The rebound effect

The denialism of progressive environmentalists, – article by Bill Blackwater. (re-posted from GreenDealManchester)

This is very relevant to this project.  It examines in some technical but readable detail the nature of the rebound (or Jevons) effect, which means that even if absolute emissions reductions were achievable through technological innovation associated with economic growth, the result would be a rebound  in energy use that would wipe out these improvements.  It also makes the important point that improved energy efficiency is only relevant to one of the planetary limits (global warming / climate change) and not to the others (such as nitrogen pollution, fresh water availability, etc etc etc).
It appears in the Marxist journal, Monthly Review, but (if you’re not convinced by the power of neomarxist analysis) don’t let that put you off.   The article clearly summarises a report by two authors ( Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger) associated with the ‘clean growth’ tendency who amass evidence (and a taxonomy) for the rebound effect but then conclude that growth is still possible.  The article offers a critique of this inconsistency but is perhaps of most value in offering a very clear summary of the rebound  / Jevons argument.
Read the article.

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2 Responses to The rebound effect

  1. Pingback: Less levity Professor Stern! Economic growth, climate change and the decoupling question. | Steady State Manchester

  2. Pingback: Has the UK decoupled carbon emissions from GDP growth? | Steady State Manchester

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