Read: “Stabilizing Climate: An Energy Efficiency Revolution”

23 Jul 2010

Lester Brown, head of the Earth Policy Institute, is on a mission, with the aim of “mobilizing to save civilization.”

In the latest version of his masterwork, Plan B 4.0, he draws up an outline of how the world could cut its greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2020—yes, in a single decade.

A pillar of this plan is energy efficiency, he writes in Chapter 4 of the book (available as a free, legal download from the Earth Policy Institute). “The energy component of Plan B is straightforward,” Brown writes. “We raise world energy efficiency enough to at least offset all projected growth in energy use from now until 2020.”

And under business-as-usual, there’s big growth coming. As Brown reports, the International Energy Agency projected a couple of years ago that energy use in 2020 will be 30% higher than in 2006.

That estimate might be off for a number of reasons. The ongoing recession may stretch on longer than most predictions. Or we may suffer an oil crunch and price spike, which would scupper economic growth. But what’s great about efficiency is that many of these measures would be useful regardless. They’d save money overall, and if oil supplies tighten, they’d help the world cope with that, too.

You can download the entire Plan B 4.0 book here.


books I've read on failure & grace

The World Without Us
The Last Oil Shock: A Survival Guide to the Imminent Extinction of Petroleum Man
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster
Hell and High Water: Global Warming--the Solution and the Politics--and What We Should Do
The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
The Tipping Point
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace... One School at a Time
The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity and the Renewal of Civilization
Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail
The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850
Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff
Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World

Mason's favorite books »