Energy Efficiency and Sustainability: New Paradigms
Ashok Gadgil and Gilberto Jannuzzi called for an informal meeting of
those interested in
discussing "Energy Efficiency and Sustainability -- New Paradigms" on
the afternoon of the first
day of the ACEEE Asilomar meeting: August 26, 1996. The basis of the
discussion was the
note prepared by Amulya Reddy for IEI regarding the need for a
coalition of young energy
analysts to initiate thinking about the next major energy and
development paradigm that should
become the conventional paradigm of the major institutions 20 years
Ashok Gadgil explained the background of this note and his previous
discussions with Amulya
Reddy, and then read out the full text of the IEI note to the group.
Somewhat to our surprise, about 25 persons turned up. Most of them
(except the latecomers)
signed up on a circulated sheet. (see list at the end of this note).
Unfortunately, there were not many participants from the developing
world at this ACEEE conference (perhaps owing to there being no
fellowships for the conference registration costs, as was the
case with a previous ACEEE summer study).
The group discussed a number of themes in relation to Amulya's
challenge. The discussion
lasted for about 2 hours.
At the onset, some of the attendees were of the opinion that the
current "4" (this is a shorthand
for the group humorously called the 'gang of 4') paradigm is not
outdated in the first place. We
have won a few battles, but not the war. There may be only lip service
from the major
institutions to the energy efficiency and development paradigm, but
substantial action to back it
up is still not here.
Some said that many of the issues raised by "4" paradigm still exist,
and that policies and actions
are still in their early stages. However, the least that one needs to
do is update the Johansson et
al book on Energy for Sustainable Development, and also add to it a
section on economics of the
However, many in the group felt that there are indeed a number of
issues which are better
understood at this point, that may justify a paradigm shift.
The "4" paradigm treats energy as unique. This is no longer adequate.
We now need to take this
approach to broader issues extending it non-energy areas, such as other
Unfortunately, the "4" paradigm has been misinterpreted in some places
as a "technical fix"
viewpoint. This has been the prevailing viewpoint, for example, in the
analyses coming from
some institutions. The "technical fix" is seen as unsustainable and
unsatisfactory, since one may
increase the material efficiency of a technology, but at the same time,
use more of the end
services (e.g., US cars have become more fuel efficient per kg of car,
but in recent years their
weights have increased faster than unit efficiency gains on a per-kg
basis). It is important to
sharpen the distinction between a sustainable development approach
based on energy efficiency,
and a technical fix approach supporting increasing consumerism and
Twenty years ago, energy consumption growth was a sacred thing. The
"4" paradigm helped
dethrone that concept. Energy consumption growth is no longer a totem.
However, we are still
far from winning the war in terms of how we fund energy efficiency in
This leads to the next area of discussion, that of quality of life. In
the developed and
undeveloped world alike, there is increasing evidence that our current
pattern of consumption is
leading to a degradation of quality of life in the form of health
problems, high crime rates, and
general social unrest. There seemed to be a consensus that it is
important to begin to make
explicit the links between energy efficiency and such issues as 1)
cutting health problems related
to air pollution and energy extraction and conversion, 2) the creation
of jobs in the production
and installation of efficient products, and 3) the improved level of
service from modern
technology (i.e. worker productivity, etc.). On the other hand
quality of life is the common
starting point driving consumption on both the industrial and
developing countries, and addresses
many of the non-energy issues as well (such as social equity, personal
environment, education, material efficiency, natural resource
exhaustion, etc.). Thus this could
prove a possible starting point for a fresh look for a new paradigm.
Many felt that in the past, energy efficiency has been pushed largely
on its direct economic
benefits (lower energy bills), as opposed to its environmental
benefits, which are often less
quantifiable. A new emphasis on second and third order benefits might
go a long way towards
making energy efficiency a more attractive option for developing
countries, not to mention
A closely related issue is that of how to effectively advocate energy
efficiency in the developing
world. The group noted that too often, energy efficiency is touted as
a way to avoid costly dams
or polluting power plants. However, a focus on the positive might be a
better spin. For example,
in countries where there is limited power to light a town, every
incandescent bulb replaced with a compact fluorescent lamp, in turn,
can save enough power to also power four other compact fluorescents in
homes that have no electric lighting.
This stress, though subtle, is important. Instead of
telling an individual household to use less energy (which still has its own
merits) one can provide four
times as many residents with light. The positive spin is that the
standard of living is being raised
by adopting the technology.
Another issue that emerged was the thinking of some of the participants
that social equity should
to be given more attention and emphasis in the next paradigm. It is
unclear if the world will be a
pleasant place if the growth in inequity in consumption and skewness of
wealth distribution are
not addressed in some way.
Most agreed that the challenge posed by the IEI memo is a difficult
one; however, there was a no
sense that it was inappropriately or arrogantly posed.
Ashok Gadgil offered that he will send by e-mail a summary of the
finding to any of the
participants who care to give him their e-mail address, and also send
the summary to Amulya
Reddy. Scott McGarghan offered to help draft a part of the summary and
send it to Ashok.
Many members in the group remarked that the IEI position on this matter
was a open minded
one, offering warm hearted support to the next round of path-breaking
thinking on this matter.
