Chapter

Rebound Effects and ICT: A Review of the Literature

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

This paper presents a critical review of the literature on the rebound effects generated by information and communication technologies (ICT). Fol-lowing a discussion of the types of general rebound, including direct, indirect, and economy-wide, the literature on ICT-related rebound effects is critically assessed. The chapter suggests ways of overcoming rebound and lays out promising avenues of research to better understand and tackle rebound effects in ICT.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... Rebound effects have been discussed in various disciplines, e.g., psychology, but in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector this topic is still insufficiently investigated [4, 5]. Moore's law constitutes a commonly referenced example of rebound effects in the ICT field. ...
... For example, Walnum and Andrae (2016) estimate that rebound effects possibly offset energy savings at the macro-level due to the increased amount of data transferred [8]. In the field of ICT, potential savings do not only result from energy efficiency improvements, but also from organizational resources, such as workforce [4]. Therefore, we expand the focus from a narrow energy saving perspective to efficiency improvements of general organizational resources in the context of CC. ...
... This in turn would exhaust the expected savings, which consequently remain unrealized. To avoid possible rebound effects that would absorb the resource-saving impact of CC, a basic understanding must be established [4]. With this in view, we conducted a systematic literature review focusing on the definition of rebound effects. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Rebound effects have been discussed in various disciplines. In the information and communication technology sector, this topic is still insufficiently studied. Basically, a rebound effect is a feedback mechanism, as a result of which savings from efficiency improvements are not or only partially realized. Due to the potential of cloud computing for efficiency improvements, not only in terms of energy efficiency, but also in terms of organizational resources in general, we describe rebound effects in this context by means of a systematic literature review and a case study. Our results provide a framework to categorize and identify potential rebound effects in cloud computing. The understanding of rebound effects and their influence on the various organizational resources (e.g., server hardware, human resources or IT know-how), is important for managers to sustainably decide for or against the adoption, integration and roll out of cloud computing services.
... HyperVote needs to be considered as an agile and cost-effective solution to run a reliable and ubiquitous e-voting service. In order to evaluate the benefit of the proposed approach, we identify the following criteria derived by [39]: b) Rebound effect (RE) [40]: the increased efficiency in performing the voting service creates an additional demand for new services. It is a proxy indicator of the achieved efficiency. ...
... technology obsolescence). The possibility to have results in a cost-effective, trusted and verifiable/auditable way triggers the socalled rebound effect [40] in HyperVote that can be expressed in a request of even more configuration levels. Rebound effect is also present in blockchain-based voting system and in simple e-Vote service because of the use of technology. ...
Chapter
This article aims at introducing a new process-centric, trusted, configurable and multipurpose electronic voting service based on the blockchain infrastructure. The objective is to design an e-voting service using blockchain able to automatically translate service configuration defined by the end-user into a cloud-based deployable bundle, automating business logic definition, blockchain configuration, and cloud service provider selection. The architecture includes process mining by design in order to optimize process performance and configuration. The article depicts all the components of the architecture and discusses the impact of the proposed solution.
... 1) Nonregression Property: The validity of the model developed should not be affected by the addition of new elements (e.g., a function, a KPI to be added to the assessment model). 2) Rebound Effect [58]: The increased efficiency in performing resilience assessment creates an additional demand of new assessments. It is a proxy indicator of the achieved efficiency. ...
... The Q-FRAM assessment produces a picture of the status of the system variability at time t that can be efficiently re-assessed from low (periodic) to high (close to real time) frequency simply increasing the sampling rate and the level of automation. In fact, the possibility to have results in a cost-effective, fast-forward and accurate way triggers the so-called rebound effect [58] that is expressed in an even more complex or higher rate assessment requests. Instead, for the Tier 3 methods, such a rebound effect is difficult to trigger because of the complexly, the costs, and the purpose of the approaches that are usually focused on single aspect/component of a system. ...
