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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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Energy/Security Audience

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Authored Works
insight

Learning From Japan’s Nuclear Disaster

In this article written in response to the Japanese nuclear crisis in 2011, Amory Lovins explains why nuclear energy is costly and dangerous and a poor alternative to renewable energy sources. Lovins argues that American nuclear plants are as risky as the Japanese plants and that there are lessons to…

insight

Would the World be Better off Without Nuclear Power?

In April, 2011, Amory Lovins participated in an online debate for The Economist on whether the world would be better off without nuclear power. In Lovins’ debate piece, he presents evidence to show that new nuclear build is uneconomic and unnecessary.

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Soft Energy Paths for the 21st Century

Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked Amory Lovins to outline his reaction to the Fukushima disaster and his suggestions for Japanese and U.S. energy policy for its house magazine Gaiko (Diplomacy). An abridged version was published 30 July 2011 in Japanese and is cited in this unabridged English version. It’s…

insight

Renewable Energy’s Footprint” Myth”

Many nuclear advocates argue that renewable electricity has far too big a land ‘footprint’ to be environmentally acceptable, while nuclear power is preferable because it uses orders of magnitude less land. If we assume that land-use is an important metric, a closer look reveals the opposite is true.

insight

Response to RADM Robert G. James (USNR Ret.)’s 2 August 2011 Wall Street Journal op-ed Of Mustard Fuel and Marines

Former Naval and CIA officer and oil-industry executive Robert James claimed that military interest in advanced biofuels is a green fad and compromises combat effectiveness. Amory Lovins, who’s helped to lead military energy reform for three decades, corrects Dr. James’s misconceptions and misrepresentations in this comment posted on 3 August…

Outlet Blog Post

Learning From Japan’s Nuclear Disaster

As heroic workers and soldiers strive to save stricken Japan from a new horror—radioactive fallout—some truths known for 40 years bear repeating. An earthquake-and-tsunami zone crowded with 127 million people is an unwise place for 54 reactors. The 1960s design of five Fukushima-I reactors has the smallest safety margin and probably can't contain 90 percent of meltdowns. The U.S. has six identical and 17 very similar plants.

insight

Freeing America from its Addiction to Oil

This article was originally published on CNN.com in 2010 and expands on Amory Lovins’ TED talk from 2005. In the article, Lovins describes the progress made since RMI’s 2004 book, Winning the Oil Endgame. In recent years, implementation of the ideas in Winning the Oil Endgame has accelerated, led largely…