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Laitner J.A.,Economic and Human Dimensions Research Associates
Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions | Year: 2013

The global economy is not particularly energy-efficient. At current levels of consumption the U.S. economy, for example, is an anemic 14% efficient - which means that the United States wastes about 86% of the energy now burned to maintain its economy. Most recently, Laitner et al. (2012) documented an array of untapped cost-effective energy efficiency resources roughly equivalent to 250 billion barrels of oil. That is a sufficient scale that would enable the U.S. to cut total energy needs in half compared to business-as-usual projections for the year 2050, and still maintain a robust economy. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Source


Laitner J.A.S.,Economic and Human Dimensions Research Associates
Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing | Year: 2015

The global economy is not particularly energy-efficient. At current levels of consumption, we now waste about 86 % of the energy now used to maintain economic activity. This magnitude of waste imposes huge costs that constrain the robustness of the world economy. At the same time, however, there is an array of untapped cost-effective energy efficiency resources that can restore both energy and economic efficiency. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) may be the key to unlocking that potential. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015. Source


Laitner J.A.,Economic and Human Dimensions Research Associates
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment | Year: 2015

The evidence continues to mount. Energy efficiency is not just a way to save big money for households and business, or to achieve cost-effective and very big reductions in greenhouse gas emissions; it is also a critical resource if the United States is to maintain the robustness of its economy. In short, the efficient use of energy plays a more prominent role in the economic process than is generally understood. But the role of high-quality energy as it enable economic activity is badly defined and poorly tracked within the standard national economic accounts. The analysis builds on a new set of data and insights indicating that, based in 2010 data, the U.S. economy is only 14% energy efficient. In other words, our economic activity wastes 86% of the energy used in the production and distribution of goods and services. This level of energy inefficiency imposes an array of costs that constrain the robustness of the American economy. This assessment explores new terms and concepts-many of which are familiar to physicists and engineers, but have not generally become part of normal policy discussion. As a result, the current system of economic accounts (which tracks employment, investment, and income) limits insights and understanding about: (1) the current dynamics of productivity improvements and routine economic activity; and (2) the mix of price signals, policies, and incentives designed to redirect purposeful effort and productive investment. Applying these insights has the potential to transform the economy into one that provides both social and environmental well-being, and that is also sustainable over the long run. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source


Ayres R.U.,INSEAD | Campbell C.J.,Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas | Casten T.R.,Recycled Energy Development | Horne P.J.,315 North Pitt Street | And 7 more authors.
Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions | Year: 2013

The complex relationship between economic growth, job creation, peak oil and climate change is discussed. This starts from seven facts and leads to five propositions to deal with the consequences of these facts. The overall message is that global economic policy should be redirected, that we need a better understanding of the reasons for the current economic malaise, that "peak oil" remains a concern (despite shale "fracking"), and that climate change is a relevant economic issue demanding a serious response. There is probably only one strategy that has a chance of reversing the present "death spiral" of the global economy and simultaneously reducing the risk of catastrophic climate change. That path requires major investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in the near and medium term. The investments must be attractive to long-run (20-30 year) investors (pension funds, insurance companies) and probably take the form of securitized, resource-based bonds. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Source


Laitner J.A.S.,Economic and Human Dimensions Research Associates
Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences | Year: 2014

The evidence continues to mount. As our industrial economy continues to dump large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, we are affecting the atmospheric chemistry of the global climate. This has led prominent physicist and climate scientist James Hansen to reach the "startling conclusion" that the continued exploitation of fossil fuels threatens not only the planet, but also the survival of humanity itself. At the same time, however, the evidence also suggests that the lagging rate of energy productivity is among the critical reasons for both a slumping economy and an imperiled climate. Hansen further suggests the backbone of a strategy to ensure a "global phaseout" of all fossil fuels is to encourage "a rising price on carbon." This paper suggests we can achieve the same result in a less costly manner through cost-effective energy efficiency programs and standards. This action will require a smaller carbon charge even as we strengthen the robustness of the larger economy. © 2013 AESS. Source

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