August 2, 2010
In the article titled “The Energy Innovation imperative: Addressing Oil Dependence, Climate Change, and Other 21st Century Energy Challenges “, Holdren admits (among other things) that notions such as “notably improving health care, reproductive rights, and educational opportunities for women” are, although “attractive in their own right”, only measures by which reduced population growth can be achieved. In regards to population-issues Holden writes (page 15):
“Lower is better for many reasons. If world population were 8 billion in 2100 rather than the midrange UN forecast of about 10 billion, holding down the carbon emissions from the energy to make everybody prosperous would be that much easier. Fortunately, reduced population growth can be achieved by measures that are attractive in their own right (notably improving health care, reproductive rights, and educational opportunities for women).”
Holdren not only makes clear he isn’t satisfied by the UN-target of 10 billion by the year 2100 (he would prefer cutting that number by 2 billion), he readily admits that improving health, reproductive rights and educational opportunities for women are means to that end.
In the same year Holdren published his essay, professor of medical demography of the London school of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, John Cleland, admitted to- and rejected- the fact that the scientific and political communities use coded language when speaking of population control. Speaking  in front of representatives of the UN Population fund, the International Planned Parenthood Foundation, European Commission, World Bank and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Cleland stated (page 33):
“No more shrouding our statements in code. Because code just confuses people.(…) It does this cause no service at all to continue to shroud family planning in the obfuscating phrase “sexual and reproductive health”. People don’t really know what it means. If we mean family planning or contraception, we must say it. If we are worried about population growth, we must say it. We must use proper, straightforward language. I am fed up with the political correctness that daren’t say the name population stabilization, hardly dares to mention family planning or contraception out of fear that somebody is going to get offended. It is pathetic!”
In the mid-seventies, the current White House science czar had no problem using straightforward language, no problem at all, when he argued for a wide range of measures to cut population size to an “acceptable” level. In the much-debated textbook Ecoscience, Holdren was not hindered by political correctness when he proposed a number of gruesome measures to lower worldwide fertility-levels:
“Adding a sterilant to drinking water or staple foods is a suggestion that seems to horrify people more than most proposals for involuntary fertility control. Indeed, this would pose some very difficult political, legal, and social questions, to say nothing of the technical problems. No such sterilant exists today, nor does one appear to be under development. To be acceptable, such a substance would have to meet some rather stiff requirements: it must be uniformly effective, despite widely varying doses received by individuals, and despite varying degrees of fertility and sensitivity among individuals; it must be free of dangerous or unpleasant side effects; and it must have no effect on members of the opposite sex, children, old people, pets, or livestock.”
In the 2006 article mentioned before, John Holdren also touched upon the possibility of a carbon-tax:
“Perhaps most importantly in the context of the character of energy challenges as elaborated in this article, companies are likely to continue to under-invest in developing and deploying low- and no-carbon energy options until there is a stronger marketplace incentive for such action, either in the form of a substantial carbon tax or its practical equivalent in the form of economy-wide emissions caps implemented through tradable permits.”
It’s becoming clear that the aim of reducing the world’s population was still firmly on John P. Holdren’s mind in 2006, just as it was in 1977 when he co-authored Ecoscience. What has changed is the language he chooses to use.