Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Reinventing Fire Infographic: 5 Interesting Facts About our Energy-Hogging Economy

From Think Progress and Stephen Lacey:

For a while, we almost had it. Before America’s comprehensive climate and energy bill turned into a devastating failure in 2010, the U.S. seemed to be on the verge of having an energy plan based on a sustainable vision for the future. But today, with “climate,” “clean energy investment” and “green jobs” being dirty words to one major political power, we’ve moved further away from that goal than ever.

That’s why the Rocky Mountain Institute’s recent project, Reinventing Fire — a peer-reviewed, commercially-viable vision for the future of energy — should help inform the future conversation around energy. In typical RMI fashion, it provides an aggressive-but-plausible scenario for economic prosperity based on clean energy and efficiency, blending together the different disciplines from the organization.

RMI’s book Reinventing Fire will be out soon. For now, the organization reminds us where we are today and what the future could be:

  1. The U.S. transportation sector burns 13 million barrels of oil a day (half of it imported), at a cost of $2 billion. Personal transportation is now America’s #2 consumer cost after housing, totaling $740 billion in 2009 and consuming, on average, 17.6% of household expenditures.
  2. America’s 120 million buildings consume 42% of the nation’s energy—more than any other sector. If they were a country, they would rank third after China and the U.S., in primary energy use.
  3. We spend more than $400 billion a year to heat and power buildings, even more than the government spends on Medicare.
  4. U.S. industry employs almost 131 million people and generates more than 40% of U.S. GDP, but uses roughly one-fourth of the nation’s total energy per year.
  5. 86% of U.S. electricity is generated in large, centralized power plants.

What could the energy landscape of 2050 under the Reinventing Fire scenario look like?

  1. Efficiency efforts plus switching from oil and coal and one-third less natural gas to renewable energy would save a net $5.0 trillion.
  2. A $2.0 trillion investment to make cars, trucks and planes more efficient, and more effectively used would save $5.8 trillion.
  3. Buildings’ energy use can be 40–60% more efficient in 2050 than today—despite 70% more floorspace.
  4. U.S. industry can produce about 84% more output with 9–13% less energy—without mandates or breakthroughs in innovation.
  5. We can capture and integrate the renewable energy needed to meet 80% or more of our electricity needs by 2050.

Under the plan, we could be looking at $5 trillion in net savings. If you can’t imagine that, just look at the infographic RMI put together below.

 Read a Q&A with Amory Lovins from Sustainable Industries.

Flame image: Capture Queen


New French edition of The Resilient Farm and Homestead available

Great news for French-speaking fans of Ben Falk’s The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach. The French language translation is now available from Imagine Un Colibri, from French booksellers, and on Amazon.fr. Falk’s book is a technical manual that details the strategies he and his team have developed for […] Read More

Prepare! Keep a Grab-n-Go Survival Kit Handy

Are you prepared in the event of a sudden emergency? Blizzard, earthquake, insurrection after the inauguration? We know a lot of people are wondering what’s coming next in the US, as well as the world, given terrorism, politics, and global warming, among other threats. In this excerpt from When Technology Fails, a popular book on […] Read More

A Bloggin’ We Shall Go: Your Favorite Blog Posts from 2016

Ah, 2016 – where did the time fly? It seems like only earlier this year we were excited about designing swales and getting to know more about no-till farming, and we ended up focusing on the heart, ketogenic diets and seeking a bio-abundant future. While the top 7 blog posts of the year don’t exactly […] Read More

Yes, America We Can Make It … Really

Uncertainty got you down? The political world may seem like it’s crumbling around us, but this we know: We can make it, America. Literally, we can make things. Houses. Gardens. Food. Below we’ve selected some of our classic how-to and DIY books (and some new favorites) to help you sustain your self, family, and community. […] Read More

Chelsea Green on Instagram: Our Most Popular Photos of 2016

What a year for Chelsea Green on Instagram! We began the year with 500 followers and are now fast approaching 4,000 photo-loving brewers, gardeners, cheesemakers, permaculturists, foodies, seed-savers, homesteaders, foragers, and more. Our most popular posts of 2016 say a lot about what makes you happy: mushrooms, innovative garden designs and techniques, tiny cabins, and […] Read More
+1
Tweet
Share
Share
Pin