Article
Full-text available
Due to the continuous increment in complexity of the socio-technical systems, decision makers call for new methods which are able to support timely as well as accurate decision-making related to resilience management. The current methods tend to be polarized on: efficiency-thoroughness forcing decision makers in making decisions on the base of resource availability instead of the problem to be solved. This paper presents a new fast-forward, cost-effective, and thorough enough framework to quantify resilience of a complex socio-technical system. The approach extends the functional resonance analysis method (FRAM) with a numerical method for the quantification of the analysis (Q-FRAM). In particular, it has been extended and operationalized the qualitative concepts of functional variability and dumping capacities into a method in which key performance indicators are derived from the model and aggregated into four indicators representing the FRAM resilience cornerstones (antic-ipate, respond, monitor, learn) through a bottom-up hierarchical approach. Finally, the four indicators are composed in a unique system resilience index that expresses the total variability present in the system at instant t. A numerical example of the use of the framework is provided together with a validation based on a comparison of the proposed approach with the current landscape. Index Terms-Functional resonance analysis method (FRAM), resilience quantification, socio-technical systems, system resilience index (SRI), variability damping capacity.
... (See for example [14] for a current literature review.) The importance of rebounds effects in the ICT sector is under investigated [19].Within the existing literature that is focusing on ICT and empirical analysis of rebound effects several studies have dealt with direct rebound effects of decreased search costs due to e-commerce (e.g. [20], [21]) and [10] and [22] used system thinking and modelling instruments to include direct rebound in a study of effects of ICT on environmental sustainability. ...
... Some of this potential may however be offset by different types of rebound and other indirect effects [22]. There are a number of different types of rebound and other indirect effects that can be relevant [35], [36] also for the ICT sector [9], [19]. Some of them may lead to positive environmental impacts; others may lead to negative impacts. ...
... The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method was applied to examine the ecological implications of shifts in the hardware used for private computer work. The aim of this LCA study was to evaluate whether ecological savings due to technical developments (a shift from desktop computers to mobile devices such as laptop or tablet computers) are compensated or overcompensated by consumer behavior (e.g., more devices per person and/or longer daily use of such devices), i.e., if the usage patterns of modern ICT equipment result in a rebound effect (more about term rebound e.g. in [4]). This comparison was made from different perspectives in order to capture the broad diversity in using such devices. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Sales statistics of computing devices show that users are not replac-ing units one by one, but rather adding additional devices to their hardware portfolios. This chapter describes the outcomes of a first attempt to quantify the ecological implications of changes in the use of ICT hardware for computing services by using LCA and applying three different perspectives ranging from individual devices to global sales of desktop, laptop, and tablet computers. In particular, it addresses the question of which effect actually predominates: the increase in efficiency induced by the emergence of new technologies or the growing energy consumption due to an increased number of devices combined with a higher utilization rate by individual users. The comparison shows a clear reduction of the environmental impact per hour of active use; and the smaller the device, the smaller the impact due to the ac-tive use of the device. However, when the evolution in the use of these kinds of devices is taken into account as well, the picture changes. The calculations show that the higher efficiency of individual devices is fully compensated by the production efforts for all additional devices in use, without any increased use time. If increased use intensity is assumed as well, a clear increase of the overall impact per day can be observed.
... If 30% of business trips worldwide were replaced by teleconferencing, it would lead to an estimated reduction of 500 Mt CO 2 e [30] – roughly 1% of global emissions. These macro-level estimates usually assume that a 1:1 substitution takes place, i.e., they do not take into account rebound effects that may (partly) compensate for the substitution effect, because people will spend the time or money saved on trips either for additional trips or for other activities with relevant environmental impacts (see also Gossart [38], in this volume). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
While the traditional roles of the computer as a machine for scientific calculations, text editing, and graphic design are still significant, computers are increasingly perceived as means of accessing information and interacting with other people – i.e., as electronic media. The aim of this chapter is to analyze digital electronic media and their effects on environmental sustainability. Two fields of application are addressed: electronic media that may replace or augment traditional print media such as newspapers or magazines, and videoconferencing as a potential substitute for traveling to a face-to-face meeting or conference. In both cases, the environmental costs of the electronic media are compared to those of their conventional counterparts. The examples show that electronic media can represent an energy-efficient alternative to traditional activities such as long-distance travel. But they can also be added on top of existing activities instead of replacing them. In such cases, a net increase in the environmental impact results. The availability of small, energy-efficient devices being used as electronic media does not guarantee dematerialization. The overall resource use and emissions throughout the life cycle of the media product systems and, more importantly, at the macro level of total global production and consumption need to be considered. To achieve the dematerialization potential of new electronic media solutions, their efficiency needs to be combined with sufficiency; thus additional measures are necessary to turn the dematerialization potential of electronic media into environmental relief.
