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The Great Energy Resource Debate (Part II: Neo-Malthusian Alarmism)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 13, 2011

[Editor note: The other posts in this series are The Great Energy Resource Debate (Part I: Peak Oil was … is here!) and The Great Energy Resource Debate (Part III: Pessimists Turn Optimistic!). Part IV will look at the theoretical case for resource expansionism in light of the preceding posts.]

[Editor note: Part I


“All oil and gas resources should be carefully husbanded—i.e. extracted as late and as slowly as possible. Our descendents will be grateful. We, too, shall need a long bridge to the future.”

– Amory Lovins, World Energy Strategies: Facts, Issues, and Options (New York: Friends of the Earth International, 1975), p. 127.

Yesterday’s post provided quotations from a variety of sources espousing a pessimistic, closed view of the mineral resource world as it pertains to oil, gas, and even coal.

Howlin’ Wolf: Paul Ehrlich on Energy (Part II: Failed Predictions)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 20, 2010

[Editor’s note: Part I in this five-part series examined Dr. Ehrlich’s views on Julian Simon, growing energy usage, and depletion. Part III examines Ehrlich’s conservation(ism) views.]

The Ehrlichs’ angst about the energy future was rife with forecasts that have been proven false–and embarrassingly so. As mentioned in Part I, the Ehrlichs’ protégé John Holdren has made similar radical pronouncements and wild exaggerations (see here and here) and even joined Stephen Schneider and other climate scientists in the global cooling scare.

Running Out of Oil

Writing in 1974, the Ehrlichs predicted that “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.” [1] Consequently, “we can also be reasonably sure that the search for alternatives will be a frantic one.”…