Public Lecture: Amory B. Lovins, 'Reinventing Fire: Profitable Solutions to Climate, Oil, and Proliferation'

Past Event

24 November 2010, 6:30pm - 8:00pm

Merton College
Merton Street, Oxford OX1 4JD

Amory B. Lovins, Chairman and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute

Abstract: A prosperous, secure, and climate-stable world must shift from fossil fuels to efficient use and benign supply. The pieces of this puzzle are now falling into place in a detailed synthesis underway at Rocky Mountain Institute, focusing chiefly on oil and electricity, for publication in mid-2011. The off-oil roadmap RMI published in 2004 (, at an average cost of US$15 per barrel in year-2000 dollars, is now looking conservative, as key technologies and implementation methods have evolved more quickly than expected. As for electricity, the rapidly emerging shift from wasteful to highly efficient end-use (often with expanding returns via integrative design) and from central thermal power stations to distributed renewable sources looks cheaper, less risky, and more resilient than present arrangements or plans. Thus defossilizing fuels can be led by business for profit. The main obstacles to achieving this in the UK are in the realm not of technology or economics but of public policy.

Biography: Physicist Amory Lovins, FRSA, is Chairman and Chief Scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute ( and Chairman of Fiberforge Corporation ( His wide-ranging innovations in energy, security, environment, and development have been recognised by the Blue Planet, Volvo, Onassis, Nissan, Shingo, and Mitchell Prizes, MacArthur and Ashoka Fellowships, the Benjamin Franklin and Happold Medals, 11 honourary doctorates, honourary membership of the American Institute of Architects, Foreign Membership of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, and the Heinz, Lindbergh, Right Livelihood, [US] National Design, and World Technology Awards. He advises governments and major firms worldwide on advanced energy and resource efficiency, has briefed 20 heads of state, and has led the technical redesign of more than $30 billion worth of industrial facilities in 29 sectors to achieve very large energy savings at typically lower capital cost. An Advanced Student of Magdalen (1967-69) and Junior Research Fellow of Merton (1969-71), he lived in the UK 1967-81. He has published 29 books and hundreds of papers and has taught at eight universities, most recently as a 2007 visiting professor in Stanford University’s School of Engineering. In 2009, Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and Foreign Policy, one of the 100 top global thinkers.

This lecture is free and open to the public. To reserve a place, please register at: