Last updated on: 8/10/2015 | Author:

Lester Brown, MS, MPA Biography

Founder and President of Earth Policy Institute
Pro to the question "Can Alternative Energy Effectively Replace Fossil Fuels?"

“The worldwide transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy is under way. As fossil fuel resources shrink, as air pollution worsens, and as concerns about climate instability cast a shadow over the future of coal, oil and natural gas, a new world energy economy is emerging. The old economy, fueled largely by coal and oil, is being replaced with one powered by solar and wind energy…

In the United States, the start of the energy transition is on display in the hundreds of utility-scale solar power plants under development or construction in the Southwest. And Iowa and South Dakota are each generating at least 26 percent of their electricity from wind farms. The wind share in Iowa could reach half by 2018. Texas, which now gets nearly 10 percent of its electricity from wind power, is building huge wind farms and the long-distance transmission lines that will facilitate the sale of low-cost wind-generated power in Louisiana and Mississippi…

The bottom line is that solar and wind, which are abundant and increasingly cheap, will be the foundation of the new energy economy. During the fossil fuel era, investments were short term, yielding energy only until the oil wells went dry or the coal deposits were depleted. The discovery-development-depletion cycle was repeated over and over again. Now, for the first time since the Industrial Revolution began, we are investing in sources of energy that can last as long as the earth itself.”

The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy, Jan. 2015

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Founder and President, Earth Policy Institute, 2001-2015
  • Recipient, Blue Planet Prize, 1994
  • Recipient, World Wide Fund for Nature Gold Medal, 1989
  • Recipient, United Nations Environment Prize, 1987
  • President, World Watch Institute, 1974-2000
  • Founder, World Watch Institute, 1974
  • Administrator, International Agricultural Development Service, US Department of Agriculture, 1966-1969
  • Adviser, Foreign Agricultural Policy, Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman, 1964-1966
  • Former International Analyst, Foreign Agricultural Service, US Department of Agriculture
  • MPA, Harvard Graduate School of Public Administration, 1962
  • MS, Agricultural Economics, University of Maryland, 1959
  • BS, Agricultural Science, Rutgers University, 1955
  • On July 1, 2015, he closed down the Earth Policy Institute and retired
  • He has authored or coauthored 54 books
  • His books have appeared in 40 languages
Quoted in:
  1. Is Solar Power an Economical Alternative to Conventional Energy?