Skip to main content
main-content

Über dieses Buch

This book calls for rethinking current climate, energy and sustainability policy-making by presenting new insights into the rebound phenomenon; i.e., the driving forces, mechanisms and extent of rebound effects and potential means of mitigating them. It pursues an innovative and novel approach to the political and scientific rebound discourse and hence, supplements the current state-of-knowledge discussed in the field of energy economics and recent reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Building on central rebound publications from the past four decades, this book is divided into three main sections: Part I highlights new aspects of rebound economics by presenting insights into issues that have so far not been satisfactorily researched, such as rebounds in countries of the Global South, rebounds on the producer-side, and rebounds from sufficiency behaviour (as opposed to rebounds from technical efficiency improvements). In turn, Part II goes beyond conventional economic rebound research, exploring multidisciplinary perspectives on the phenomenon, in particular from the fields of psychology and sociology. Advancing such multidisciplinary perspectives delivers a more comprehensive understanding of rebound’s driving forces, mechanisms, and policy options. Part III puts rebounds into practice and presents several policy cases and sector-specific approaches, including the contexts of labour markets, urban planning, tourism, information and communication technologies, and transport. Lastly, the book embeds the issue into the larger debate on decoupling, green growth and degrowth, and identifies key lessons learned for sustainable development strategies and policies at large. By employing such varied and in-depth analyses, the book makes an essential contribution to the discussion of the overall question: Can resource-, energy-use and greenhouse gas emissions be substantially reduced without hindering economic growth?

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction: Rebound Research in a Warming World

Abstract
This introductory chapter to the book “Rethinking Climate and Energy Policies. New Perspectives on the Rebound Phenomenon” serves four functions. First, it contextualizes this volume in current up-to-date climate and energy discourses, notably vis-à-vis the endeavor to limit anthropogenic climate change to below 2 degrees Celsius. Second, it embeds rebound research in the longer-standing debates on sustainable development, including discussions on the limits to growth and the challenges to sufficiently decouple energy and resource demand from economic growth. Third, it provides a brief history of the debate about the rebound phenomenon and distinguishes four genuine phases of past rebound research. Finally, the chapter sets the stage for the research questions addressed in this book and outlines the structures as well as the contents of all chapters to this volume.
Tilman Santarius, Hans Jakob Walnum, Carlo Aall

New Aspects in Economic Rebound Research

Frontmatter

Chapter 2. After 35 Years of Rebound Research in Economics: Where Do We Stand?

Abstract
The phenomenon of rebound effects has sparked considerable academic, policy and press debate over the effectiveness of energy efficiency policy. In recent years, a plethora of theoretical and empirical rebound studies have been published, fueling the discussion but also raising further issues and unanswered questions. At the same time, it seems that there is a lack of understanding of how to treat and measure central aspects such as potential energy savings expected and the energy services impacted by an efficiency increase. Moreover, there is a lack of clarity and understanding in how we move from micro- to macrolevels of analysis and reporting. In terms of policy understanding, the crux of the problem is that there is no such thing as a simple formula for all aspects of rebound. The aim of this chapter is to clarify the correct perspective on how to look at economic dimensions of rebound, with particular attention to what policy-makers can do with rebound analysis and findings. Further, we attempt to synthesize existing rebound taxonomies and to provide, in a concise manner, the economic rebound mechanisms at work. We then approach the rebound theme from both micro- and macroperspectives, before bringing the two angles together. Overall, we argue that both policy-makers and researchers need to be aware that rebound is an issue that ought to be tackled at multiple levels and that there are policy trade-offs, especially between economic growth and ecological sustainability. This may be resolved at least to a certain extent by welfare considerations.
Reinhard Madlener, Karen Turner

Chapter 3. Indirect Effects from Resource Sufficiency Behaviour in Germany

Abstract
The notion of rebound effects commonly suggests that an efficiency strategy is found to be insufficient to address an absolute reduction of raw material consumption. Advocates of eco-sufficiency claim that renouncing affluent consumption could limit resource consumption appropriately. Still, the literature on sufficiency fails to empirically corroborate their strategy. In this respect, the question is, to what extent sufficiency is prone to rebound effects. This chapter strives to empirically investigate indirect rebound effects arising from sufficiency behaviour. It shows estimates of income elasticities from national surveys on income and expenditures in Germany. Re-spending of savings is analyzed for abatement actions in the fields of housing, mobility and food. The chapter discusses findings concerning rebound effects from sufficiency with respect to policy implications and methodological issues.
Johannes Buhl, José Acosta

