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Amory Lovins

Chairman Emeritus
Chief Scientist
Co-founder
RMI Trustee
  • Executive Leadership
  • Office of the Chief Scientist

Physicist Amory Lovins (1947), FRSA, is cofounder and Chief Scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute (www.rmi.org); energy advisor to major firms and governments in 65+ countries for 40+ years; author of 31 books and more than 600 papers; and an integrative designer of superefficient buildings, factories, and vehicles.

He has received the Blue Planet, Volvo, Zayed, Onassis, Nissan, Shingo, and Mitchell Prizes, the MacArthur and Ashoka Fellowships, the Happold, Benjamin Franklin, and Spencer Hutchens Medals, 12 honorary doctorates, and the Heinz, Lindbergh, Right Livelihood (“alternative Nobel”), National Design, and World Technology Awards. In 2016, the President of Germany awarded him the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse).

A Harvard and Oxford dropout, former Oxford don, honorary US architect, and Swedish engineering academician, he has taught at ten universities, most recently Stanford’s Engineering School and the Naval Postgraduate School (but only on topics he’s never studied, so as to retain beginner’s mind). He served in 2011–18 on the National Petroleum Council. Time has named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people, and Foreign Policy, one of the 100 top global thinkers. His latest books include Natural Capitalism (1999, www.natcap.org), Small Is Profitable (2002, www.smallisprofitable.org), Winning the Oil Endgame (2004, www.oilendgame.com), The Essential Amory Lovins (2011), and Reinventing Fire (2011, www.reinventingfire.com).

His main recent efforts include supporting RMI’s collaborative synthesis, for China’s National Development and Reform Commission, of an ambitious efficiency-and-renewables trajectory that informed the 13th Five Year Plan; helping the Government of India design transformational mobility; and exploring how to make integrative design the new normal, so investments to energy efficiency can yield expanding rather than diminishing returns.

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Basalt, CO

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@AmoryLovins

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Authored Works
insight

Nuclear Spread: The Cure Begins at Home

In this New York Times op-ed, Amory Lovins commends the paper for calling attention to the link between nuclear power and nuclear weapons, and provides further commentary about the social, political, and economic logic of pursuing a non-nuclear energy future. Lovins argues that energy efficiency measures and alternative energy sources…

insight

Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken

In this landmark piece from 1976, Amory Lovins describes the two energy choices then facing the nation. There is the “hard path” and the “soft path.” The hard path resembles federal policy of the time and is essentially an extrapolation of the recent past. The hard path relies on rapid…

insight

Plutonium Particles: Some Like Them Hot

This report by Amory Lovins and Walter Patterson is a response to the controversy of the toxicity of plutonium. The Medical Research Council’s 1975 report, The Toxicity of Plutonium concludes that “there is no evidence that irradiation by ‘hot particles’ in the Img is markedly more hazardous than the same…

insight

Thermal Limits to World Energy Use

In this slightly simplified version of a technical paper first circulated in 1970, Amory Lovins argues that “heat released by man’s rapidly increasing energy-use may seriously perturb global climate in less than 100 years. He argues that until the climate issue is completely understood, it is risky and imprudent to…

insight

Rock Bottom: Nearing the Limits of Metal Mining in Britain

While serving as the British representative for Friends of the Earth, Amory Lovins wrote this letter to Lord Zuckerman, Chairman of Britain’s Independent Commission on Mining and the Environment. In this reprint published by The Ecologist, Lovins argues that elegant resource frugality stands as a more logical, sensible and natural…