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 energy use, not less, and that if a consumer’s immediate goal is to tackle climate change, then it seems risky to count on reaching it by improving efficiency. Assuming rebound effects eat up most of the energy savings, such claims then argue that efficiency cannot be a good policy to reduce energy consumption or combat climate change.
However, in a new report [PDF] published yesterday in the online journal, ElectricityPolicy.com, my colleagues at the Natural Resources Defense Cou... Read more