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Michael Totten

Senior Fellow

Since the 1973 Arab oil embargo and price shocks, and after graduating with Honors from Yale University as a cross-disciplinary scholar, Michael Totten has dedicated his professional life to promoting innovative market strategies and governance policies that catalyze a solar powered economy comprised of highly energy and resource efficient buildings, industries and transportation sectors. Has promoted Amory’s energy vision since mid-1970s.

In the 1980s he pioneered comprehensive federal legislation, the Global Warming prevention Act (popularly known as the U.S. Productivity Enhancement and Export Competitiveness Act) which focused on accruing multi-trillion dollar savings opportunities through end-use efficiency gains. He also spearheaded the first online collaboration innovation network connecting state regulatory utility commissioners, for sharing methodologies focused on delivering utility services at the lowest lifecycle cost and risk via end-use efficiency gains and distributed generation.

In the 1990s Totten founded and headed the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (CREST), set up to harness the emerging global Internet communication and multi-media software tools for spurring best-in- play market practices and governance policies fostering zero-emission economic growth while accruing mega-scale monetary savings and biosphere benefits. CREST pioneered production and distribution of CD-based multimedia learning and decision-making software, migrated to the Internet when web tools emerged. By the late 1990s it was one of the largest Internet sites in traffic and accessible resources on energy efficiency and renewable energy.

These several decades of innovative advocacy garnered Totten the Lewis Mumford Prize in 1999, given by Architects, Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility.

For the past dozen years Totten served as the Chief Advisor on Climate and Clean Tech at the global non-profit group, Conservation International (CI). His cross-disciplinary initiatives focused on engaging scores of global corporations and national governments in getting them to adopt leadership practices and positions for achieving zero-net emissions. This was practically achieved by implementing portfolios of risk-minimizing, benefits-generating actions in operations and supply networks. Among his accomplishments included initiating Walmart’s Sustainability initiative in 2004, beginning with assessing the ecological impacts, or “biosphere footprint”, of their operations and supply chain.

Spent 2007 on assignment at Google.org, focusing on web-based opportunities for “greening” supply chains in China. Spent 2011-2012 in CI’s Asia-Pacific regional office in Singapore, working on supply chain issues.

Totten’s more than 1500 presentations, articles, workshops and seminars over the past 35 years have illustrated and emphasized how Internet-based collaboration innovation networks (COINs) can leverage valuable insights from actual achievements worldwide, at far less cost and at much faster speeds. In 2012 he initiated the COIN initiative, ASSETs (Apps for Spurring Solar and Efficiency Tech-knowledge), to catalyze zero-net emission cities largely achieved by self-motivated citizens in their cities, companies, and campuses.

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