Mitigate climate-related risks by cutting back on resource consumption.

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Amory Lovins

Amory Lovins is a leading evangelist for energy efficiency.  He coined the term “negawatt” to describe electricity that is not produced due to gains in efficiency.  By focusing efforts on efficiency gains, Lovins believes the United States can end its dependency on foreign oil, as the US can reduce consumption more easily and cheaply than we can import more energy.

Waste reduction, to Lovins, can be achieved by following biological models, such as the silk-spinning spider.  Lovins calls upon natural metaphors to uphold his approach towards resource use: “We may never become as skillful as spiders, abalone, or trees, but smart designers are already realizing that nature’s environmentally benign chemistry offers attractive alternatives to industrial brute force.  … The central principle of closed-loop manufacturing is “waste equals food.” Every output of manufacturing should either be composted into natural nutrients and returned to the ecosystem or be remanufactured into new products.” A Road Map for Natural Capitalism
 
In echoes of Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion Car, Lovins writes: “Enter the Hypercar. Since 1993, when Rocky Mountain Institute placed this automotive concept in the public domain, several dozen current and potential auto manufacturers have committed billions of dollars to its development and commercialization. The Hypercar integrates the best existing technologies to reduce the consumption of fuel as much as 85% and the amount of materials used up to 90% by introducing four main innovations.” A Road Map for Natural Capitalism
 
But Lovins addresses and supports renewable energy resources in addition to his focus on energy efficiency.  He attacks economic naysayers who complain that alternative energy sources are too expensive, claiming: “economic models all forget that renewable sources get cheaper when produced in higher volumes, as they’ve been doing for decades.” Climate: Making Sense and Money  He considers it likely that over the next half century, renewables could grow to supply more than half the world’s energy.

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