A few weeks ago, I went to an interesting talk by Dr. Steve Hallett at Purdue’s Botany and Plant Pathology Department. It was about how efficiency wasn’t going to save the planet, and he referred to the Jevons paradox/effect. Basically, even though we would like to think that more efficient use always means decreased use, historically, increases in the efficiency of many technologies have actually increased consumption.
This has to do with something called the rebound effect: when new technologies allow us to use a resource more efficiently, it drives down prices and can lead to an increase in resource consumption. Granted, I’m not an economist, so at first I was like, “Wow, the Jevons effect makes total sense!” Then I read more about it and apparently things are a lot more complicated. (Aren’t they always?)
While the rebound effect is pretty uncontroversial and well-supported by theory, the Jevons…
View original post 270 more words