Reinventing Fire: Profitable Solutions to Climate, Oil, and Proliferation

02 December 2010

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.