... @BULLET Maranghino et al. [29] introduce an information system supporting organizationinternal cap-and-trade schemes for CO 2 emissions permits and other scarce re- sources. @BULLET Gossart [30] provides a review of the literature on rebound effects counteracting ICT-induced progress in energy efficiency. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter provides an overview of energy demand issues in the field of ICT with a focus on the history of measuring, modelling and regulating ICT electricity consumption and the resulting methodological challenges. While the energy efficiency of ICT hardware has been dramatically improving and will continue to improve for some decades, the overall energy used for ICT is still increasing. The growing demand for ICT devices and services outpaces the efficiency gains of individual devices. Worldwide per capita ICT electricity consumption exceeded 100 kWh/year in 2007 (a value which roughly doubles if entertainment equipment is included) and is further increasing. Methodological challenges include issues of data collection and modelling ICT devices and services , assessing the entire life cycle of ICT devices and infrastructures, accounting for embedded ICT, and assessing the effect of software on ICT energy consumption .
... 2. The energy and material resources spent for computation by society in total have nevertheless been increasing. This is an example of what economists call the " rebound effect " or the " Jevons paradox " : Higher efficiency (useful output per input) does usually not lead to the expected savings on the input factor because the demand for output is stimulated by the increase in efficiency [9,10,11]. Mobile devices, however, have triggered a culture of energy sufficiency in hardware and software development because energy is limited by a combination of battery constraints (energy density of the battery, acceptable weight of the battery, required battery life). The performance of LIMITS'15, June 15-16, 2015, Irvine, California, USA. ...
Article
Full-text available
Computing is an activity that is based on natural resources like any other human activity. Technological progress has made it possible to perform more and more computations with less material and energy input. This paper looks at this development through the lens of the three concepts of efficiency, sufficiency, and self-sufficiency, asking the question of whether it could lead to a state of self-sufficiency. This vision, which seems attainable for the activity of computing, is then taken both as a model and as an enabling element for a transition towards a sustainable circular economy based on relative regional self-sufficiency.
... One may ask, why our criteria are then sticking on efficiency properties to label a sustainable website or rather software. As others found and discussed before us, efficiency gains are necessary but not sufficient to achieve sustainability goals [17, 19]. The effects discussed above are also known as rebound effects. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The awareness for software as an important player regarding the energy consumption caused by ICT steadily increased in the past years. The impact of software on the energy consumption is also more and more accepted by the research community under the umbrella of sustainability in general. Nevertheless, the end user is still only slightly or not addressed in the research activities regarding the whole energy consumption of software over its complete lifecycle. Also other stakeholders, e.g. administrators, designers, developers etc., are not in the focus of creating awareness for the aforementioned topics. In this contribution, we therefore focus on ideas, approaches, and challenges in developing a general-purpose labelling process for green and sustainable software products and websites. At first we provide a literature roundup, followed by the elaboration of requirements for the creation of a sustainability label for software products in general based on already existing and new approaches. On a first attempt, we furthermore concentrate on a labelling process for sustainable as well as green websites and sum up with a discussion followed by an outlook on our future work.
