Amory Lovins speaks at Catawba College
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Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute’s chairman and chief
scientist, has achieved renown throughout the world. Time magazine called him
“one of the world’s 100 most influential people”; the Wall Street Journal said
he was one of 39 people worldwide “most likely to change the course of
business”; and Newsweek called him “one of the Western world’s most influential
An experimental physicist educated at Harvard and Oxford,
Lovins cofounded Rocky Mountain Institute, a market-oriented, entrepreneurial,
nonprofit, nonpartisan “think-and-do tank.” He has lately led the redesign of
more than $30 billion worth of facilities in 29 sectors for radical energy and
Lovins has briefed 20 heads of state and held several
visiting academic chairs, most recently as 2007 MAP/Ming Professor in Stanford
University’s School of Engineering. He has written 29 books and hundreds of
papers, advised the U.S. Departments of Energy and Defense and consulted for
scores of industries and governments worldwide.
A MacArthur Fellow, Lovins has received numerous awards,
including the “Alternative Nobel,” Blue Planet, Volvo, Onassis, Nissan, Shingo
and Mitchell Prizes and 10 honorary doctorates.
Q&A with Amory Lovins
Lovins, who keeps a busy schedule of speaking engagements,
talked with the Post during an airport layover. Here are excerpts from
that interview, edited for brevity.
Q. The title of your presentation here is "Profitable Solutions to
Climate, Oil, and Proliferation." Can you give us a quick preview?
There are both old and new technologies and design methods that can
make problems like climate change, oil dependence and nuclear
proliferation go away, not at a cost but at a profit. Profits rise
because it's cheaper to save fuel than to buy fuel. Efficiency is
cheaper than inefficiency and waste. There are also supply-wide
revolutions. For example, the conventional power plants that have served
us so well have become obsolete. We can produce energy much more
efficiently using sources like micropower, cogeneration technologies and
renewables. When you add all of this up, you've just reinvented fire.
You have a recipe for a business-led transition from oil and coal to
Read more … Q&A with Amory Lovins
"It's cheaper to save energy than buy it"
That world of efficient use and renewable energy is “available,
practical and profitable now,” Lovins said. “At RMI, we’re doing it. We
do solutions, not problems; transformation, not incrementalism; and
we’re practitioners, not theorists.”
He explained how using newer technologies and integrative design can
save more energy at a negative cost. “How fast must energy efficiency
work?” he asked. “If the energy used to make a unit of economic activity
kept drifting down by just 1 percent a year, as it has historically,
then carbon emissions would triple by 2100, and we’d all be toast. Of
course, we want to make toast, not be toast.”
Read more … "It's cheaper to save energy than buy it"