Low-hanging Fruit in Greenhouse Gas Reduction: Energy Efficiency

As we frequently discuss, the real low-hanging fruit when it comes to greenhouse gas reduction lies more in energy efficiency than it does in renewables.  Efficiency invokes largely proven and inexpensive technologies, and holds the promise of putting many millions of people to work deploying them. 

To make all this even more exciting, the modern Internet-driven world is making the results of these efficiency solutions more striking by the day.  This is largely a product of the use of information technology: sensors to gather data, and software to analyze it and make decisions based on it.  Sensors in our roads, appliances, cars, power generation equipment – in essentially every physical object in our daily lives — all collect data, the net effect of which is reduced power consumption. 

Here’s a good article describing GE’s transformation away from gadgetry and into analytics


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4 comments on “Low-hanging Fruit in Greenhouse Gas Reduction: Energy Efficiency
  1. Frank Eggers says:

    I’m sorry, but although improving efficiency should be done, by itself it will make little difference on a global basis. Even if we in the U.S. could cut energy usage in half by improving energy efficiency, which is very doubtful anyway, that would not be nearly enough.

    Global energy usage must increase BY AT LEAST FIVE TIMES to lift all the world’s poor people out of poverty, deal with the global warming that is already inevitable, and desalinate water. That does not even include the transportation sector. That means that on a global basis, we must GET AT LEAST 90% of our energy from clean sources, including for transportation. Anything less will be inadequate to reduce global warming to an acceptable degree.

    Renewables, because of their intermittent nature, cannot replace 90% of fossil fuel burning plants and provide enough energy for transportation. Renewables depend on fossil fuel burning plants for back-up power when the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining.

    It is possible that at some future date, other renewables, perhaps geothermal power, will make it possible to generate 90% of our power from clean sources, but it would be foolish to depend on something that has not yet proven to be practical.

    • Craig Shields says:

      Your statement, “…improving efficiency will make little difference on a global basis” is totally untrue. I urge you to do a little research. Here, for instance, is a talk by Amory Lovins, one of the world’s most respected environmental scientists, on the subject: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIFdcvpwu_c. I’ve met him a couple of times and listened to him deliver talks on the topic. He and his people have done a ridiculous amount of extremely important work here.

      • Frank Eggers says:

        Even if we in the U.S. eliminated ALL use of fossil fuels, on a global basis it would make little difference if all the poor countries of the world got all of their energy from fossil fuels and, in addition, increased their energy use enough to lift everyone out of poverty.

        I rarely watch Internet videos. Even though I have a fast Internet connection, videos usually take far too long to load. Then, after they are finally loaded, there is usually a time-wasting cutsy introduction. However, I’ll read anything that doesn’t take excessively long to load.

        Actually, I delete about 2/3 of my e-mails without reading them, often based on prior knowledge of how long it will take to download them.

  2. Frank Eggers says:

    Here is a rather lengthy article that discusses several different reactor designs, some of which are surely better than the pressurized water and boiling water reactors that we are currently using:


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