30 minutes | Jun 6, 2022

Are we undervaluing energy efficiency as a decarbonization strategy?

Are we underestimating the potential of increased efficiency? It wouldn’t be the first time.

In 2021, the International Energy Agency and the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasted a 50% increase in global energy demand by 2050. Such forecasts have echoes of the 1970’s, when – in the middle of a global energy crisis – forecasters were anticipating as much as a 300% increase in energy demand over the next 3 decades. Those forecasters missed the mark by about 250%, because they didn’t count on the significant efficiency improvements in home appliances, vehicle fuel economy, industry and home energy demands that kickstarted in the 1980’s.

In this episode, featuring Dr. Amory Lovins of RMI and Dr. Roger Aines of Lawrence Livermore National Lab , we explore whether energy forecasters are missing the mark again: projecting only incremental efficiency gains in the next 30 years, despite the fact that we already have the technologies and smart design approaches that would allow global energy demand to decrease by more than 70%, while still providing the same services of today.

Joined by a group of LLNL scientists, Amory, Roger and host James Lawler discuss the potential of smart and integrative design approaches that can provide savings in both energy emissions and costs, as well as the obstacles that are keeping us from taking full advantage of these approaches. Listen wherever you like to get your podcasts, or listen with the transcript at climatenow.com!

00:12 - Introduction
00:40 - The Energy Efficiency Resource
03:02 - Why focus on efficiency?
07:11 - How efficiency increases security and reliability of energy delivery
08:16 - How efficiency can be cost effective
11:39 - Energy efficiency trends in the last 50 or so years
15:08 - How to think about efficiency moving forward
23:43 - What methods do we need to employ to get to net-zero. What role does efficiency play?

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