Skip to content Skip to site navigation

David Goldstein's Posts


How bad ideas keep rebounding into public discourse: the rebound effect and its refutation

The rebound effect: a light that never goes out.Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Every few years, a new report emerges that tries to resurrect an old hypothesis: that energy efficiency policy somehow results in consumers using more energy instead of less. This hypothesis was introduced in the 19th century by economist William Stanley Jevons, who argued that increases in the energy efficiency throughout a nation would lead to increases in coal consumption, rather than decreases. Recent articles have attempted to revive these claims, also known as the "rebound effect" -- restating that energy efficiency tends to encourage more …


been there, skimmed that

Another bogus report tries to discredit energy efficiency

If you think efficiency doesn't save money, you haven't been looking at the data.Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. This piece was coauthored by Ralph Cavanagh, senior attorney and co-director of NRDC's energy program. Throughout almost four decades of societal progress in getting more work out of less energy, those who deny the promise of energy efficiency have persisted in a bizarre claim: Any energy savings from efficiency are offset by activities that demand additional energy consumption. While implausible concerns about "rebound effect" have been around since the mid-19th century, they have not impeded recent progress in improving the efficiency …


A prayer for Owen Meany

Less energy, less pollution, and greater savings. Some dilemma.

Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. In "The Efficiency Dilemma," The New Yorker (Dec. 20, 2010) [$ubreq], David Owen revives a discredited 19th century article on economics to posit that the increasing efficiency of household products such as refrigerators and air conditioners is responsible for a range of problems, including everything from food waste to America's culture of excess. Owen argues (apparently seriously) that by allowing consumers to save money that would otherwise go to high and wasted energy bills, efficient appliances have caused Americans to abandon the simple life. Owen -- whose expertise lies in the unrelated field …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living


I'd cap that

The climate bill endgame

Cross-posted from the NRDC Switchboard blog.  To cap or not to cap? That is the question ... The most important component of an effective climate bill -- one that helps the economy recover and assures that greenhouse gas emissions will decline rapidly over the decades to come -- is setting a cap on emissions. Opponents of a cap misunderstand how and why the cap will work, and their stated reasons for opposition reflect this misunderstanding. Typical of these self-described conservative arguments is made by Steve Everley at American Solutions. Everley tries to paint efforts to price carbon through a cap …