Flashback 1975: Holdren Says Real Threat to USA Is Cheap Energy

I see that Climate Depot are having a bit of fun at the moment doing a round-up of John Holdren’s bizarre pronouncements, so I thought I join in by reminding us all of Holdren’s bizarre 1975 essay on the perils of cheap energy.

The essay appeared in The Windsor Star of August 1975 under the title Too Much Energy, Too Soon, A Hazard and was an attack personally penned by Holdren against the idea of trying to provide plentiful, cheap energy for the future. This, he said, would be totally the wrong move, and begins his article by handing down the following warning:

The United States is threatened far more by the hazards of too much energy, too soon, than by the hazards of too little energy, too late.

The Windsor Star. Aug. 1975. Too Much Energy, Too Soon, A Hazard.

Of course – all those foolish people worrying about what they’d do if the aging power stations weren’t replaced should’ve been worrying about too much cheap, plentiful energy. We all know how dangerous that can be, right? Holdren lists some of these dangers as:

. . . diverting financial resources from compelling social needs, making hasty commitments to unproved technologies, and generating environmental and social costs that harm human welfare more than the extra energy improves it.

And it doesn’t get much clearer than that, I’m afraid, not least because there’s not really much of an argument here to start with. Holdren’s basic position, I think, is that rather than investing in silly things like power stations and infrastructure, the nation should be investing in social goods like modern dance workshops and radical art seminars that are a real investment for the future.

What, for example, can we make of the following warning?

Mounting evidence suggests that the United States is approaching (if not beyond) the level where further energy growth costs more than it is worth.

Don’t forget, Holdren was writing this in 1975, not 2011. Too much energy in 1975? I guess that must’ve been why Jimmy Carter was wearing the sweater in the White House then and talking about “malaise”. The good old days.

Now pay attention, because after the waffle of the first few paragraphs of his article, Holdren starts to reveal his real animus towards modern America (as it then was). He is aware that people will think his ideas smack of “primitivism” but fires back that this sort of objection is just what you would expect of a decadent capitalist society:

In a society that uses its 5,000 pound automobiles for half-mile round trips to the market to fetch a six-pack of beer, consumes the beer in buildings that are overcooled in summer and overheated in winter, and then throws the aluminum cans away at an energy loss equivalent to a third of a gallon of gasoline per six-pack, this “primitive existence” argument strikes me as the most offensive kind of nonsense.

Elitist? Not at all. All Holdren is demanding is that you walk to the organic fruit and veg farmer’s market to buy your carrot juice, refrain from heating your own home in winter, or turning the air-con in summer and recycle everything.

But if even that doesn’t convince you, then hang on, because Holdren has a killer argument that he has saved until last: less energy means more jobs  -

Finally, less energy can mean more employment. The energy producing industries comprise the most capital intensive and least labour intensive major sector of the economy. Accordingly, each dollar of investment capital taken out of energy production and invested in something else, and each personal consumption dollar saved by reduced energy use and spent elsewhere in the economy will create more jobs than are lost.

Hey, it makes perfect sense when you’re John Holdren. This is the guy, don’t forget who forecasted a jump in temperature for the United States of ten degrees if Co2 doubled from the pre-industrial average.

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17 responses to “Flashback 1975: Holdren Says Real Threat to USA Is Cheap Energy

  1. Did anyone else see this article? It’s enough to give Holdren nightmares!

    “In the pipeline, green ‘petrol’ at 19p a litre.

    Artificial petrol that costs 19p per litre could be on forecourts in as little as three years.

    British scientists are refining the recipe for a hydrogen-based fuel that will run in existing cars and engines at the fraction of the cost of conventional petrol.

    With hydrogen at its heart rather than carbon, it will not produce any harmful emissions when burnt, making it better for the environment, as well as easier on the wallet.

    The first road tests are due next year and, if all goes well, the cut-price ‘petrol’ could be on sale in three to five years.”

    Apparently, the AA spokesperson isn’t too impressed. “The fact the hydrogen is cheaper now doesn’t mean it always will be because the Govenment would soon get its hand on it and increase the tax.”

    They giveth, and then they taketh away………..

    • 19p? They’re talking about some polymer nano particle coated with hydrogen? For 19p a liter? Fantasy. Producing the hydrogen alone is way more expensive than gasoline.

      • I thought it sounded like an April fool’s joke, but I googled it after I read the article (never take anything at face value!), and some seem to be taking it seriously.

        We’ll see I suppose…….

      • Well, in Britain, the tax component of the petrol price is about eighty per cent of the total, so the government would probably still ensure that we were paying a quid for every nineteen pence worth of fuel. The tricky bit for them, though, would be justifying that on ecological grounds.

