Energy Conservation More Effective With Rebound Policy
- 2.6k Downloads
This article sketches the problem of indirect energy use effects, also known as rebound, of energy conservation. There is widespread support for energy conservation, especially when it is voluntary, as this seems a cheap way to realize environmental and energy-climate goals. However, this overlooks the phenomenon of rebound. The topic of energy rebound has mainly attracted attention from energy analysts, but has been surprisingly neglected in environmental economics, even though economists generally are concerned with indirect or economy-wide impacts of technical change and policies. This paper presents definitions and interpretations of energy and environmental rebound, as well as four fundamental reasons for the existence of the rebound phenomenon. It further offers the most complete list of rebound pathways or mechanisms available in the literature. In addition, it discusses empirical estimates of rebound and addresses the implications of uncertainties and difficulties in assessing rebound. Suggestions are offered for strategies and public policies to contain rebound. It is advised that rebound evaluation is an essential part of environmental policy and project assessments. As opposed to earlier studies, this paper stresses the relevance of the distinction between energy conservation resulting from autonomous demand changes and from efficiency improvements in technology/equipment. In addition, it argues that rebound is especially relevant for developing countries.
KeywordsBackfire Developing countries Jevons’ paradox Rebound mechanisms Relieving limits Tradable permits
JEL ClassificationsQ43 Q48 Q54 Q55 Q58
This paper is a revised version of a contribution to a study on energy efficiency in developing countries commissioned by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in Vienna. I am grateful for comments by, and discussions with, Robert Ayres, Olga Memedovic, John Nyboer, Joachim Schleich, Steve Sorrell and Ernst Worrell. Three anonymous reviewers provided useful comments.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.
- Ayres RU, Warr B (2009) The economic growth engine: how energy and work drive material prosperity. Edward Elgar, CheltenhamGoogle Scholar
- Brookes L (1979) A low energy strategy for the UK by G Leach et al.: a review and reply. Atom 269: 3–8Google Scholar
- Eichner T, Pethig R (2009) Carbon leakage, the green paradox and perfect future markets. CESIFO Working paper nr. 2542. http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/ifoHome/b-publ/b3publwp
- Frondel M, Peeters J, Vance C (2008) Identifying the rebound: evidence from a German household panel. Energy J 29(4): 145–163Google Scholar
- Henly J, Ruderman v, Levine MD (1988) Energy savings resulting from the adoption of more efficient appliances: a follow-up. Energy J 9(2): 163–170Google Scholar
- Herring H (2008) Rebound effect. In: Cleveland CJ (ed) Encyclopedia of earth. Retrieved 10 October 2009 http://www.eoearth.org/article/Rebound_effect
- Jevons WS (1865) The coal question: an inquiry concerning the progress of the nation, and the probably exhaustion of our coal-mines. Macmillan and Co, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Khazzoom JD (1980) Economic implications of mandated efficiency in standards for household appliances. Energy J 1(4): 21–39Google Scholar
- Khazzoom JD (1987) Energy savings resulting from the adoption of more efficient appliances. Energy J 8(4): 85–89Google Scholar
- Khazzoom JD (1989) Energy savings from more efficient appliances: a rejoinder. Energy J 10(1): 157–166Google Scholar
- Kuik OJ, Gerlagh R (2003) Trade liberalization and carbon leakage. Energy J 24: 97–120Google Scholar
- Lovins A (1988) Energy saving from more efficient appliances: another view. Energy J 9: 155–162Google Scholar
- Nadel S (1994) The take-back effect: fact or fiction?. American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
- Paltsev SV (2001) The Kyoto Protocol: regional and sectoral contributions to the carbon leakage. Energy J 22: 53–79Google Scholar
- Parry IWH, Pizer WA (2007) Emissions trading versus CO2 taxes versus standards. Issue Brief CPF-5, | November 2007. Resources for the FutureGoogle Scholar
- Polimeni JM, Mayumi K, Giampietro M (2008) The Jevons Paradox and the myth of resource efficiency improvement. Earthscan, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Saunders HD (1992) The Khazzoom-Brookes postulate and neoclassical growth. Energy J 13(4): 131–148Google Scholar
- Schipper L (ed) (2000) On the rebound: the interaction of energy efficiency, energy use and economic activity. Energy Policy 28: 6–7Google Scholar
- Small K, Van Dender K (2007) Fuel efficiency and motor vehicle travel: the declining rebound effect. Energy J 28: 25–51Google Scholar
- Sorrell S (2007) The rebound effect: an assessment of the evidence for economy-wide energy savings from improved energy efficiency, UK Energy Research Centre. http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/Downloads/PDF/07/0710ReboundEffect.
- van den Bergh JCJM, Verbruggen H, Linderhof VGM (2009) Digital dematerialization: economic mechanisms behind the net impact of ICT on materials use. In: MAM Salih (eds) Climate change and sustainable development: new challenges for poverty reduction. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp 192–213Google Scholar
Open AccessThis is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0), which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.