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The Way Out: Kick-starting Capitalism to Save Our Economic Ass

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Believe in climate change. Or don't. It doesn't matter.

But you'd better understand this: the best route to rebuilding our economy, our cities, and our job markets, as well as assuring national security, is doing precisely what you would do if you were scared to death about climate change. Whether you're the head of a household or the CEO of a multinational corporation, embracing efficiency, innovation, renewables, carbon markets, and new technologies is the smartest decision you can make. It's the most profitable, too. And, oh yes--you'll help save the planet.

In The Way Out, L. Hunter Lovins, coauthor of the bestselling Natural Capitalism, and the sustainability expert Boyd Cohen prove that the future of capitalism in a recession-riddled, carbon-constrained world will be built on innovations that cutting-edge leaders are bringing to the market today. These companies are creating jobs and driving innovation.

The Way Out delivers hundreds of in-depth case studies of international corporations, small businesses, NGOs, and municipalities to prove that energy efficiency and renewable resources are already driving prosperity. While highlighting business opportunities across a range of sectors--including energy, construction, transportation, and agriculture technologies--Lovins and Cohen also show why the ex-CIA director Jim Woolsey drives a solar-powered plugin hybrid vehicle. His bumper sticker says it all: Osama bin Laden hates my car.

Corporate executives, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, and concerned citizens alike will find profitable ideas within these pages. In ten information-packed chapters, The Way Out gives tangible examples of early adopters across the globe who see that the low-carbon economy leads to increased profits and economic growth. It offers a clear and concise road map to the new energy economy and a cooler planet.

Previously published under the title Climate Capitalism

402 pages, Paperback

First published April 10, 2012

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L. Hunter Lovins

22 books15 followers

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Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 reviews
Profile Image for Rob Best.
23 reviews1 follower
February 26, 2013
The Way Out is an interesting list of examples of companies (some more successful than others) trying to implement environmentally and economically sound strategies. The book gives examples of ways in which new inventions, novel application of existing technologies, and exploitation of market opportunities can lead to sound climate change mitigation and economic growth. Lovins calls this "Climate Capitalism." Chapters detail examples from products, business strategy, transportation, energy, housing and development, and climate adaptation where such opportunities exist.

Though interesting for these examples, it does not go far enough in explaining how business can implement these strategies. Far from offering in depth explanations of where market failures exist and where policies and unintended subsidies create imbalances or opportunities, it instead attempts to inspire readers to act, like the companies in the book supposedly have. Though these examples (for the most part) are sound (a few of the companies profiled have since gone under), they provide little in the way of advice on how the reader or other companies can follow suit. Policy and economic frameworks are left untouched as well.

Furthermore, the profiles on each company do little more than scratch the surface. In contrast to books such as Good to Great by Jim Collins which profile companies in depth, seeking to understand the source of change and decisionmaking that led to beneficial outcomes, The Way Out merely states that something good has happened. The book would be much more useful with fewer but more detailed examples or at least some guidance on how to create the radical effects for which Lovins is calling.

In short, for those who are unfamiliar with examples of businesses using traditional capitalistic methods to address environmental issues and climate change economically, this book is a good survey. For those looking to actually delve into strategy or case studies, seek other sources.
Profile Image for Alexander.
142 reviews
January 28, 2013
This book is chock full of examples of people - mostly companies and cities - responding to climate change in an economically favorable way. It's a good overview of a lot of topics and what is/was happening in them.

That being said, the writing (perhaps because of the two co-authors) feels disjointed at points, or like the examples were pulled together without enough connective tissue sometimes. There's also little discussion of sufficiency - whether these solutions, many of which are are aimed at efficiency, will be enough to actually mitigate climate change. It's unique in the number of examples, but you might want to combine it with some readings on the broader context of climate change.
Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 reviews

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