Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica

Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficiency Rocks — Rebound Effect Overblown

 

We’ve published a couple of posts on the less-than-concerning “rebound effect” (in particular, when it applies to energy efficiency). Nonetheless, its a popular topic in some media outlets and amongst some institutions. The CO2 Scorecard published a tremendous take-down of the rebound effect (again, when it comes to energy efficiency) this week, reposted over on Climate Progress. The CO2 Scorecard published a full report on its site, but I’ll just give you the gist of it by reposting the summary here (click the link above to read the full report):

by Shakeb Afsah and Kendyl Salcito and Chris Wielga

Summary

Energy efficiency is an over-rated policy tool when it comes to cutting energy use and CO2 emissions—that’s the basic message promoted by the US think tank the Breakthrough Institute (BTI), and amplified in major news outlets like the New Yorker and the New York Times. Their logic is that every action to conserve energy through efficient use leads to an opposite reaction to consume more energy—a “rebound” mechanism, which, according to the BTI, can negate as much as 60-100% of saved energy, and in some cases can backfire to increase net energy consumption.

In this research note we refute this policy message and show that the BTI, as well as its champions in the media, have overplayed their hand, supporting their case with anecdotes and analysis that don’t measure up against theory and data. Our fact-checking revealed that empirical estimates of energy rebound cited by the BTI are over-estimated or wrong, and they contradict the technological reality of energy efficiency gains observed in many industrial sectors.

We provide new statistical evidence to show that energy efficiency policies and programs can reliably cut energy use—a finding that is consistent with the policy stance of leading experts and organizations like the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) and the World Bank. Additionally, we take our policy message one step further—by using new insights from the emerging multi-disciplinary literature on “energy efficiency gap”, we recommend that the world needs more energy efficiency policies and programs to cut greenhouse gases—not less as implied by the BTI and its cohorts in the media.

 

 
 
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Advertisement
 
Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

Comments

You May Also Like

Carbon Pricing

In this episode of Cleantech Talk, Matthew Klippenstein and I tackle the stories on our own, with Kyle out for one week. We start off by discussing some interesting...

Cars

  This is a special guest post by Shakeb Afsah and Kendyl Salcito, via CO2 Scorecard (h/t Climate Progress). I remember several years ago hearing this...

Energy Efficiency

I covered the rebound effect here on CleanTechnica a couple months ago. The common argument of rebound effect enthusiasts is that energy efficiency actually...

Energy Efficiency

You would think, intuitively, that energy efficiency is good — it saves us money and is good for the environment. Some have tried to...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.