Renewable Energy, Conservation, and Energy Policy

Planet of the Humans This movie about why clean, cheap renewable energy is bad for us came not directly from the fossil-fuel industry, but roundabout somehow, with the assistance of Jeff Gibbs and Michael Moore portraying themselves as latter-day know-nothings. See some comprehensive critiques of the film here and here. May 2020

Why Carbon Capture Doesn't Work Too expensive, especially compared to the alternatives (namely, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.. By James Hansen, June 12, 2018

The Carbon Brief Interview A comprehensive look at opportunities for clean energy, by the foremost thinker in the field. Amory Lovins, June 8, 2017

Solar Roadways produces specially-engineered photovoltaic panels that can be walked and driven upon. It will be interesting to see how this works out. October 2016

We have met the wrong enemy
I didnít cut corners and cause an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I didnít do my best to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and every other agency that might have limited fracking. Iím not lobbying Congress to open oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean. I didnít cut funding for alternative energy sources. Big Oil is pouring billions of dollars into shaping government policies and consumer preferences.  And what do we say? "Oh, I should be a more mindful consumer." Of course we should, but thatís only the beginning. We also need to hold government and corporations accountable. What are we waiting for?
Letís forgive ourselves for being part of the only system there is. But letís change the damned system so we can do what we know is right, necessary, and possible: make the transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy. We donít have to do it overnight. We donít have to forsake all fossil fuel use and the jobs that depend on it. We just have to keep moving in the right direction, and stop the fossil fuel industry from digging the hole so deep we canít get out.  If we fail to do  that, there will be ample opportunity to feel guilty down the road. By K.C. Golden, Climate Solutions, May 22, 2015

Seven Surprising Realities Behind the Great Transition to Renewable Energy The global transition to clean, renewable energy and away from nuclear and fossils is well under way, with remarkable developments happening every day. The Great Transition by Lester Brown, Janet Larsen, Matt Roney, and Emily Adams lays out a tremendous range of these developments. May 13, 2015

Putting a price on carbon in Washington State (video) Presentation by K.C. Golden, Climate Solutions, January 2015

Public opinion estimates on global warming Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, 2014

The Disinformation Campaign against Renewable Energy Some mainstream media around the world publish misinformed or, worse, systematically and falsely negative stories about renewable energy. By Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute, July 31, 2013

Ramping Up Renewables: Energy You Can Count On The United States can significantly increase renewable energy while maintaining a reliable, affordable, and cleaner energy system. Union of Concerned Scientists, April 2013

Full Cost Accounting for the Life Cycle of Coal Each stage in the life cycle of coalóextraction, transport, processing, and combustionógenerates a waste stream and carries multiple hazards for health and the environment. 

These costs are external to the coal industry and are thus often considered ďexternalities.Ē The authors estimate that the life cycle effects of coal and the waste stream generated are costing the U.S. public a third to over one-half of a trillion dollars annually.

Many of these so-called externalities are, moreover, cumulative. Accounting for the damages conservatively doubles to triples the price of electricity from coal per kWh generated, making wind, solar, and other forms of non-fossil fuel power generation, along with investments in efficiency and electricity conservation methods, economically competitive. By Paul Epstein, et al, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, February 2011 (PDF)

The Prius Strategy: How to Displace Iraqi Oil with Energy Efficiency.
The problem: a war that has cost $250 billion (so far), with no plausible explanation except to gain control of Iraq's oil. Another large appropriation is now in Congress. Our representatives will support it until there is a large outcry against continuing to fund this war.
What if we didn't need the oil? By Roger Lippman, April 2006

More Profit with Less Carbon
The good news about global warming is that it is cheaper to fix than to ignore. By Amory Lovins, Scientific American, September 2005

Security Meltdown Debunking the nuclear theology. Nuclear power worsens the climate problem, because every dollar spent on costly nuclear power instead of cheaper options buys less coal displacement. For example, if a new nuclear plant delivered a kWh for only three times the cost of saving a kWh (the actual difference is typically much larger), then for the cost of your one nuclear kWh, you could have saved three kWh, tripling your carbon reduction. By Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute, Summer 2005

Gas Guzzling Food We use about as much energy to grow our food as to power our homes or fuel our cars. By Thomas Starrs, American Solar Energy Society, July 2005

U.S. Must Kick The Habit - Conservation Measures More Effective Than Seeking New Oil
Letter to the Seattle Times, by Roger Lippman, September 15, 1990

Fool's Gold in Alaska By Amory B. Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute, Spring 2001. The many ways in which oil development in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge would worsen our energy security, and the wealth of energy-efficient alternatives. (PDF)

Bush's Energy Policy May 20, 2001

The California Energy Crisis: Dubya Wins a Nobel Prize By John Hulls, February 22, 2001

How Not to Parachute More Cats By Amory and Hunter Lovins, 1996
   In the early 1950s, the Dayak people in Borneo suffered from malaria. The World Health Organization had a solution: they sprayed large amounts of DDT to kill the mosquitoes that carried the malaria. The mosquitoes died, the malaria declined; so far, so good. But there were side-effects. Among the first was that the roofs of peopleís houses began to fall down on their heads. It seemed that the DDT was killing a parasitic wasp that had previously controlled thatch-eating caterpillars. Worse, the DDT- poisoned insects were eaten by geckoes, which were eaten by cats. The cats died, the rats flourished, and people were threatened by outbreaks of sylvatic plague and typhus. To cope with these problems, which it had itself created, the World Health Organization was obliged to parachute 14,000 live cats into Borneo.
   If we do not understand interconnections, often the cause of problems is solutions.

Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken? This article, as visionary today as it was when published, brought modern ideas on energy efficiency and resources ("soft energy paths") to the public eye. By Amory Lovins, Foreign Affairs, October 1976

Solar Energy Links


Global warming
     Weather report

Nuclear Power

Energy policy


Northwest Clean Energy Atlas

Don't try this at home:

Switching from a car to a 13 MPG SUV for a year wastes...

(Click on box for details.)


Energy Action Coalition

Back to Roger Lippman's Home Page