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Climate-ABC: Rebound Effect

A so-called rebound effect can occur when efficiency is increased, for example, through new technologies in the production of consumer goods and services. If an increase in efficiency leads to a reduction in emissions, but the acquisition of the new technology or a change in consumption patterns simultaneously leads to higher emissions, the effect on the overall balance is negative.

E-cars are an example for this. If the good conscience of driving an e-car leads people to switch from using a bicycle or public transport to using an e-car, this leads to more road traffic and increased energy consumption. Also, the costs and emissions of purchasing a new car can exceed the costs of occasionally driving a used car in combination with increased public transport and bicycle use.

Schulz, C. (2012). Zur Diskussion. Post-Wachstums-Ökonomien – (k)ein Thema für die Wirtschaftsgeographie? Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie, 56, S. 264-273.