... Rebound effect is an " umbrella term for a variety of economic responses to improved energy efficiency and 'energy-saving' behavioral change " [16]. Rebound effects can be categorized as follows [17], [18] (See [19] for a brief history of rebound analysis): ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Processes leading to an increase of demand for a resource as a consequence of increasing the efficiency of using this resource in production or consumption are known as (direct) rebound effects. Rebound effects at micro and macro levels tend to offset the reduction in resource consumption enabled by progress in efficiency. Systems thinking and modeling instruments such as causal loop diagrams and System Dynamics can be used to conceptualize the structure of this complex phenomenon and also to communicate model-based insights. In passenger transport, the rebound effect can be invoked by increased cost efficiency (direct economic rebound) and/or increase in speed (time rebound). In this paper we review and compare two existing models on passenger transport— including a model on the role of information and communication technology— with regard to the feedback loops used to conceptualize rebound effects.
... Sometimes energy efficiency instead lead to rebound effects, such as increased use of the product in question or spending saved money on other things with equal or bigger environmental impact [61]. In that case, the investments in ICT for improving efficiency in energy consumption or labour productivity may mean an absorption of gain, with the investments failing to reach their goals [23]. However, indirect and second order effects are often hard to measure, especially when they are long-term, far-reaching and systemic [4,61]. . ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The ongoing and escalating urbanisation has resulted in a situation where a majority of people worldwide live in cities. Cities stand for a substantial part of the world GDP and are often lifted as possible drivers of sustainable development. However, the city has limitations and vulnerabilities. Cities depend on resources flowing into the city and increasing populations strain their land use. Climate change threatens cities with sea-level rise, heat waves and extreme weather events. Transforming cities into Smart Sustainable Cities by incorporation of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) is becoming a recurring proposed solution to these limitations and challenges. The two main areas where ICT are envisioned to function for this are i) as part of the city's infrastructure for monitoring, efficiency and automatization of processes, and ii) as an enabler for sharing of both information and goods among citizens, expectedly leading to more sustainable urban lifestyles. However, there are several limits to the realisation of the Smart Sustainable City. Manufacturing, implementation and maintenance of its digital infrastructure hold environmental risks and require human and natural resources. Furthermore, there are issues of increased vulnerability of the city due to increased complexity. Already now, the (global) flows that the city depends upon to thrive, are to a large and increasing extent possible due to - and dependent on - ICTs working without disturbances. Considering the fragility of these systems, both physical and virtual, is the Smart Sustainable City a desirable or even feasible path? We suggest that while ICT may be useful for making cities more sustainable, we need to be heedful so as not to make the city even more vulnerable in the process. We suggest that we should make sure that the ICT systems simply assist the cities, while maintaining analogue backup in case the ICT shuts down; that we should build more resilient ICT systems with higher backward compatibility; and that we should acknowledge increasing complexity as a problem and strive to counteract it.
... We did not search for such use cases to keep our study comparable with the existing studies and because it would be difficult to quantify such induction potentials (as the counterpart of abatement potentials).-Rebound effects are known to play an important role in ICT applications ( Gossart, 2015, Hilty, 2008a). We did include rebound effects in our calculations, however, they are subject to high uncertainty. ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is an important enabler for a low-carbon economy in Switzerland. ICT has the potential to avoid up to 3.37 times more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than the amount of emissions caused by the production, operation and disposal of ICT devices and infrastructures used in Switzerland in 2025. In absolute terms, ICT will enable the Swiss economy to save up to 6.99 Mt CO2-equivalents (CO2e) per year, with an own carbon footprint of 2.08 Mt CO2e per year. This opportunity for the ICT sector to contribute to climate protection, however, can only be realized under optimistic assumptions. In particular, it is necessary that the existing technological and economic potentials are systematically exploited by taking ambitious and targeted actions. Such actions can be especially effective in the transportation, building and energy sectors, which have the highest potential for ICT-enabled (“smart”) solutions to reduce GHG emissions. At the same time, the carbon footprint of the ICT sector itself must be reduced by 17%, which is technologically and economically feasible due to efficiency gains.
... • b) Rebound effect [33]: the increased efficiency in managing technology complexity, business processes and trust creates an additional demand of new features and processes that can be managed at business logic (chaincode). It can be considered a proxy indicator of the achieved efficiency. ...
