Of the many ideas Amory Lovins has pushed into our cultural dialogue, here’s one of the most important, one that everyone involved in energy debates should take to heart:
It is not energy that people want; it is the services energy provides.
The obsessive focus of energy debates on supply — nuclear or wind? clean coal or hydrogen? — is so narrow as to distort. The way we use energy is just as important: How do we store it? Transmit it? Where do we live? How do we get around? How can the same services be provisioned with less energy? How much is wasted?
The whole energy system is the proper focus of our attention.
Not a new point, obviously, but worth repeating, as it leads to very different policy debates and outcomes.
It’s the subject of a new editorial on BBC news by Dr. Kevin Anderson, an analyst at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.
Whatever the arguments for and against alternative low-carbon supply options, we simply do not have the luxury of waiting the decadal timeframe necessary to bring about such a supply transition.
Consequently, if the UK is to demonstrate effective leadership on climate change, it is incumbent on the government to redress the balance of its policy agenda in favour of reducing energy demand.
Tyndall offers a number of "low-hanging fruit" options — easy ways to get more out of the energy we use. Read the editorial for details.
(Via Jamais Cascio, who also has some good discussion)