the Rebound effect

Latest research shows that a rebound effect cancels out most good intentions like:  carbon reduction, energy & fuel efficiency, etc.

A rebound effect is:  ‘buy a more fuel efficient car and drive more’.  It’s been proven that higher efficiency cars are driven more.

Changes in behavior more than offset energy savings.

The rebound effect has been well documented in the past, but is lately gaining more attention.  Europe first experienced this rebound effect with its carbon cap programs in the early 90’s when eastern coal plants started producing more CO2 after western utilities gained carbon credits from installing scrubbers.

Reductions to global warming, climate change goals,  air and water pollution reduction programs are not yielding predicted results.  The IPCC’s  Rio+20 report is an omen for future efforts.  So how does one impact human behavior?

Rebound Solutions    A recent study on German households  has concluded that any policy changes are offset by a 57-67% rebound effect.  What to do?   Some studies have shown that fuel taxes appear to be more effective at changing behaviors.    So when that proposal for a carbon tax comes around,  we should all be supporting it.  Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is… you know…

 

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