Chapter 4. The Global South: New Estimates and Insights from Urban India

Abstract
With increasing knowledge through empirical investigations, we now realize it is difficult to support a blanket statement that ‘rebound effect’ is high and will take back ‘all’ the energy savings benefits of efficiency improvements in countries of the Global South like India. In this article we review past literature, and report some new evidence of rebound effect estimates with insights that we draw from primary data collected on selected mobility service categories in India. The purpose of this article is to flag certain important observations that need further attention in the rebound discourse, which, we believe, promise to advance the subject both theoretically as well as for policy guidance in particular in the transport sector. The observed small proportion of super conservation behaviour and moderate partial rebound behaviour in mobility service can be scaled up by appropriate incentives going beyond price mechanisms and communication strategies. For example, improvement in promotional materials, comfort level of public transport systems, infrastructure to reduce congestion, and congestion management strategies can all remove behaviourial barriers to realise full potential of technical efficiency improvement.
Debalina Chakravarty, Joyashree Roy

Chapter 5. Production-Side Effects and Feedback Loops Between the Micro and Macro Level

Abstract
Research on the rebound effect has so far mainly considered ‘micro-economic rebound effects’ at the level of consumers and households, as well as ‘macro-economic rebound effects’ in the sense of energy efficiency-induced economic growth. This chapter focuses on an area of rebound research that has not yet received sufficient attention, namely on ‘production-side rebound effects’, at the company level, as well as sector-level rebounds at the level of industry branches and markets. The chapter summarises and systematises reasons why companies generate rebounds, distinguishes market- and sector-level rebounds from macro-economic growth effects, identifies a number of ‘feedback loops’ by which production-side and sector-level rebounds multiply or nullify consumer-side rebound effects, and finally discusses some conclusions on the potential quantitative dimension of production-side rebound effects.
Tilman Santarius

Multidisciplinary Perspectives on the Rebound Phenomenon

Frontmatter

Chapter 6. Exploring Rebound Effects from a Psychological Perspective

Abstract
The analysis of energy efficiency rebound effects from a psychological perspective has just begun, and empirical studies analysing psychological factors in relation to the rebound effect are still scarce. In this chapter, we first identify possible psychological drivers to explain rebound effects based on psychological action theories. The outlined psychological framework suggests that energy efficiency improvements have different effects on behaviour depending on the interaction of psychological factors such as attitudes, personal and social norms and response efficacy. In a second step, we present results from an empirical study using focus group discussions to explore rebound effects and psychological drivers in the transport and residential sectors. The results are in line with the outlined psychological framework and indicate that need satiation, habits and mistaken beliefs about the optimal usage of a technology also seem to play a role. Finally, research questions are outlined to help further develop and test hypotheses on the psychological factors influencing rebound effects.
Anja Peters, Elisabeth Dütschke

Chapter 7. Towards a Psychological Theory and Comprehensive Rebound Typology

Abstract
Based on considerations how energy efficiency improvements can interfere with processes of human decision-making, this chapter develops a theoretical model of how energy efficiency improvements—via psychological processes—may lead to rebound effects as well as to ‘beneficial effects’, which countervail rebounds. The chapter then advances a typology of rebound and beneficial effects that integrates, but goes beyond, the typology currently used in the microeconomic rebound literature. Model and typology explain how (economic) rebound research could benefit from psychological theory and provide the basis for empirically investigating rebound effects on more solid theoretical ground.
Tilman Santarius, Martin Soland

Chapter 8. Behavioural Changes After Energy Efficiency Improvements in Residential Properties

