One of the most annoying things about the run-up to Obama's inauguration is that everyone has advice for the poor man, from what kind of dog to get to what kind of food to eat. However the New York Times has devoted some significant real estate, the top editorial the day before he takes over, to deliver some good advice on the importance of efficiency.
Obviously, game-changing technologies will play a big role in cutting America’s consumption of fossil fuels. They will also be essential to achieving the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that most scientists think will be necessary to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. But as it frames its strategy to deal with both problems, the Obama administration cannot overlook the low-hanging fruit — the gains to be had from making existing technologies more efficient.
It's the efficiency, stupid; almost 60% of the energy in the fuel input is lost in generation and transmission
The Times Editorialist concludes:
A study by McKinsey & Company last year argued that most of the carbon abatement needed between now and 2030 could be achieved with existing technologies, things like insulating homes, improving fuel efficiency, and switching to concentrated laundry detergents to reduce packaging and transport costs. Merely improving transmissions would vastly increase fuel economy.
A quantum jump in energy efficiency will still require political leadership. Cheap energy has kept America from making the necessary investments. Yet they must be made; neither the country nor the atmosphere can wait for high tech to ride to the rescue.
New York Times
More on Efficiency in TreeHugger:
Plan B Efficiency And Conservation Measures Drop Energy Demand By 2020
Resolve for Energy Efficiency
Efficiency is Crucial to a Green Future
It's The Efficiency, Stupid: New York Times Gets It Right This Time
Efficiency Works Forever