29 June 2009

Energy Leapfrogging ~ Scalable Consumption Too

Jonas Meckling just wrote in The Energy Grid about Leapfrogging to a cleaner energy future by developing countries learning-lessons from older rich. But cleaner energy production via solar or nuclear or cleaner carbon is only part of the leap. More scalable energy consumption is as important. "Scalable" means things which can work for billions of people tomorrow, not merely the rich millions of today. Relevant approaches include things like:
  • Developing ecologically integrated cities with greenroofs (e.g. Chicago), big garden commons (e.g. NYC or London or Singapore or Hong Kong), high density, reliable infrastructure, etc;
  • Operating dense cities with functioning mass transit instead of sprawling burbs where one needs a car to go to the corner grocery store;
  • Crafting bicycle-friendly and pedestrian-savvy cities;
  • Using electricity for urban mobility via RoboScooters, Greenwheels on bikes, and systemic electric auto solutions like Better Place;
  • Constructing energy-efficient buildings tuned to local conditions;
And so forth. Do all these (and more) and developing countries can leapfrog over all the bad urban planning decisions fueled by cheap oil and un-internalized externalities.

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