Abstract
This chapter investigates occupants’ behavioural changes as a result of energy efficiency improvements in the home. A controlled intervention study was set up to examine potential rebound effects and the psychological constructs that might contribute to these effects. Residents of a number of economically deprived communities in Wales were sent self-completion questionnaires before and after they received energy-efficiency improvements under the Arbed scheme. Residents of three nearby communities served as controls for the study. Utility meter readings and indoor air temperatures were also taken for a sub-sample of the study. While there were very few differences in indoor air temperatures between the two groups, the Arbed group was found to use less energy after energy efficiency measures were installed. Observed energy savings were however lower than predicted, suggesting an average rebound effect of 54 %. Although no evidence was found for changes in other energy-related behaviours, there were some changes in a number of associated psychological constructs. Self-reported environmental identity increased for the Arbed group after energy efficiency measures were installed. Similarly, significant differences were also found between the two groups for attitudes towards reducing the amount of heating used in the home. The results provide an indication that psychological mechanisms may underlie the rebound effect.
Christine Suffolk, Wouter Poortinga

Chapter 9. Energy Efficiency and Social Acceleration: Macro-level Rebounds from a Sociological Perspective

Abstract
This chapter investigates macro-level rebounds from a sociological angle. Macro-level rebound effects have already been researched in economics. Yet macroeconomic rebound analysis vastly depend on the parameters and the kind of production functions applied. This chapter discusses whether currently used production functions adequately consider broader changes in the structural (economic and societal) framework conditions that might be brought about by energy efficiency improvements (EEI). It draws on a large body of sociological literature on ‘social acceleration’, which shows how technological efficiency improvements and innovation increase the pace of production and consumption and, hence, accelerate the ‘speed of life’ and the rate of social change. In an attempt to merge this sociological discourse with macroeconomic rebound considerations, the chapter finally discusses whether the ‘velocity of money’ (V) could serve as an additional parameter that explains an increase in economic output due to an improvement in energy efficiency.
Tilman Santarius

Policy Cases: Rebounds in Action

Frontmatter

Chapter 10. Labour Markets: Time and Income Effects from Reducing Working Hours in Germany

Abstract
A reduction in working hours is being considered to tackle issues associated with ecological sustainability, social equity and enhanced life satisfaction—a so-called triple dividend. With respect to an environmental dividend, we analyse the time-use rebound effects of reducing working time. We explore how an increase in leisure time triggers a rearrangement of time and expenditure budgets, and thus the use of resources in private households. Does it hold true that time-intensive activities replace resource-intensive consumption when people have more free time at their disposal? In order to give an answer to the question, we estimate the marginal propensity to consume and the marginal propensity to time use in Germany. The findings from national surveys on time use and expenditure show composition effects of gains in leisure time and income loss. The results show that time savings due to a reduction in working time trigger relevant rebound effects in terms of resource use. However, the authors put the rebound effects following a reduction in working time into perspective. Time-use rebound effects lead to increased voluntary social engagement and greater life satisfaction, the second and third dividends.
Johannes Buhl, José Acosta

Chapter 11. Urban Planning: Residential Location and Compensatory Behaviour in Three Scandinavian Cities

Abstract
Within the literature on sustainable urban development, the dominant view is that dense and concentrated cities produce lower environmental strain than do sprawling and land-consuming cities. But is there a danger that environmentally favourable urban planning solutions will be counteracted by oppositely working mechanisms? In the literature, two partly related main types of such effects have been particularly discussed: (1) A greater amount of leisure travel (including flights) when people save money and time from living in an urban context that does not require much daily-life travel; and (2) increased vacation home ownership and use as a compensation for dense daily living environments. These counteracting mechanisms include genuine rebound effects as well as compensatory effects resulting from perceived unsatisfactory characteristics of ‘eco-efficient’ residential environments. In practice, the demarcation between rebound effects and compensatory mechanisms resulting from ecological modernization strategies in urban planning is often blurred. This chapter draws on research carried out by the author in Norwegian and Danish cities and compares this against international literature on the topic. The paper concludes that rebound effects exist, counteracting to some extent the effects of resource-saving principles in urban planning. Avoiding such effects seems impossible unless the purchasing power decreases. The existence of rebound effects should, however, not prevent us from seeking to develop our cities in as environmentally friendly ways as possible.
Petter Næss

Chapter 12. Tourism: Applying Rebound Theories and Mechanisms to Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

