Dr. John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy -- better known as the "science czar" -- has been a longtime prophet of environmental catastrophes. Never discouraged but never right.
It's not surprising. Holdren spent the 1970s boogying down to the vibes of an imaginary population catastrophe and global cooling. He also participated in the famous wager between scientist Paul Ehrlich, the now-discredited "Population Bomb" theorist (and co-author of "Ecoscience"), and economist Julian Simon, who believed human ingenuity would overcome demand.
Holdren was asked by Ehrlich to pick five natural resources that would experience shortages because of human consumption. He lost the bet on all counts, as the composite price index for the commodities he picked, including copper and chromium, fell by more than 40 percent.
And thanks to resourceful bloggers, you can read excerpts from a hard-to-find book co-authored by Holdren in the late 1970s, called "Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment" online.
In it, you will find the czar wading into some unpleasant talk about mass sterilizations and abortions.
When, during his Senate confirmation hearing, Holdren was asked about his penchant for scientific overstatements, he responded that "the motivation for looking at the downside possibilities, the possibilities that can go wrong if things continue in a bad direction, is to motivate people to change direction. That was my intention at the time."
"Motivation" is when Holdren tells us that global warming could cause the deaths of 1 billion people by 2020. Or when he claimed that sea levels could rise by 13 feet by the end of this century when your run-of-the-mill alarmist warns of only 13 inches.
"Motivating" -- or, in other words, scaring the hell out of people -- about "possibilities" is an ideological and political weapon unsheathed in the effort to pass policies that, in the end, coerce us to do the right thing.
Holdren's past flies in the face of President Barack Obama's contention, made on the day of the science czar's appointment, that his administration was "ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology."
Holdren embodies the opposite, actually.