The Solution to Global Warming and Peak Oil? Math

The so called “energy crisis” may in fact be solved by simple math; specifically the math of money. The idealist in me would rather people live environmentally sound lives and be good stewards of the Earth because it’s the right thing to do. I am sure there are a number of people who wish I was “greener” (and I am sure I could be); I haven’t placed too much importance in some of the doomsday theories, but that doesn’t mean I don’ think we should do what we can to take care of our planet. That being said, it seems the reality of the global warming “problem” and the peak oil “crisis” is going to work itself out, not because of nutty environmentalists, but because it makes economic sense.

The world keeps spinning because of money it seems. I don’t have a problem with businesses, even big businesses; I think they are needed and necessary. I don’t even have a problem with them using the Earth’s resources (both space and energies). It makes sense that they will be influenced by the almighty dollar. Bottom line is crucial: they need to pay their employees, stock holders, decrease costs, etc. What is surprising is that this model of business will actually help the environment… if they let it.

Popular Mechanics recently came out with their 2007 Breakthrough Awards (all of which are extremely interesting). The reason for this post is one of the winners: Amory Lovins: The Prophet of Efficiency. Lovins and his “Think and do tank” Rocky Mountain Institute have been helping businesses move to soft energy technologies.

He is a pragmatic, pliers-in-hand visionary with a penchant for physics who spends his time engineering a future in which Americans stop burning fossil fuels, yet improve their standard of living. Getting there, he’s certain, is mainly a matter of tapping a nearly limitless resource—corporate pressure to cut costs and improve the bottom line.

The Daily Green has a good article on Lovins and the Breakthrough Award that you should also read: Why Global Warming and Peak Oil are Irrelevant: A Quick Look Inside the Very Full Brain of Amory Lovins (H/t to Sal).

Lovins and the team at the Rocky Mountain Institute have applied radical efficiency to help redesign more than $30 billion worth of facilities in 29 sectors.

If oil runs out next year, or in the next decade, that will matter less than the rise of competitive sources of energy in the marketplace. Petroleum will go the way of whale oil, which in 1850 was the world’s fifth largest industry, Lovins said. That powerful industry lasted precisely until coal-based oils provided a cheaper alternative to the common lighting fuel. You don’t hear much about whale oil anymore.

“Whalers were astounded,” Lovins said, “when they ran out of customers before they ran out of whales.”

Read the whole thing. And also check out Lovins’ PM Breakthrough Award article and video, PM’s guide to sustainability, and PM’s 3 Big Ideas for Efficient Big Business from Amory Lovins. Interesting stuff. I guess it just show you can be green in a variety of ways.

Oh, and also be sure to check out this brilliant idea: Shawn Frayne: The Nonturbine Wind Alternative: Windbelt, Cheap Generator Alternative, Set to Power Third World. This is genius. How has someone not come up with this yet? Simply amazing. And I like that his idea came from watching the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse.

  1. salmypal
    November 6th, 2007 at 09:32 | #1

    I just watched all four parts of this analysis. So interesting. Check it out.

  2. Anonymous
    December 24th, 2007 at 12:46 | #2

    Don’t know if you noticed, but Amory Lovins is a nutty environmentalist.

  3. December 24th, 2007 at 13:25 | #3

    Yes… that doesn’t me he is always going to be wrong…

  4. March 11th, 2008 at 10:41 | #4

    The stone age did not end for a lack of stones…

  5. Chris
    April 2nd, 2008 at 16:40 | #5

    Global warming and peak oil cancel each other out. The doomsday theories make me qeezy, its all media hype. we are going to run out of oil in 30 years. IPCC reports that tempuratures will warm 1-4 degrees if we continue to burn oil at the same rate for 50-100 years. We run out in 30 years! there isnt enough oil on this planet in any form to cancel life as we know it!

  1. October 14th, 2007 at 05:36 | #1

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