Abstract
Little attention has been given to the rebound effects within climate change mitigation and adaptation literature. Still, a growing attention has been given to the need of integrating adaptation and mitigation policies in order to avoid negative feedback mechanisms to take place between the two. In this article, we investigate the potential of applying theories of rebound effects on the climate change mitigation and adaptation discourse. In doing so, we have developed a model for identifying inter- and intra rebound effects taking place within and between the two policy domains of climate change, and given examples of such effects from the case of tourism.
Carlo Aall, C. Michael Hall, Kyrre Groven

Chapter 13. The Internet: Explaining ICT Service Demand in Light of Cloud Computing Technologies

Abstract
Cloud Computing (CloudC) is one of the most prominent recent trends in the digital communications sector and represents a paradigm shift within the ICT industry. The supply of popular applications, such as cloud storage and cloud video streaming, has caused a surge in the demand for CloudC services, which offer the advantages of low economic cost, high data transfer speeds, and improved mobility, security, scalability, and multi-tenancy. In this chapter, we investigate the circumstances under which this new CloudC infrastructure is likely to reduce energy use of our new digital lifestyle, or when it simply catalyses a rebound effect that could hamper ICT-related energy savings. We classify CloudC rebound effects as either direct or indirect rebound effects, and we discuss the differences and overlap between rebound effects, enabling effects, and transformational effects. An understanding of these differences is important for understanding energy use associated with CloudC.
Hans Jakob Walnum, Anders S.G. Andrae

Chapter 14. Transportation: Challenges to Curbing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Road Freight Traffic

Abstract
We discuss the implications of rebound effects for various policies intended at curbing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in road freight transport. The aim is to provide an understanding of how climate policies must be designed to achieve major reductions in GHG emissions. A number of studies have been conducted on the rebound effect related to energy efficiency improvements of passenger cars; however, the findings cannot easily be translated into results for the heavy-duty vehicles used in the freight sector. From an energy economic perspective, applying econometric and general equilibrium modelling, research on rebound effects on road freight transportation has found that efficiency improvements can reduce fuel costs, increasing the cost-effective transport range of freight and the capacity for generating surplus that might be transformed into other energy consuming activities that can partly offset initial savings. This chapter discusses whether a broadening of rebound effects to also include measures of substitution (i.e. change to less polluting means of transport) and reduction (i.e. policies that aim to decrease the volume of freight transport) will lead to an increased understanding of how to achieve a major reduction in GHG emissions from freight transport.
Hans Jakob Walnum, Carlo Aall

Chapter 15. Between Green Growth and Degrowth: Decoupling, Rebound Effects and the Politics for Long-Term Sustainability

Abstract
Taking the simple equation: I(impact) = P(population) · A(affluence) · T(technology) as the point of departure, this chapter discusses the delusion of decoupling economic activities from environmental impacts by resorting to reduce eco-intensities through technological advancement alone. It is argued that the rebound effect is both a natural consequence of the growth dedicated society and a driver of further economic growth. Through rebound effects, labour productivity and eco-efficiency technologies in the growth society tend to contradict the goal of achieving environmental sustainability. To address the environmental problems, attention should therefore be redirected to the growth ideology and policy in current society. Drawing on the emerging degrowth debates in the affluent countries, the chapter proposes pathways towards a degrowth transformation by, respectively, discussing the role of population, affluence and technology in the attempts at reducing environmental impacts. Overall, it is suggested that from an analysis not confined to monetary terms, but with real cost and real benefits represented by environmental damage and human satisfaction, respectively, a degrowth in affluent countries can be achieved at no net cost.
Jørgen Nørgård, Jin Xue

Conclusion

Frontmatter

Chapter 16. Conclusions: Respecting Rebounds for Sustainability Reasons

Abstract
The concluding chapter of the book, “Rethinking Climate and Energy Policies–New Perspectives on the Rebound Phenomenon” sums up the main findings from all of the volumes chapters, suggests that rebound research should enter a new phase of trans- und interdisciplinary research (as opposed to mainly economic rebound research from the past), and argues that sustainability politics will only be successful if the various forms of rebound effects are taken into account and are contained by appropriate policies and measures.
Tilman Santarius, Hans Jakob Walnum, Carlo Aall
Weitere Informationen