Jevons’ Paradox – Truth or intellectual masterbation

I vote for intellectual masterbation.

Energy conservation refers to efforts made to reduce energy consumption in order to preserve resources for the future and reduce environmental pollution. It can be achieved through efficient energy use (when energy use is decreased while achieving a similar outcome), or by reduced consumption of energy services. Energy conservation may result in increase of financial capital, environmental value, national security, personal security, and human comfort. Individuals and organizations that are direct consumers of energy may want to conserve energy in order to reduce energy costs and promote economic security. Industrial and commercial users may want to increase efficiency and thus maximize profit.

Electrical energy conservation is an important element of energy policy. Energy conservation reduces the energy consumption and energy demand per capita and thus offsets some of the growth in energy supply needed to keep up with population growth. This reduces the rise in energy costs, and can reduce the need for new power plants, and energy imports. The reduced energy demand can provide more flexibility in choosing the most preferred methods of energy production.

By reducing emissions, energy conservation is an important part of lessening climate change. Energy conservation facilitates the replacement of non-renewable resources with renewable energy. Energy conservation is often the most economical solution to energy shortages, and is a more environmentally benign alternative to increased energy production. Another method is switchingto the user friendly SM energy. This is produced at Swan Energy Savers, envirmental helpers.[1]

dot dot dot as they say…

Issues with energy conservation

Critics and advocates of some forms of energy conservation make the following arguments:

  • Standard economic theory suggests that technological improvements increase energy efficiency, rather than reduce energy use. This is called the Jevons Paradox and it is said to occur in two ways. Firstly, increased energy efficiency makes the use of energy relatively cheaper, thus encouraging increased use. Secondly, increased energy efficiency leads to increased economic growth, which pulls up energy use in the whole economy. This does not imply that increased fuel efficiency is worthless, increased fuel efficiency enables greater production and a higher quality of life. However, in order to reduce energy consumption, efficiency gains must be paired with a government intervention that reduces demand (a green tax, cap and trade).[6][7]


Just the shear arrogance of this guy makes me vote for the truth side.

Well… the doomers love Jevons Paradox. For them it is, above all, a reason not to conserve (or a reason why conservation “won’t help”). After all, why should anybody conserve gasoline? If they do so, it will (by Jevons Paradox) just cause consumption of gasoline to increase.

Now, we may not be able to refute Jevons Paradox as an empirical fact, but we certainly can refute the way doomers are using it. We can do it with a single example:
In a vast parking lot ruled by cars and low-slung superstores, Stacey Harper delivers the unlikeliest of travel alternatives: mass transit.

The 41-year-old nurse wheels a white minivan into a rain-dappled parking spot to pick up a couple more co-workers. It is 6 a.m. on a Wednesday in South Hill, and Harper is driving a van pool to work at Western State Hospital.

A year ago, Harper thought nothing of driving 36 miles from home to work alone. That was before the price of a gallon of gasoline began its steady march upward, ultimately costing her $180 to $200 per month.


Please see the rest of the blog AND comments, but his point is that people that conserve energy make money. Once they do that they will rarely ever go back to wasting money. That is Jevons failed to take true consumer behavior into account.


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