When R. James Woolsey talks about energy, in his reasoning there are three people at the table: John Muir, Gen. George S. Patton and Mahatma Gandhi.
Muir was a Scottish-born American naturalist, author and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. Patton was one of the most successful combat generals in U.S. history. Gandhi was an Indian lawyer and activist who was a leader of India’s non-violent, non-cooperative independence movement against the United Kingdom’s rule of the country during the 20th century.
Woolsey, former director of the CIA and chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said Muir’s perspective would inform the discussion on global climate change. As a strategist, Patton would advise on what wars have been fought over energy and how that relates to national security. Gandhi would bring an eye to the millions with no access to energy and how they implement alternative fuel sources, such as cow manure, to produce a meal.
“We need an approach with all these considerations because our reliance on one source makes us vulnerable to terrorists,” Woolsey said. “We plan all these huge projects that never get built when we could be looking at solar cells and batteries rather than a giant, not-fully-constructed grid. We need to find a way that is simple and available at a village level.”
Woolsey will join longtime colleague Amory Lovins, co-founder, chairman and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, for a presentation called “What’s Energy Got to Do With It? Everything!” which will be part of the Sun Valley Wellness Festival this weekend. They will speak Saturday, May 25, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Sun Valley Resort. Tickets start at $10 for students to $70 for premium seating.
Both men’s focus is on energy “one way or the other,” Woolsey said. “Amory and I are on the same page—we like the road not taken. We’ve agreed on almost everything over the years. He is more interested in hydrogen that I was.”
Lovins provided this statement : “Our energy future—with all its implications for our health and security—is not fate but choice. The United States could run a 2.6-fold bigger economy in 2050 with no coal, oil, or nuclear energy, one-third less natural gas, a $5 trillion lower cost, and 82-86 percent lower carbon emissions, needing no new inventions and no acts of Congress—the transition led by business for profit. Each of you owns a piece of that prize and can pursue it for whatever reasons you think best.”
“What’s Energy Got to Do With it? Everything.”
Amory Lovins and R. James Woolsey.
Who are they?
Lovins is an American physicist, environmental scientist, writer and Chairman/Chief Scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute, a Colorado-based think tank. He has worked in the field of energy policy and related areas for four decades. He has promoted energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy sources and the generation of energy at or near the site where the energy is actually used.
Ambassador Woolsey has held important positions in both Democratic and Republican administrations. His influence has been felt during the administrations of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Woolsey is also known for clearly articulating the national security argument in support of moving away from fossil fuels and towards distributed generation. He also advocates for measures to fight global warming and against global-warming skeptics.