Tuesday, January 10, 2012

An Epic Win

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) is a non-profit thinktank that has been active for over 30 years. Started up by Amory Lovins, it has established a blueprint for a proactive strategy that can actually get the USA to zero GHG emissions by 2050. It's dubbed "Reinventing Fire". In short, their position is summarized as follows:

Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era offers market-based, actionable solutions integrating transportation, buildings, industry, and electricity. Built on Rocky Mountain Institute's 30 years of research and collaboration in all four sectors, Reinventing Fire maps pathways for running a 158%-bigger U.S. economy in 2050 but needing no oil, no coal, no nuclear energy, one-third less natural gas, and no new inventions. This would cost $5 trillion less than business-as-usual—in addition to the value of avoiding fossil fuels' huge but uncounted external costs.

The overarching issues are examined in a global context. For example, Randy Essex of RMI examines the futility of old-think with respect to oil supplies in the Middle East, coupled with military intervention. This perpetuates a destructive cycle which can be dispensed with by moving to renewable electric supplies.

Moving this strategy to the local level of policy boots-on-the-ground, RMI's Smart Garage Initiative partners with major cities to implement an infrastructure for the support of electric vehicle use. This portion of their strategy is the most effective, immediate and profitable action that can be taken by US industries in order to drastically cut auto and truck emissions. It's the easy one that can get the ball rolling into the major reductions necessary for the USA to bring its carbon emissions down into the unalterable lower limits that will contain climate change.

This kind of leadership by the USA could provoke global consensus on emissions levels and carbon capture, particularly if the old extractive practices are brought to a halt. All it takes is for the big guy to step up to the plate.