Amory Lovins: A 40-year plan for energy

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In this intimate talk filmed at TED’s offices, energy theorist Amory Lovins lays out the steps we must take to end the world’s dependence on oil (before we run out). Some changes are already happening — like lighter-weight cars and smarter trucks — but some require a bigger vision.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes. Featured speakers have included Al Gore on climate change, Philippe Starck on design, Jill Bolte Taylor on observing her own stroke, Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child, Jane Goodall on chimpanzees, Bill Gates on malaria and mosquitoes, Pattie Maes on the “Sixth Sense” wearable tech, and “Lost” producer JJ Abrams on the allure of mystery. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, development and the arts. Closed captions and translated subtitles in a variety of languages are now available on TED.com, at

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36 COMMENTS

  1. This guy sounds like a snake oil salesman. Only 250 of the VW XL1 were made and they cost over US$100,000 each and were only available in Europe. The renewables push increased Germany's price of electricity by 50% while Germany's CO2 emissions increased. The British reliance on electricity from France increases as they implement more renewables. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2018/06/16/british-reliance-french-energy-increases-quarter/.

    Strangely, from the comments, most people just sucked up what this guy said. Only a few people thought something was rotten in the state of Denmark. As Phineas T Barnum said, there's a sucker born every minute.

  2. Solar/wind/hydro now 40% of the grid. Coal down to 30% and falling. Total solar installed per year has doubled every 2.1 years…for 2 decades. Business innovation now has solar flying onto commercial with no money down and a simple splitting of the cost savings. Solar is going huge and it;s happening right now. look around you.

  3. All Lies and Corporate Scientism. Hydrogen, Methane Fuels are the only possible NATURALLY SAFE way. Would you really replace the current systems with RareEarth Minerals, their Pollution and their Industrys ? Seems to me… forethought gives lessons without investments of Equity. How many Batteries will Earthlings need in 2100 ?

  4. 22:40 – 23:00 that is a huge point that seems generally unrecognized by the public. PUC and Utility Monopolies are rewarded NOT to reduce people's rates NOR to develop renewable sources in most places. Rather, they are guaranteed a profit each year and have incentive to reward big projects for new power plants to their contracting buddies.

  5. Did he say millions of square kilometers of solar? If not, then we need tens of thousands of molten salt reactors.
    Why, because the world will need about 4× the energy it consumes today. Everyone will charge their e cars at night. Lots will vacation in Earth orbit, and block chain will increasingly require more energy, therefore, whatever clean energy we transition fossil fuels from, it had better be cheap, reliable and most importantly, offer greater potential than fossil fuels
    😎

  6. Not a philosophical discussion on integrated design, so I understand the negative comments. However, as an aspiring mechanical engineer, I encourage you watch his presentation to its completion, writing down anything you don’t understand to fully absorb the information.

  7. zero oil, zero coal, zero nuclear and 1 third less natural gas. My conclution is Mr. Lovin is a crackpot. Please check out. www.roadmaptonowhere.com and down their paper

  8. i think you made a little mistake because i can not figure out what is clean coal i don't think their is such a thing coal is dirty and will always be dirty …………

  9. Boring people talking about climate problems, make the uneducated even less likely to listen to it… thumbs down.

    This is a serious problem!!!!

  10. Amory Lovins first published his analysis of nuclear power in Foreign Affairs in 1975. He was wrong then and remains so forty plus years later. He is also to blame for so much of the nonsense that has prevented the US from even beginning to solve global warming. He sounds and is intelligent, but does he really understand how electricity is used in the US economy? We must stop/greatly reduce using fossil fuels, but we're still going to need massive quantities of electricity– way, way more than can be produced by wind, solar, or conservation.

  11. He said no government programs, yet by 6:50 he's praising feebates. I stopped watching there because if this guy can't prevent himself from lying over the course of 7 minutes, nothing he has to say in the remaining 20 minutes is worth listening to.

  12. GROUND ALL AIR TRAFFIC .. WE KNOW IT WORKS TO CLEAN THE AIR — PROVEN IN THE DAYS AFTER 911 .. #AVIATIONPOLLUTION IS THE MAJOR PROBLEM ..

  13. That comment at 12:10 about oil reaching a peak in demand rather than supply is total rubbish, oil demand will continue to rise because our population is growing, not to mention the fact that developing countries like china are using up more and more of the fossil fuel to maintain their economic growth. They have a right to want to be richer, but if we all lived like Americans we would need 6 times more oil, sounds depressing but it is the simple truth.
    Not saying all of this TED presentation is bullshit but Amory needs to get his facts right.

  14. Compared to what we're actually doing, this is incredibly optimistic … makes me wish I knew who to kick to get these plans going into motion …

  15. Thanks for sharing! — And for your work.

    The naysayers on this thread remind me that cynicism is an easy rationale for inaction. Much of what we call "apathy" is really a state of despair at the lack of leadership and hopeful paths forward. Lovins' vision is promising.  Is he promising too much?  — Or just challenging us to pull our heads out of this tar pit and realize we actually do have choices and don't have to just sit here and go extinct?  Why not be part of the solution and lend a hand?  What exactly is there to lose?  If the theory's not perfect, what are you doing to improve on it?

    I think we owe it to future generations do our best to see what's possible.  It's time to lead, follow or get out of the way!

  16. Actually the downtime for nuclear and coal is typically planned for purposes of maintenance and refueling. That is completely different than wind and solar that turn on and off randomly on their own… How can such an educated man get basic facts so wrong?!?!?

  17. I love this idea but now think what it would coust to a constry to do this chances in terms of money and mind changing.While changing not after

  18. There is a fundamental flaw in Lovins theory of saving energy, Saving energy is like saving money: everytime you invent a new way of saving money or energy you come up with 10 new things to use it on and has been the case over and over again.

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