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Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving…

Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use: The New Report to the… (1998)

by Ernst U. von Weizsäcker, Amory B. Lovins, L. Hunter Lovins

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Professor John Shepherd has chosen to discuss Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use , on FiveBooks(http://five-books.com) as one of the top five on his subject – Science and Climate Change, saying that:

“ … The book is about how we don’t have to go back to living in stone caves and wearing hair shirts in order to sort this problem. If we use our intelligence we could achieve this factor four, which is expressed as doubling wealth and halving resources. And that is quite an appealing message. ….”

The full interview is available here: http://thebrowser.com/books/interviews/john-shepherd ( )
  FiveBooks | Feb 17, 2010 |
As a book of ideas it is excellent. As a read it is not nearly so satisfying, which is a real shame.

However, those ideas make it a worthwhile read if you are interested in solutions to environmental problems that are economically and scientifically feasible, and, one would like think, politically acceptable.

Quite apart from technical fixes - why aren't we all driving round in hypercars? why aren't all new buildings made to passivhaus standards? - which would make everyone better off, it also suggests solutions to problems with the market system, using, to a large extent market mechanisms. Thought provoking stuff: for example a local government in California wanted to allow new housing in the town but new the water supply was not sufficient. The solution was to tell developers that they could only get planning permission for a new house if they saved twice its projected water usage elsewhere in the existing water system. Developers were happy to do this (incorporating the cost in the cost of the new houses), smart entrepeneurs set up companies to do it for them, existing householders were approached with offers of free new bathrooms (the smart ones refused and were able to charge for the privilege), and the town used less not more water afterwards... imagine applying that approach to energy conservation.

So full of ideas (some of course better than others) but probably not one to read cover to cover. ( )
  daniel.links | Sep 26, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Weizsäcker, Ernst U. vonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lovins, Amory B.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Lovins, L. Huntermain authorall editionsconfirmed
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