Article
Full-text available
A stable reference of Internet resources is crucial not only to identify a resource in a trustworthy and certified way but also to guarantee continuous access to it over time. The current practice in scientific publication as the use of a Persistent Identifier (PID) like a DOI or Handle, is becoming attractive also for the datasets. In fact, in the era of Big Data, the aspects of replicability and verification of the scientific result are paramount. In this paper we verify the functional feasibility of permissioned blockchain technology as a tool to implement a Trustworthy Persistent Identifier (T-PID) system for datasets in the scientific domain.
... Several authors argue that the ICT sector is particularly prone to high rebound effects or even backfire (Coroama and Mattern, 2019;Galvin, 2015;Gossart, 2015;Hilty and Aebischer, 2015;Santarius, 2015;Walnum and Andrae, 2016). For instance, despite the improved availability of video conferencing systems, the number of international scientific conferences is increasing (Coroama et al., 2012). ...
Article
This article investigates the effect of digitalization on energy consumption. Using an analytical model, we investigate four effects: (1) direct effects from the production, usage and disposal of information and communication technologies (ICT), (2) energy efficiency increases from digitalization, (3) economic growth from increases in labor and energy productivities and (4) sectoral change/tertiarization from the rise of ICT services. The analysis combines empirical and theoretical findings from debates on decoupling energy consumption from economic growth and from debates on green IT and ICT for sustainability. Our main results: Effects 1 and 3 tend to increase energy consumption. Effects 2 and 4 tend to decrease it. Furthermore, our analysis suggests that the two increasing effects prevail so that, overall, digitalization increases energy consumption. These results can be explained by four insights from ecological economics: (a) physical capital and energy are complements in the ICT sector, (b) increases in energy efficiency lead to rebound effects, (c) ICT cannot solve the difficulty of decoupling economic growth from exergy, (d) ICT services are relatively energy intensive and come on top of former production. In future, digitalization can only boost sustainability when it fosters effects 2 and 4 without promoting effects 1 and 3.
Article
Full-text available
The body of literature in the area of IT/IS investment evaluation proposes a variety of methods and techniques for the ex-ante assessment of IT/IS investments. However, the financial evaluation of intangible benefits associated with IT/IS investments in general and investments in innovative IT/IS in particular still remains a problem area of high relevance to decision makers. As a consequence, investment decisions are still taken by practitioners as an “act of faith”. With this in mind, it is our primary aim to develop a quantification model for the financial assessment of intangible benefits concerning investments in innovative IT/IS. Based on an augmented reality and smart glasses application scenario from the construction domain, we demonstrate how intangible benefits of innovative IT/IS investments can be visualised and measured more effectively by means of utility effect chains and system dynamics prior to their incorporation into a cost–benefit analysis. Based on design science research, the quantification model is developed by means of a systematic literature review and evaluated using the augmented reality application scenario in construction. The model can serve as an aid to the managerial decision making process by providing an enhanced understanding of the various tangible and intangible benefits associated with the investment. (Full-text view-only version available at http://rdcu.be/CP3Q)
Article
Die Digitalisierung der Wirtschaft ist in vollem Gange. Doch das Potenzial dieses Prozesses für eine sozial-ökologische Gesellschaftstransformation ist noch unterbeleuchtet. Drei Fragen bringen Licht in das Dunkel.
Article
The global economy is not particularly energy-efficient. At current levels of consumption, we now waste about 86 % of the energy now used to maintain economic activity. This magnitude of waste imposes huge costs that constrain the robustness of the world economy. At the same time, however, there is an array of untapped cost-effective energy efficiency resources that can restore both energy and economic efficiency. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) may be the key to unlocking that potential.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The induction of demand by increasing the efficiency of a production or consumption process is known as the rebound effect. Feedback loops in System Dynamics can be used to conceptualize the structure of this complex phenomenon and also for communicating model-based insights. In passenger transport, the rebound effect can be induced through increased cost efficiency (direct economic rebound) and/or increase in speed (time rebound). In this paper we review and compare two models on environmental effects of passenger transport—including a model on the role of information and communication technology. We highlight the feedback mechanisms used to deal with the rebound effect (price, efficiency, and time rebound).
