Romm, Joseph J.
Romm, Joseph J.
PERSONAL: Male. Education: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ph.D.
ADDRESSES: Office—Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, 2900 S. Quincy St., Ste, 410, Arlington, VA 22206.
CAREER: Energy consultant and author. U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC, principal deputy assistant secretary, 1995-98, acting assistant secretary of energy efficiency and renewable energy, 1997; Capital E, Washington, DC, principal; Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, Arlington, VA, founder and executive director.
The Once and Future Superpower: How to Restore America's Economic, Energy, and Environmental Security, William Morrow (New York, NY), 1992.
Lean and Clean Management: How to Boost Profits and Productivity by Reducing Pollution, Kodansha International (New York, NY), 1994.
Cool Companies: How the Best Businesses Boost Profits and Productivity by Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Island Press (Washington, DC), 1999.
The Hype about Hydrogen: Fact and Fiction in the Race To Save the Climate, Island Press (Washington, DC), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including Technology Review, Forbes, Foreign Affairs, Science, Washington Post, and New York Times.
SIDELIGHTS: Author Joseph J. Romm has had a long career as an energy consultant and specialist. He held various positions in the U.S. Department of Energy during the Clinton administration, and specializes in the areas of energy technology, environmental management, and competitiveness. He served as the principal investigator for the National Science Foundation project, "Future Directions for Hydrogen Energy Research and Education." Romm also founded and serves as executive director for the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, a nonprofit organization helping businesses reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. As a consultant, he has worked with companies such as Nike, Texaco, and IBM. Romm has been a contributor to numerous periodicals, including Forbes, New York Times, Science, and Industry Standard.
Romm published his first book in 1992, The Once and Future Superpower: How to Restore America's Economic, Energy, and Environmental Security. In this work he calls for the United States to rethink its definition of national security, and presents a series of proposals for rebuilding the country's infrastructure, reducing energy consumption, using nonpolluting energy sources, and revitalizing American manufacturing.
The Once and Future Superpower gained attention and praise from scholars and readers alike. Some acknowledged the book's accessibility for general readers. "He's made it all remarkably easy to read, while voluminous footnotes satisfy academic rigor," wrote J. Baldwin in the Whole Earth Review. Others found Romm's ideas to be a significant contribution to the literature at the time. "This vitally important book should be required reading for the next President," commented a Publishers Weekly contributor.
In 1994, Romm switched his focus to environmental issues involving businesses with the release of Lean and Clean Management: How to Boost Profits and Productivity by Reducing Pollution. Here he provides a series of techniques companies can use to improve profits, performance, and wages, while reducing the pollution their businesses release into the environment. Five years later, Romm published Cool Companies: How the Best Businesses Boost Profits and Productivity by Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Still addressing businesses and the environment, Romm offers many little-known case studies of companies big and small that have successfully increased their profits through environmentally friendly and energy-efficient techniques. Companies featured include DuPont, Toyota, Compaq, 3M, and Xerox.
Overall, reviewers and readers found merit in Cool Companies. Many found that Romm's examples of well-known companies succeeding in this manner would go far to influence others to follow in their footsteps. "As success story follows success story in [the book], the accumulation of evidence should be enough to persuade all but the most determined polluter to change his ways, and for his own financial benefit," wrote Nation contributor Mark Hertsgaard.
The Hype about Hydrogen: Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate explores the realities regarding hydrogen energy, a subject he became well versed while working for the Department of Energy. Acknowledging that hydrogen has the potential to be a successful alternative energy source, he argues that its widespread use is still at least thirty years away. Instead, he recommends that the country concentrate more-practical, tested technology and increasing overall energy efficiency.
Critics again had much praise for The Hype about Hydrogen. Many lauded Romm's ability to cover technical and complex material accessibly. Carl Hays, a Booklist contributor, wrote that Romm provides "vital, very readable guidance for investors, environmentalists, and interested bystanders looking toward a future without fossil fuels." Other reviewers acknowledged the wealth of information Romm is able to synthesize under one title. "Using extensive research studies, the author makes a thoughtful and balanced case for this highly debated energy source," commented Eva Lautemann in the Library Journal.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 15, 2004, Carl Hays, review of The Hype about Hydrogen: Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate, p. 1250.
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, April, 1993, Mike Moore, review of The Once and Future Superpower: How to Restore America's Economic, Energy, and Environmental Security, p. 44; July-August 2004, Albert L. Huebner, review of The Hype about Hydrogen, p. 65.
E, May-June, 2004, Jim Motavalli, "Hydrogen Hype?," p. 60.
Ecologist, May, 2004, review of The Hype about Hydrogen, p. 53.
Environment, January-February, 1994, Arthur H. Westing, review of Defining National Security: The Nonmilitary Aspects, p. 30; September, 2004, Jose Goldemberg, review of The Hype about Hydrogen, p. 40.
Foreign Affairs, summer, 1993, Eliot A. Cohen, review of Defining National Security, p. 197.
Issues in Science and Technology, summer 1993, Alan Tonelson, review of Defining National Security, p. 80.
Library Journal, April 1 2004, Eva Lautemann, review of The Hype about Hydrogen, p. 119.
Nation, July 26, 1999, Mark Hertsgaard, "Corporate Greenhouse," p. 30.
Public Health Reports, September-October, 1996, Joseph J. Romm and Christine A. Ervin, "How Energy Policies Affect Public Health," p. 390.
Publishers Weekly, July 6, 1992, review of The Once and Future Superpower, p. 46; February 9, 2004, review of The Hype about Hydrogen, p. 71.
Science News, May 29, 2004, review of The Hype about Hydrogen, p. 351.
Whole Earth Review, winter, 1992, J. Baldwin, review of The Once and Future Superpower, p. 21; fall, 1995, Judy Hardin, review of Lean and Clean Management: How to Boost Profits and Productivity by Reducing Pollution, p. 30.
Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, http://www.energyandclimate.org/ (February 10, 2005), "Joseph Romm."
Grist Online, http://www.grist.org/ (February 10, 2005), interview with Romm.
Island Press Web site, http://www.islandpress.org/ (February 10, 2005).