Chasing our tails?

Steven Sorrell from the University of Sussex will be speaking at Leeds on Wednesday 16 November about how "rebound effects" can reduce the savings made from energy efficiency measures.

It is generally assumed that energy efficiency improvements will reduce overall energy consumption, at least compared to a scenario in which such improvements are not made. But a range of mechanisms, commonly grouped under the heading of rebound effects may reduce the size of the 'energy savings' achieved. For example, more fuel efficient cars will make car travel cheaper, and could therefore encourage people to drive further and/or more often. Indeed, an influential group of analysts have argued that improved energy efficiency will lead to increased energy consumption over the long-term -implying that promoting energy efficiency as a means to reduce carbon emissions would be akin to a dog chasing its tail.

Steven Sorrell, deputy director of the Sussex Energy Group, will explore the mechanisms that contribute to these rebound effects, review the evidence regarding their magnitude and importance, report on some recent estimates of rebound effects for UK households and summarise the implications for climate policy and sustainability.

The seminar will take place:

On: Wednesday 16 November

At:   4 - 5.15pm

In:   School of Earth and Environment seminar room 8.119

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