Clive James Pours Poetic Scorn On Climate Fears

  • Date: 17/03/16
  • Kaya Burgess, The Times

Clive James has described concerns over climate change as “manufactured fright” in a new poem and says that environmental disaster, like his death, is yet to materialise.

The broadcaster and journalist said in 2012 that he was nearing death after being given a diagnosis of leukaemia and emphysema. In 2014 he started writing farewell poems, but joked a year later that he was “stuck with the embarrassment of still being alive”.

A new James poem, to be published tomorrow in the New Statesman, is entitled Imminent Catastrophe and discusses the theme of being left “awkwardly still lingering”.

It does so by drawing a comparison with the gravest consequences of climate change, which, in his opinion, are yet to be seen.

“The imminent catastrophe goes on,/ Not showing many signs of happening,” he writes. “The ice at the North Pole that should be gone/ By now, is awkwardly still lingering.

“And though sometimes the weather is extreme/ It seems no more so than when we were young/ Who soon will hear no more of this grim theme/ Reiterated in the special tongue/ Of manufactured fright.”

This year, the extent of Arctic sea ice dropped to its lowest level on record for January and also set a new low for February, according to glaciologists. James, 76, is understood to have thought carefully about publishing the poem, according to a source close to the broadcaster, because he knew it would cause controversy, including among personal acquaintances.

Full story

Recent Popular Articles

We use cookies to help give you the best experience on our website. By continuing without changing your cookie settings, we assume you agree to this. Please read our privacy policy to find out more.