        Like you, though, I’ll believe it when I see it.

  2. Mervyn Sullivan

    You only have to watch YouTube clips of John Holdren to get a fair idea of what he stands for. I’m simply stunned that this man is Obama’s Science Czar. How has it come to pass… that such a great nation as the USA has managed to end up with a character like John Holdren in such an influencial position? Doesn’t anyone screen people like Holdren anymore, before they can be appointed to high office?

    Holdren calls himself a scientist. Rather, he comes over more as a High Priest of the “Church of Man-Made Global Warming”… preaching from the “fools-gold standard” bible in climate science (the IPCC’s 2007 Report)… preaching propaganda rather than science… blaming human beings for climate catastrophies and God knows what else.

    Seriously … could John Holdren be suffering from a mental health problem?

  3. I am reminded of a very shrewd remark I read on an American blog. It said that the Left had the cart all packed and ready to roll many years ago. All it was waiting for was the horse to pull it. Then along came ‘global warming’…

    Holdren’s blathering reinforces the point.

  4. Some people are sociopaths who love to see people suffer. One option for such people is to become a serial killer, but it requires personal effort and risk. Since Hitler and Stalin are dead, the best option is to become a Green.

  5. The man is a certifiable nutter . . . so he’s perfect for Obozo’s Cabinet.

  6. “In a society that uses its 5,000 pound automobiles for half-mile round trips to the market to fetch a six-pack of beer”

    The Green’s favorite straw man, also used very often by German greens. What they should be saying is, because that’s how people really use their cars in not-absolutely-necessary-ways is: “In a society that uses its 2,000 pound automobiles just to drive downtown and have some fun on a night out”.

    But then, people would recognize them for the spoil-funs they are.

  7. What I always find so interesting is the same suspects who are consistently proven wrong are looked to by the pseudo-intelligentsia for the next series of answers. This behavior is almost sub-human in its demonstrated inability to learn from experience.

    http://libertyatstake.blogspot.com

    “Because the Only Good Progressive is a Failed Progressive”

  8. “Don’t forget, Holdren was writing this in 1975, not 2011. Too much energy in 1975? I guess that must’ve been why Jimmy Carter was wearing the sweater in the White House then and talking about “malaise”. The good old days.”

    Actually, 1975 was before Carter took office. The irony is that by comparison, when he was President, 1975 really was the good old days.

  9. John Holdren: Yet another waste of perfectly good money and cheap fuel…

  10. “Too much energy in 1975?”
    That was two years AFTER the oil embargo which damaged many counties.

    google: 1973 oil crisis

    thanks
    jk

  11. Pingback: Flashback 1975: Holdren Says Real Threat to USA Is Cheap Energy | Global Warming Skeptics

  12. Holdren’s real nightmare is already here as a Cold Fusion LENR device that is working and is called e-cat. This device is going to be introduced in the coming months on the market. A 1 Megawatt demonstration is planned in this month.
    Soon we can say goodbye to oil, coal, nuclear, wind and solar power stations and use Cold Fusion devices instead.
    Cheap clean abundant energy is not what the greenies want.

    Test was made on 6 of Oct see it here http://www.ecat.com/

  13. Holdren reminds me of the kind of person I used to go around or run over to develop my inventions. He’s a moron without vision or belief in unlimited resources inherent in human ingenuity which will ALWAYS find solutions to resource issues. He is an obstacle for human progress.

  14. I can understand Holdren’s point of view. Cheap energy has had detrimental effects on the economies of some countries, Nigeria is probably the worst case.

    But the USA is not Nigeria. The USA is the leader of the world’s democracies, or was the leader until recently.

    What I fail to comprehend is how a person with such beliefs as Holdren’s can rise to a position of influence in the USA.

    1) In his 1975 piece reported here, Holdren all but ignored the risk to the US of being held to ransom by an energy cartel. (The first oil crisis had already occurred.)

    2) Holdren was soon proved wrong by the second oil crisis only a few years later. The long interest rate (Treasury bonds) in the US rose to 14%. For the 12 years from 1971 to 1983 dollar inflation averaged almost 8%.

    [The US long-term inflation rate averages about 3%, which means that inflation during those 12 years were equivalent to 30 years "normal" inflation.]

    One dollar in 1983 could buy a bit more than 40 cents worth of 1971 goods and services. Did Holdren not realize what hardship this caused to the retired middle class, to working people who did not have job tenure? Did he not understand the economic impacts at all?

    By his own words Holdren has shown that he is driven ideology and not by the best interests of the American people.

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