Amory Lovins: We must win the oil endgame [Video, TED]

Invention is the sudden cessation of stupidity – Edwin Land

Listening to Amory Lovins give a talk is a bit like having someone unscrew your head and … pour copious amounts of data inside. You were expecting some sort of Full Metal Jacket reference. No, no, it’s much more pleasant than that.

He gave a similar version of the talk above at the Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Conference last October which I must admit I preferred. There was just more chance for exposition and exploring a lot of the points he brings up.

The one I found most intriguing, being a sucker for historical analogies, was his comparison of current thinking about peak oil and the decline of the whaling industry in the 1800s. His main assertion seemed to be that reports of the impending catastrophe are greatly exaggerated. More specifically, people/companies are not going to just stand there waiting for certain death like deer caught in headlights. Rather they will innovate, change, move out of the way. As oil becomes more and more expensive, consumers, et al will drive the move to other fuel sources well before we get to the last drop.

Lovins also spoke about his work with Wal-mart and what “going green” has allowed them to do for their bottom line. Apparently, every 1.5 mile improvement is gas mileage for their trucks drops over $4 million dollars from their bottom line.

I recommend reading viewer comments to the TED talk on their Blog.

His “Winning the Oil End Game” talk [pdf]