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Halloween Hangover: Hansen, Holdren, and McKibben (spooky science on display)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- November 2, 2015

Another Halloween has come and gone. But the Malthusian virus of doom-and-gloom toward self-interested, voluntary choice rages on.  The neo-Malthusians may now concede that we are not running out of resources, but the new line is that we cannot mine and burn what we know we have because we are running out of climate.

More can be added to this list, but the ‘big three’ of today’s alarmism are climate scientist James Hansen, Obama’s science advisor John Holdren, and deep ecologist and founder of 350.org, Bill McKibben. Some quotations follow:

James Hansen

“We have at most ten years—not ten years to decide upon action, but ten years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions.”

-James Hansen, 2006. “The Threat to the Planet.” New York Times Review of Books

“We cannot afford to put off [climate policy] change any longer. We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead.”

– James Hansen, 2009. “President ‘has four years to save Earth’“, The Guardian. January 17.

“If we cannot stop the building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains—no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species.”

-James Hansen (2007), Testimony before the Iowa Utilities Board, October 22.

John Holdren

“As University of California physicist John Holdren has said, it is possible that carbon-dioxide climate-induced famines could kill as many as a billion people before the year 2020.”

– Paul Ehrlich, “Machinery Of Nature,” Simon & Schuster, 1986.

 “Some form of ecocatastrophe, if not thermonuclear war, seems almost certain to overtake us before the end of the [twentieth] century.”

– John Holdren and Paul Ehrlich, “What We Must Do, and the Cost of Failure,” in Holdren and Ehrlich, Global Ecology (1971), p. 279.

“The Planetary Regime might be given responsibility for determining the optimum population for the world and for each region and for arbitrating various countries’ shares within their regional limits. Control of population size might remain the responsibility of each government, but the Regime would have some power to enforce the agreed limits.”

– Paul Ehrlich, Anne Ehrlich, and John Holdren, Ecoscience: Population, Resources, and Environment (1977), 942-43.

If population control measures are not initiated immediately, and effectively, all the technology man can bring to bear will not fend off the misery to come.”

– John Holdren and Paul Ehrlich, “Population And Panaceas: A Technological Perspective,” BioScience, December 1, 1969.

“[I]t is fair to conclude that under almost any assumptions, the supplies of crude petroleum and natural gas are severely limited. The bulk of energy likely to flow from these sources may have been tapped within the lifetime of many of the present population.”

– John P. Holdren and Philip Herrera, Energy: A Crisis in Power (1971), p. 29.

Bill McKibben

“Given this hard math, we need to view the fossil-fuel industry in a new light. It has become a rogue industry, reckless like no other force on Earth. It is Public Enemy Number One to the survival of our planetary civilization.”

— Bill McKibben, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” Rolling Stone, July 19, 2012.

“We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn. We’d have to keep 80 percent of those reserves locked away underground to avoid that fate.”

— Bill McKibben, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” Rolling Stone, July 19, 2012.

“Since all of us are in some way the beneficiaries of cheap fossil fuel, tackling climate change has been like trying to build a movement against yourself – it’s as if the gay-rights movement had to be constructed entirely from evangelical preachers, or the abolition movement from slaveholders.”

— Bill McKibben, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” Rolling Stone, July 19, 2012.

“There’s not a more reckless man on the planet than [Rex] Tillerson [of Exxon Mobil].”

— Bill McKibben, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” Rolling Stone, July 19, 2012.

“In December, BP finally closed its solar division. Shell shut down its solar and wind efforts in 2009. The five biggest oil companies have made more than $1 trillion in profits since the millennium – there’s simply too much money to be made on oil and gas and coal to go chasing after zephyrs and sunbeams.”

— Bill McKibben, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” Rolling Stone, July 19, 2012.

“I don’t think everyone can live a middle class American lifestyle all over the world, including middle class Americans,”

— Bill McKibben, 2011 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6ErZa1comw.

“Go outside: try to understand that the sun beating down, the rain pouring down, the wind blowing by are all now human artifacts. We don’t live on the planet we were born on.  We live on a new, poorer, simpler planet, and we continue to impoverish it with every ounce of oil and pound of coal that we burn.”

– Bill McKibben “The End of Nature,” New York Times, September 4, 1999, p. A25.

One Comment for “Halloween Hangover: Hansen, Holdren, and McKibben (spooky science on display)”

  1. Ray  

    The Malthusians are always wrong but they never stop telling us we are doomed.

    A most famous study into doomsday predictions was published in 1956 by psychologist Leon Festinger and his colleagues in a book titled When Prophecy Fails. A cult called the Seekers had made the papers by predicting that a flood was coming to destroy the West Coast. When the destruction failed to occur as predicted, the Seekers responded by proselytizing with renewed vigour.

    According to Festinger, they resolved the intense conflict between reality and prophecy by seeking safety in numbers. “If more people can be persuaded that the system of belief is correct, then clearly, it must, after all, be correct.”


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