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When first published in 1997, Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Useby renowned economic and engineering experts Ernst von Weizsäcker, Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins, transformed how economists, policy makers, engineers, entrepreneurs and business leaders thought about innovation and wealth creation. Through examples from a wide range of industrial sectors, the authors demonstrated how technical innovation could cut resource use in half while doubling wealth. Now twelve years on, with climate change at the top of the world agenda and the new economic giants of China and India needing ever more resources, there is a unique historic opportunity to scale up resources efficiency and radically transform the global economy. And Factor Fiveis the book set to change all of this. Picking up where Factor Fourleft off, this new book examines the past 15 years of innovation in industry, technical innovation and policy. It shows how and where factor four gains have been made and how we can achieve greater factor five or 80%+ improvements in resource and energy productivity and how to roll them out on a global scale to retool our economic system, massively boost wealth for billions of people around the world and help solve the climate change crises. Spanning dozens of countries including China and India and examining innumerable cases of innovation in design, technology and policy, the authors leave no engineering and economic stone unturned in their quest for excellence. The book tackles sustainable development and climate change, energy productivity, the built environment, transport and industry, material productivity including steel, concrete and timber, chemistry, engineering, water efficiency and sustainable agriculture. It also looks at innovation in regulation to increase resource productivity, pricing, carbon trading, eco-taxation and permits and the role of international institutions and trade. The authors also explain exciting new concepts such as bio-mimicry and whole system design, as hallmarks for a new generation of technologies . The last part of the book explores transformative ideas such as a long term trajectory of gently rising energy and resource prices, and new concepts of well-being in a more equitable world. Like its predecessor this book is simply the most important work on the future of innovation, business, economics and policy and is top drawer reading for leaders across all sectors including business and industry, government, engineering and design and teaching.
Ernest von Weizsacker was founding president of the University of Kassel, Germany.