Holdren the Heretic

July 27, 2016

It’s hardly newsworthy when energy experts question the “keep it in the ground” doctrine, the new battle cry of fossil fuel critics. This doctrine has now become the litmus test for the party faithful gathering in Philadelphia this week. In fact, a specific commitment to keep fossils in the ground was even considered for the Democratic platform (although narrowly defeated 7-6).

So it’s unlikely their faith will be shaken by another expert to question this environmental dogmatism. Even when the expert is the White House science advisor.

In his keynote speech at the annual EIA Energy Conference this month, White House Office of Science and Technology Director Dr. John Holdren bravely contradicted the cardinal conviction of the green faithful. “The notion that we’re going to keep it all in the ground is unrealistic,” he said. “We are still a very heavily fossil-fuel dependent world.”

That assertion, confirmed by ordinary observation, won’t strike most people as heretical. But it may seem so to the Sierra Club and their faction at the Democratic Convention. Behind their reckless haste to shut down coal-based power plants, halt coal leasing on federal land, neutralize coal reserves under the guise of stream protection and expose the ‘evils’ of natural gas are convictions that don’t sit well with the caution implicit in Holdren’s speech, let alone with the future he sees.

“When I look at the future of energy technology,” he told EIA, “I am looking at advanced technologies for fossil fuels.” To the activists who all but enshrined “keep it in the ground’ in the party platform, he must sound like a heretic. But to most Americans, Holdren simply sounds smart – keep all our energy options open for affordable energy.