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John Holdren Told “Not to Make News” at his Confirmation Hearing

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 12, 2009

Joe Romm at Climate Progress reports that:

Both [John Holdren and Jane Lubchenco] have been told not to make news [at their confirmation hearings], so it could be as boring as Energy Secretary Chu’s hearing.

My eight-part series  on Dr. Holdren’s energy-related views documents a troubled history of exaggeration and intolerance that deserves some hard (and unavoidably) embarrassing questions. We will know in a matter of hours if this turns out to be the case.

But also for the record, I would like to share a sampling of quotations from Holdren’s mentor, Paul Ehrlich, that reveals a totalitarian mindset that is part of the animus of  John Holdren towards the modern industrialism.

In fact, it would be interesting to recite some Ehrlich quotations at the hearing and ask Holdren if he agrees with his mentor.

Here is an Ehrlich sampling:

Giving society cheap energy at this point would be equivalent to giving an idiot child a machine gun.

–  Paul Ehrlich, “An Ecologist’s Perspective on Nuclear Power,” Federal Academy of Science Public Issue Report, May-June 1975, p. 5.

We can be reasonably sure … that within the next quarter of a century mankind will be looking elsewhere than in oil wells for its main source of energy. … We can also be reasonably sure that the search for alternatives will be a frantic one.

–  Paul and Anne Ehrlich, The End of Affluence, Rivercity Press,
Riverside, MA, 1974, 1975, p. 49.

Many of the conservation measures temporarily undertaken when the mini-crisis was in its acute stage – lowered speed limits, car-pools, reset thermostats, etc. – should be instituted on a permanent basis … In the long run, energy should be made expensive, especially for large users, as an incentive to conservation (emphasis added).

–  Ehrlich and Ehrlich, The End of Affluence, op. cit., p. 48.

Laws may well be passed strictly limiting the number of appliances a single family may possess.

– Paul Ehrlich and Richard Harriman, How to Be a Survivor
Rivercity Press, Rivercity, MA, 1971, 1975, p. 69.

Unnecessary lighting in offices and factories should … be banned.

–  Ehrlich and Ehrlich, The End of Affluence, p. 226.

It should immediately be made illegal to construct a building with windows which cannot be opened.

–  Ehrlich and Harriman, How to Be a Survivor, pp. 73–74.

Completely frivolous uses of power, such as gas yard lamps that are permanently lit, should be outlawed altogether.

–  Ehrlich and Ehrlich, The End of Affluence, p. 227.

Will the real John Holdren please stand up at the hearing?


  1. Ed Reid  

    What is the difference between being “told not to make news” and being told to conceal your beliefs, or to “lie” about them?

    Enquiring minds want to know.


  2. A Scientist  

    Gee, guilt by association? What garbage. How about asking Holdren about what HE thinks rather than throw quotes (most of them 30-40 years old) from someone else? I see why you’re afraid of someone like Holdren, who is a brilliant, real scientist. Heaven forbid the Executive branch actually get good unbiased advice for once on facts.


  3. rbradley  

    I have run a seven-part series with Holdren quotations, many of them written in conjunction with Paul Ehrlich. Dr. Ehrlich is unquestionably Holdren’s mentor, so I did not think it was unfair to share his mentality on MasterResource.

    Also, I have long urged Holdren to renounce any old quotations that he no longer believes in. He responded to me but not on this point (he was not interested in renouncing anything). I would invite Paul Ehrlich to also revisit his long record of exaggeration and hyperbole and “take out the garbage”.


  4. jae  

    ” Heaven forbid the Executive branch actually get good unbiased advice for once on facts.”

    Oh, come on, now, they have always had Hansen!


  5. Paddy  

    Scientist: One of the classical means of impeaching a witness is to confront him with prior inconsistent statements after he has lied or misrepresented himself. The witness then has a choice, to acknowledge either that his current statements or that his prior statements are false or misleading. Once a liar, always a liar.


  6. Demesure  

    “Holdren a brilliant, real scientist” ? Oh come on, Holdren has contributed nothing to real science when he was at Berkely and when he integrated Harvard, it was in a political “science” department.
    Like any serial doomer, he is a subprime scientist.


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