04 Sep '11, 11am

Jevons paradox: When doing more with less isn’t enough

Jevons paradox: When doing more with less isn’t enough

Will more efficient energy use just make us want to use more? Photo: Vicky van Santen Cross-posted from Cool Green Science . I recently had the chance to participate in a panel about energy efficiency at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. I expected the usual discussion of all the opportunities we're missing to be more energy efficient and save money in the process -- what Amory Lovins calls the "free lunch ... you're paid to eat." Instead, I found myself vehemently defending the very idea of energy efficiency against an idea with the odd name of Jevons paradox , which is undergoing a resurgence since David Owen's article on it in The New Yorker . Jevons paradox is named after William Jevons, who observed in the 19th century that an increase in the efficiency of using coal to produce energy tended to increase consumption, rather than reduce it. Why? Because, Jevons argu...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/energy-efficiency/2011-09-04-jevons-...

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