Why is it so hard to achieve Energy Efficiency?

More live blogging from The Aspen Environment Forum, sponsored by the National Geographic and the Aspen Institute. Panelist include: Brian Keane, Amory Lovins, Will Wynn, with moderator Jack Riggs.

Brian: Each one of us can and must be part of the energy efficient solution. It is the small little simple things that we do everyday that will make a difference.

Amory: Given the political fault lines in our society, we need to be careful about our language and the motivations that we convey. Eg. auditing, property assessment, and so on. No one wants these things. When we talk to others about saving energy, lets not insist that they do it for the same reasons. Lets focus on outcomes not motives. Eg some people may care more about national security rather than environmental sustainability.

Will: We spend $45 a month on electricity for a $900K house. Many of his friends pay $600/month. Do I want to keep his money and pay off the mortgage? It is an outstanding savings if you can put pretax dollars back into your home. An easy way to do it is to pay less in monthly energy bills. People need to think about housing affordability. If they realize the wasted costs on electrical, they will change.

Lovins pointed out that Will pays 10x fold more than him!

I couldnt miss this one because I read Amory Lovins when I was in college and still have his book. I will attempt to get his autograph.

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I suspect it may in part because efficiency is the wrong goal. Thomas Princen does a fascinating job of dismantling the value of the concept of efficiency - of trackings its origins and its limitations in _The Logic of Sufficiency_ and I think a central and essential question is whether efficiency is what we're looking for.


Yes, efficiency can be the wrong goal--Brian Walker's book on Resilience Thinking has a nice brief discussion of the flaws in that approach. For one thing, it assumes redundancy is a bad thing!

By Bob Gregory (not verified) on 27 Jul 2010 #permalink

Here's why:

The United States government, and in particular, President Obama, are not on board to solve the energy/climate change problem.

Climate Bill, R.I.P.
Instead of taking the fight to big polluters, President Obama has put global warming on the back burner

Handled correctly, the BP spill should have been to climate legislation what September 11th was to the Patriot Act, or the financial collapse was to the bank bailout. Disasters drive sweeping legislation, and precedent was on the side of a great leap forward in environmental progress. In 1969, an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California â of only 100,000 barrels, less than the two-day output of the BP gusher â prompted Richard Nixon to create the EPA and sign the Clean Air Act. But the Obama administration let the opportunity slip away.

and in MoJo
Where Was Obama When Reid Killed the Climate Bill?

Other heavy hitter Dems are on board. My governor (Gregoire) and Seanators (Murray, Cantwell) are on board. Liebermann and others are on board. the publoic is on board.

But the President is more worried about BP than he is the American people. Sorry, but it has to be said, and he proved it both last week and by his late, lackluster performance at Copenhagen.

Can the Dems find somebody else in 2012? This guy hasn't been helping much.

Yes, I'm angry.