by Amory Lovins
Director of the Rocky Mountain Institute and author of Reinventing Fire, Factor Four, Soft Energy Paths
and many important innovations in the eld of sustainable development.
I am delighted to be introducing the Economic section of this important series. Here you willread the basic economic information about human inequality, aid, trade, debt, corruption andglobalization – all the stuff you have to know to understand how Planet Earth Inc. operates. I don’twant to repeat all that: rather I want to tell you the good news which is that we can make it! Wecan, by 2050, double the size of our global economy and run it without oil, without coal, withoutnuclear energy and a third less natural gas. How? – well: read our book, Reinventing Fire – or atleast, check out the Infographic summary at:www.rmi.org/ReinventingFireInfographic.Or watchthe video at:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lT-g__695Go.Reinventing Fire goes into detail about defossilizing fuels, hyper-light-weight cars, smart,zero-carbon buildings, how we can transform industrial processes, and repower our prosperitywith renewably generated electricity. It is the fruit of many years of labour by top engineers,environmental economists and others at the Rocky Mountain Institute. As Amartya Sen andMahbub al Haq, who coined the term, Sustainable Human Development, wrote: Development isabout choices. We have to make a choice: to carry on with business as usual, waiting until oil runs
out, then hoping that some brilliant techno-x will magic out of nowhere to save us. Or we can
start that transition now. And there’s no question where the smart money is: a global clean energyrace has started and is proceeding at astounding speed. The ability to operate an economy
without fossil fuels will dene winners and losers in business – and in nations. In my country – the
cost of the transition to a clean energy economy will be $5 trillion less than business as usual:and it will create jobs, re-vitalize cities, restore soils and biodiversity. And it will require no Act of
Congress, no federal support or new taxes. It will happen simply when business wakes up to thefact that it can make prot from green business and green growth. More prot that it could from
Business as usual.Oil and coal have built our civilization, created our wealth and enriched the lives of billions. Yet
their rising costs to our security, economy, health and environment now outweigh their benets.
Moreover, that long-awaited energy tipping point - where the alternatives work better than oil andcoal and compete purely on cost – is no longer decades away. It is here and now. It is the fulcrum
of economic transformation. Whether you care most about prots and jobs, national security,
health or environmental stewardship, we can now set our world on a pragmatic course that makessense and makes money.But it is not enough just to read and learn about this transition that is going to have to happenin the lifetimes of you who are currently passing through our schools and colleges. Rather we allhave to act to secure energy without end – a world where energy has turned from worrisome to
worry-free, from risky to rewarding, from costly to protable. The countries and businesses thatmake this transition rst will be the market-leaders in the new
economy. Those that delay the transition will lag behind andlose market share.Humanity has only one chance to make this choice: soChoose Well! Amory Lovins