Amory Lovins, the author, environmentalist and consultant to corporate America, is a fount of ideas and inspiration. I heard him speak this morning at the Case Weatherhead School of Business in Cleveland, which is playing host to a conference called Business as an Agent of World Benefit. If you ever have the chance to hear Amory speak, donâ€™t miss it; youâ€™ll walk away with your head spinning.
Rather than try to reproduce his argument about how business can attack the problem of global warming, save energy and end the U.S. dependence on foreign oil, Iâ€™ll refer you to his website where his 2004 book, Winning the Oil End Game, is available as a free download. He argues that we can end our depenence on imported oil by 2025 while driving economic growth. There’s a good summary of his ideas here–well worth a look.
Interestingly, weâ€™ve made dramatic progress in this arena already. Did you know that The U.S. today wrings twice as much work from each barrel of oil as it did in 1975? With today’s technology, we can double efficiency again.
Lovins’ talk ranged far and wide, as usualâ€”from describing his home in Colorado, which he heats with a wood stove and insulates so well that he grows bananas indoors, to his outlining his vision of a super-efficient, ultralight, strong, safe car that could dramatically cut oil consumption. What struck me most of all is that corporate Americaâ€”which tends to be practical, adaptable, and fact-basedâ€”is far more likely to solve the problems of energy waste and greenhouse gas emissions than government. GE, Wal-Mart, IBM, DuPont are among those leading the way. â€œWhile politicians endlessly debate the costs,â€ Lovins says, â€œsmart companies are pursuing the profits.â€ That’s good, because there is lots to be done…