With the great and the good in Paris thrashing out a deal to prevent climate change, is it perhaps time to think about using less energy? I understand that an authority in the field suggests that many of the proposed solutions to climate change like alternative and renewable energy sources might not be as green as we think. The trouble is that the production of wind turbines and solar panels all generate CO2. Indeed it is suggested that making them contributes more to CO2 emissions than they save during their operational lives. If this is true... Oops!
All of which brings me to using less energy. Surely the starting point, even in developing countries, should be how to use the very minimum of energy rather than to repeat the bad habits of the developed world? One only has to look at any modern city at night to see how much energy is wasted lighting skyscraper office blocks with no one in them. Satellite images show just how much energy is being used to light urban areas at night. Is that really necessary?
Lean thinking has long provided a method for reducing waste in manufacturing, services and the public sector. The 2002 report Lean Profit Potential from the Lean Enterprise Research Centre at Cardiff University yielded some staggering information. Whether in manufacturing or what the report called information industries, approximately half of all activity was found to be waste. Yes, you read that correctly, HALF!
So on the face of it by working leaner enables huge energy savings to be a significant benefit from the world working leaner. That doesn't take into account what could be further achieved by applying lean thinking to both energy production and the efficiency with which it is consumed. Surely a low energy revolution technical wave as great as we are seeing with internet must be possible. Indeed the internet of things is already here to help.
So tell me about why developing countries like China, for example, (sorry guys) want to increase coal-based electricity generation by 25%? Why not be innovators at the forefront of low-energy technology?
And we can start tomorrow! Just by turning off those office lights, perhaps?