T.S. Eliot and Climate Change

This is a fun little riff from Steven Hayward, one of the authors of the Post-partisan paper.

I’m not sure who he means by the “climate establishment,” but this is a wickedly legitimate observation of the hardcore climate doom crowd:

The climate campaign establishment increasingly looks like its own self-contained and self-referential lunatic asylum, unable to exercise any self-restraint in finding positive proof of climate change in every weather surprise.

Whether you agree or not, you gotta admire a wonk who introduces poetry into the climate debate.

7 Responses to “T.S. Eliot and Climate Change”

  1. Jack Hughes says:

    Great find, Keith.
    The Real Climate team were pushing the “warming causes cooling” theory in this 14 December post. It’s a very plausible form of words – especially after a fortnight of heavy snow. And that’s the problem – they only highlight his study after the fact.
    Wonder why they didn’t highlight this theory in May 2010 when it was published ? It would have been more of a pre-diction then and less of a nostradumus.

  2. Eli Rabett says:

    Eliot, how appropriate:)
    What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
    Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
    You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
    A heap of broken images, where the sun beats
    And the dead tree given no shelter, the cricket no relief
    And the dry stone no sound of water.  Only
    There is shadow under this red rock
    Of course, there is always Barry Brook’s take on End of the Century
    “…Hansen’s bones are quiet at last,
    …No science disturbs the lucid line,
    For sun-scorched Earthers tune their thought
    To Offword Station ‘Holocene-1’
    From where they know just what they ought,
    …memories of times past that should be banished
    Only relics, philosophies and a parched wasteland lie below…”
    Eli loves it when the proponents of Newscience try their hands at peotry.

  3. Gavin says:

    #1 I would suggest you actually read the post before declaring that RC is ‘pushing’ anything. To be clear, I don’t think that there is any convincing evidence that cold weather in Europe is increasing, let alone as a consequence of global warming. All definitive claims to the contrary are extremely unwise.

  4. Jonathan Gilligan says:

    Why do you take Hayward’s essay seriously? Yes, he turns a pithy phrase, but his argument is a complete dog’s breakfast.
    He cites journalistic accounts of statements by nonscientists (e.g., prostitution and climate change) as though they represented mainstream scientific predictions.  He mixes up regional weather with global climate (England is not, in fact, a proxy for the global average temperature; nor are a couple of seasons’ weather sufficient to say anything about long-term climate trends). And he presents Judah Cohen as representative of mainstream climate science without noting that Revkin featured a sharp criticism of Cohen’s work by Kevin Trenberth. So did you really think there was enough substance in that essay to be worth your calling attention to it, or are you just grabbing, like a magpie, at anything shiny?
    Eliot is fine, but this makes me think more of the Scottish play: long on soundbites and fury, but not much significance.

  5. Keith Kloor says:


    You read too much into my post. I was amused by his T.S. Eliot reference (I like poetry) and I highlighted the one passage from his essay that I thought was a fair criticism.

    For 2011, you can expect to see many more short posts mixed in with the longer ones. Finally, just because I link to something doesn’t mean I endorse or approve of all the content. Rather, it’s what I might highlight from a given post or article that I hope folks would pay more attention to–and criticize me for, if they disagree with it.

  6. Eli Rabett says:

    Jonathan, if you followed Eli’s link, you would find Eric (?) Blair’s thoughts on all this
    “…By the year 2050 – earlier probably – all real knowledge of Oldscience will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Evolution, climate science, vaccinations – they’ll exist only in Newscience versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually changed into something contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of Oldscience will disappear. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like “CO2 is life” if you don’t abolish the concept of reality? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Denialism means not thinking – not needing to think. Denialism is incoherence…”

  7. Eli Rabett says:

    Oh yes, Keith, given your #5, what do you think of Rabett Run?

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