One possibility for the next step is to undertake e-mail discussion on
this matter before a
Participant's list (partial), with affiliations
1. Blum, Petgil Stanford U.
2. Connor, Steve Colvin Engineering Associates
3. Dolin, Janice US EPA
4. duPont, Peter U. of Delaware / IIEC
5. Fraser, Marion SRC, Canada
6. Friedmann, Rafael UC Berkeley, ERG
7. Gadgil, Ashok LBNL
8. Hibbard, Craig Global Env. Options (GEO)
9. Jannuzzi, Gilberto UNICAMP, Brazil
10. Kulakowski, Susan UC Berkeley, ERG
11. Legro, Susan PNL
12. Lord, Dreidre U. of Delaware / IIEC
13. Masters, Gil Stanford U.
14. McGarghan, Scott US DOE
15. Nordman, Bruce LBNL
16. Pfendt, Horst Chevron Real Estate Management
17. Rosenfeld, Art US DOE / LBNL
18. Sylvan, Stephan US EPA
19. Tran, Sinh Seattle City Lights
20. Young, Rahul Stanford U.
Ashok Gadgil, MS 90-3058, LBNL, Berkeley, CA 94720 USA
Phone +(1) 510-486-4651, Fax: +(1) 510-486-6658
preferred respose e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear ENews readers,
Last year, Prof. Amulya Reddy (founder and President of International
Energy Initiative) wrote a memo to the Board of Directors of IEI which is
reproduced below with his permission.
In response to this memo, Gilberto Jannuzzi and I organized an informal
session at the 1996 summer-meeting of American Council for an Energy
Efficient Economy (ACEEE) in Asilomar, CA. We invited anyone
interested in the topic of "a new energy paradigm" to this meeting. At
the meeting, we first discussed the memo below, and then had an open
discussion. The meeting was surprisingly well attended.
The memo (below) and a summary of the meeting at ACEEE are being posted
on ENews with the hope (and expectation) that there will be more
discussion on ENews on this important topic among ENews readers -- both
those who attended and those who couldn't attend the ACEEE meeting.
The summary of the meeting at the ACEEE summer study will follow this
with best wishes,
-- Ashok Gadgil
Dr. Ashok Gadgil, Mailstop 90-3058
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94720 USA
Phone: +(1)(510) 486-4651 Fax: +(1)(510) 486-6658
preferred reply e-mail: email@example.com
Memo from Prof. Amulya Reddy to the Board of IEI
TOWARDS A COALITION OF YOUNG ENERGY ANALYSTS
"Energy for a Sustainable World" was written in the early 1980s by Jose
Goldemberg, Thomas Johansson, Amulya Reddy and Robert Williams (joking
referred to as the "Gang of Four"). The book contributed to the
formulation of a new "energy paradigm" based amongst other things on
energy services (as distinct from energy consumption), renewables,
efficiency improvements (particularly in end-uses), and technological
"leapfrogging" in developing countries. All this is now considered
conventional wisdom. And the more recent concerns about global warming
and greenhouse gases have only strengthened the conclusions of the work
of Goldemberg, Johansson, Reddy and Williams.
Perhaps a good measure of the influence of the work of Goldemberg,
Johansson, Reddy and Williams is that their vision was incorporated in
the influential "Brundtland Report" which lead to UNCED 92 (The United
Nations Conference on Environment and Development) in Rio de Janeiro.
Their thinking has also become the basis of mainstream institutions such
as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, etc.
The Goldemberg, Johansson, Reddy and Williams team displayed several
* each one of the four had an established track record in energy
analysis before they started collaborating,
* they had established careers and did not look to the collaboration as
a career path,
* notwithstanding the collaboration, they continued to work in their
national institutions, and therefore their collaboration did not need an
organizational or institutional umbrella,
* they were committed to need-oriented self-reliant environmentally
sound development, and were therefore intensely concerned about equity,
empowerment and the environment,
* they brought to their work a scientific/technological background of
competence, and they shared a vision of energy as an instrument of
development and global progress of technologies a crucial mechanism for
energy to play this role.
Since then a new generation of energy analysts has emerged both in the
industrialized and developing countries. Many of these analysts were
particularly stimulated by the work of IPCC (The Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change) which facilitated attendance at international
meetings and promoted work on concerns related to the "greenhouse
effect". Unfortunately, these activities have not led to significant
collaborative work between northern and southern energy analysts with an
integration of their disparate perceptions. This is one of the reasons
that some governments tend to view IPCC Reports as representing
primarily the views and interests of the industrialized countries.
The challenge therefore is for a new coalition of young energy analysts.
This coalition must collaborate in replacing the work of Goldemberg,
Johansson, Reddy and Williams. It must also ensure a balanced
integration of the perceptions of the north and south along with
technical competence and social consciousness.
This coalition has not arisen spontaneously. Hence, it is opportune and
appropriate that an effort be made to initiate such a coalition of
northern and southern analysts who have a commitment to
basic-needs-oriented, self-reliant and environmentally sound
development. The collaboration thus induced should clarify, enlarge,
extend or reformulate the "new energy paradigm" and generate new
analysis to substantiate it.
To launch this effort, IEI plans to organize a workshop next fall that
will hopefully produce an enriched version of the new energy paradigm
and induce at least some of the participants to collaborate in its
elaboration. In particular, the workshop envisages two specific outputs:
(1) a detailed statement of the new energy paradigm,
(2) suggestions and volunteers for work that would lead to elaboration
of the new energy paradigm.
Depending on the quality of these outputs IEI will consider their
publication in a special issue of its journal ENERGY FOR SUSTAINABLE
IEI plans to issue invitations to energy analysts who
* are interested in this process
* are young,
* have an established track record in energy analysis,
* have established careers and do not look to the collaboration as a
* will continue to work in their national institutions, and therefore do
not need no organizational or institutional umbrella,
* are committed to basic-needs-oriented self-reliant environmentally
sound development, and are therefore intensely concerned about equity,
empowerment and the environment, and
* view energy as an instrument of development and global progress and
technology as a crucial mechanism for energy to play this role, and
* are technically competent/aware.