BOOK REVIEW: Factor Four - Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use

Dispatch from SSC Intern Julie Holst

I recently finished a thought provoking book called Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use by Ernst Von Weizsacker, Amory B. Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins. I was excited to read this book because Von Weisacker just retired from being the Dean of my department at school. He has also previously served as the policy director at the United Nations Centre for Science and Technology for Development, director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy, president of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, and Energy, and member of the Bundestag (the federal parliament of Germany, where he was appointed chairman of the Environmental Committee). I was fortunate enough to enrol in his “Resource Productivity” class at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UCSB in which I learned all about this book.

Factor Four outlines how resource productivity can - and should - grow fourfold. If it does, we can live twice as well, yet use half as much! It focuses on solutions rather than problems and makes a persuasive case for accelerating the pace of change. Chapters cover a wide range of topics including Energy, Transport, Materials, Profitability, and Tax Reform. I highly recommend reading Factor Four. If you like it, you can look forward to Factor Five, which is scheduled to be published next year.

You can purchase the book here.