the extremes,” actively supports neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Since the above open letter is to the people who run Substack—Chris Best, Hamish McKenzie, and Jairaj Sethi, we’ve only posted it online.

Here, let’s talk about Substack and climate!

Substack is a major publisher of top climate journalism but also of climate denial propaganda — as you can see by visiting their leaderboard of “Top Climate & Environment publications.”

On that leaderboard, the top four are two excellent newsletters, Emily Atkin’s Heated and Bill McKibben’s Critical Years; and two climate tech podcasts, David Roberts’s Volts and Jason Jacobs’s My Climate Journey. That’s great!

But then you start hitting the climate deniers: Tim Casperson’s The Hotshot Wake Up, which mixes advocacy for wildfire fighters with climate denial, the notorious Roger Pielke Jr.’s Honest [sic] Broker, and the white supremacist Alex Epstein’s Energy Talking Points are all top-ten Substack publications. The racist Matthew Wielicki’s Irrational Fear is the 24th most profitable newsletter, and there are more. The management at Substack isn’t simply neutral—Casperson has been promoted by Substack.

These propagandists are a key part of the eco-fascist political project, the hard-right effort to protect fossil-fuel power by denying global warming while at the same time blaming its victims. The hallmark move is tying carbon capitalism to virulent ethno-nationalism. Earlier this year, we discussed how Tucker Carlson mastered the eco-fascist narrative at Fox News, but his wannabes are also here on Substack.

Arguably, Substack’s emphasis on the long-form written word is a weakness for climate deniers, as opposed to platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (X), and YouTube. (Though it may remain strongest in television, print, and radio, thanks to Rupert Murdoch, Stub Hubbard, and other hard-right media tycoons, as well as the endless waves of fossil-fueled greenwashing in mainstream corporate media.)

There are many great writers on the platform, and if it weren’t for the actual Nazis, I’d be more than willing to tough it out here. But, actual Nazis!

Here’s my first resolution for 2024: migrating Hill Heat away from the Substack platform. The costs should be manageable but definitely won’t be zero. Our only income comes from those of you who upgrade to a paid subscription. But Substack takes a cut if you are a paid subscriber to Hill Heat, which isn’t great! So in the meantime I’ve set up a GoFundMe site that will keep your money out of Substack’s coffers. If you value this work and don’t like Nazis, please consider a contribution to our Leaving Substack Fund today:

Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word. Let’s make 2024 a brighter year, no matter the storms ahead. Connect with me@[email protected], @climatebrad on Threads, and on BlueSky

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