Economist: Treat Alternative Energy Development 'Like It's World War II'

      Imagine a threat facing the United States that is the equivalent of the German Nazis and Japanese Imperialists. According to Dr. Stephen Leeb, an economist for Leeb Capital Management, that threat is already here.

      Leeb appeared on CNN’s “Issue #1” May 8. In an interview with CNN senior business correspondent Ali Velshi, Leeb warned that urgent action is needed as the demand for oil continues to rise.

      “[I] think it’s a protracted uptrend,” Leeb said. “I don’t see it ending anytime soon. I mean, this country and the world has to wake up – that there really is no easy answer. I mean, the only real answer from our perspective is to declare war on energy. I mean, we have to build out on a massive level an alternative energy infrastructure.”

      Just how urgent? Leeb, who holds a doctorate in psychology from the University of Illinois, compared the urgency to World War II – a war that took the lives of over 72 million people worldwide.

      “[W]e have to treat it like it’s World War II, but mercifully no one has to die if we do things right,” Leeb said. “We have to be prepared to spend trillions of dollars – maybe that’s what we spent to put a man on the moon – but yes, it’s not a Manhattan Project, it’s probably 50 or 100 Manhattan Projects.”

     Leeb told Velshi we have the technology to pull this off, but no one recognizes how serious the problem is.

     “We have to really change the way we’re doing things and this has to be priority number one,” Leeb said. “Issue number one for this country, if you will, has to be energy, or Ali, I really fear for our way of life.”

     Not everyone thinks oil can maintain these highs however – at least not at a pace that would have such a severe impact on human civilization. CNBC contributor John Kilduff said on the May 7 “The Call.” China and a decrease in market speculation would lead to a fall in oil, after it tops out in the $130s per barrel.

     Even CNBC “Street Signs” host Erin Burnett admitted her trepidation about oil maintaining this pace of increase.

     “When I start seeing everyone on Wall Street say, ‘$150, $200,’ and they’re all jumping on that train, I get a little concerned,” Burnett said during Jim Cramer’s “Stop Trading” segment on CNBC’s May 8 “Street Signs.”