Expert Says We Can Reduce Fossil Fuel Use 80% With Existing Technology
This post was originally produced for Forbes.
Amory Lovins, a “recovering physicist” who founded and now leads the Rocky Mountain Institute, is the author of Reinventing Fire and a Forbes contributor who says that existing technology allows us to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent. For this article he provided a quick explanation of his ideas:
The United States now wrings more than twice as much work from its energy as it did 40 years ago, yet most of the energy used today is still wasted. We can now save twice as much as I then claimed (to much ridicule), but at a third the real cost. With the best modern techniques, more efficiently converting energy into the same or better services can save, for example, about ⅔ to ¾ of the energy we use in buildings (with a 33% IRR), half in industry (21% IRR), and ≥4/5 in transportation (17% IRR)). “Integrative design”—optimizing buildings, factories and industrial equipment, and vehicles as whole systems for multiple benefits, not isolated components for single benefits—can often make big savings cost less than small or no savings, turning diminishing returns into expanding returns.
Modern energy efficiency makes it easier and quicker to switch supplies from old, expensive technologies to newer, cheaper, safer, cleaner ones. RMI’s *Reinventing Fire* synthesis (2011, www.rmi.org/reinventingfire) showed how with a 14% IRR and a $5-trillion NPV saving, the United States could run a 2.6x bigger economy in 2050 with no oil, coal, or nuclear energy and ⅓ less natural gas. This would require no new inventions nor Acts of Congress, but could be led by business for profit.
On Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 1:00 Eastern, Lovins will join me for a live discussion about his work and his optimism for a low carbon emissions future. Tune in then to watch the interview.
More about the Rocky Mountain Institute:
Rocky Mountain Institute (which does not have a “The” in front of it) is an independent, apolitical, nonprofit, market-oriented think-and-do tank that creates a clean, prosperous, and secure energy future. I cofounded it in 1982, have been its CEO and Chairman, and serve as its full-time Chief Scientist. RMI has about a hundred staff in two Colorado locations, a global reach, and an annual budget of about $13 million from philanthropy and programmatic enterprise. RMI works chiefly with the private sector because we want to get stuff done. RMI is a member of the Social Venture Network.
Recovering physicist Amory Lovins, 66, is cofounder and Chief Scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute (www.rmi.org); energy advisor to major firms and governments in 50+ countries for 40+ years; author of 31 books and over 500 papers; and recipient of the Blue Planet, Volvo, Zayed, Onassis, Nissan, Shingo, and Mitchell Prizes, MacArthur and Ashoka Fellowships, 12 honorary doctorates, and the Heinz, Lindbergh, Right Livelihood, National Design, and World Technology Awards. A Harvard and Oxford dropout, former Oxford don, honorary US architect, and Swedish engineering academician, he has taught at ten universities, most recently Stanford and the Naval Postgraduate School. In 2009, Time named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people, and Foreign Policy, one of the 100 top global thinkers. His latest books include Natural Capitalism (1999, www.natcap.org), Small Is Profitable (2002, www.smallisprofitable.org), Winning the Oil Endgame (2004, www.oilendgame.com), The Essential Amory Lovins (2011), and Reinventing Fire (2011, www.reinventingfire.com).
This interview is part of a series that will examine what can be accomplished in the fight to solve the world’s biggest challenges within the next thirty years. The solution to every big problem also presents opportunities entrepreneurs will exploit to change the world. From this series of interviews, a book, working title: Thirty Years to Peace, will emerge.
Remember to “join the cavalry” by subscribing to Devin’s content here.
The post Expert Says We Can Reduce Fossil Fuel Use 80% With Existing Technology appeared first on Your Mark On The World.