Soft Energy Paths: Towards a Durable Peace

Lovins, Amory B. | from Multimedia Library Collection:
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Amory B. Lovins. Soft Energy Paths. Cover (1979)

Lovins, Amory B. Soft Energy Paths: Towards a Durable Peace. New York: Harper & Row, 1979.

In 1976 energy policy analyst Amory Lovins coined the term “soft energy path” to describe an alternative future where energy efficiency and appropriate renewable energy sources steadily replace a centralized energy system based on fossil and nuclear fuels. 

Lovins argued that the United States had arrived at an important crossroads and could take one of two paths. The first, supported by US policy, promised a future of steadily increasing reliance on dirty fossil fuels and nuclear fission, and had serious environmental risks. The alternative, which Lovins called “the soft path,” favored “benign” sources of renewable energy like wind power and solar power, along 
with a heightened commitment to energy conservation and energy efficiency. 

Lovins explained that the most profound difference between the soft and hard paths—the difference that ultimately distinguishes them—is their different socio-political impact.

Soft Energy Paths can be seen as historic milestone: Lovins’ ideas are fundamental to a general understanding and conceptual overview of why we need to move away from expensive, high-tech energy solutions toward sustainable technologies and conservation measures. (Text adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)