Article
Full-text available
Many information and communications technology (ICT) services have become commonplace worldwide and are certain to continue to spread faster than before, particularly along with the commercialization of 5G and movement restrictions in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Although there is a concern that ICT equipment usage may increase power consumption and emit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, ICT has also been contributing to reducing GHG emissions through improved productivity and reduced mobility. This research targeted the main ICT services used in Japan and adopted a dynamic national computable general equilibrium model to quantitatively analyze future impacts on economic growth and GHG emission reduction until 2030 by using these ICTs, while considering both the increase in power consumption of ICT itself and the reduction in environmental load in other sectors. The results showed that the spread of ICT services, especially some artificial intelligence-based services, can improve productivity in most sectors through labor-saving and contribute to improving overall gross domestic product (GDP). Additionally, increased efficiency of logistics and manufacturing can greatly reduce the input of oil and coal products and so greatly contribute to GHG emission reduction. In 2030, compared with the baseline scenario in which all technology levels are fixed at current levels, at least 1% additional GDP growth and 4% GHG emission reduction can be expected by the targeted introduction of ICT in the ICT accelerated scenario in which the technology level of ICT accelerates. This also means ICT can potentially decouple the economy from the environment.
Chapter
Full-text available
Direct energy consumption of ICT hardware is only “half the story.” In order to get the “whole story,” energy consumption during the entire life cycle has to be taken into account. This chapter is a first step toward a more comprehensive picture, showing the “grey energy” (i.e., the overall energy requirements) as well as the releases (into air, water, and soil) during the entire life cycle of exemplary ICT hardware devices by applying the life cycle assessment method. The examples calculated show that a focus on direct energy consumption alone fails to take account of relevant parts of the total energy consumption of ICT hardware as well as the relevance of the production phase. As a general tendency, the production phase is more and more important the smaller (and the more energy-efficient) the devices are. When in use, a tablet computer is much more energy-efficient than a desktop computer system with its various components, so its production phase has a much greater relative importance. Accordingly, the impacts due to data transfer when using Internet services are also increasingly relevant the smaller the end-user device is, reaching up to more than 90% of the overall impact when using a tablet computer.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Future energy technologies must be based on renewable sources of energy and they must be sustainable. This workshop will provide insight into unintended impacts of renewable energy and how they can be avoided. In order to steer away from the pitfalls and unintended effects it is essential that necessary knowledge is present to the developers and decision makers engaged in renewable energy. This is where this workshop is valuable in its discussion of unintended health and environmental impacts of various renewable energy technologies. The workshop give the participants an introduction the the concept of unintended consequences, in connection with renewable energy. Furthermore, several approaches to improve the understanding of these consequences and methods for predicting them, will be discussed. This will include the concepts of rebound effects and consequential life cycle assessments (LCA). The workshop will encompass presentations and discussions of results from cross-disciplinary research on implementation of the alternative fuels hydrogen, electricity and biodiesel in the transport sector, as well as the assessment of environmental impacts from the production of solar cells. This will also cover impacts of the use of nanotechnology and nanomaterials in the various energy technologies. In-dept focus will also be on the formation of nanoparticles during combustion of bio-blended diesel, and the toxic effects of these new emission components.
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter provides an overview of energy demand issues in the field of ICT with a focus on the history of measuring, modelling and regulating ICT electricity consumption and the resulting methodological challenges. While the energy efficiency of ICT hardware has been dramatically improving and will continue to improve for some decades, the overall energy used for ICT is still increasing. The growing demand for ICT devices and services outpaces the efficiency gains of individual devices. Worldwide per capita ICT electricity consumption exceeded 100 kWh/year in 2007 (a value which roughly doubles if entertainment equipment is included) and is further increasing. Methodological challenges include issues of data collection and modelling ICT devices and services , assessing the entire life cycle of ICT devices and infrastructures, accounting for embedded ICT, and assessing the effect of software on ICT energy consumption .
Chapter
Full-text available
While the traditional roles of the computer as a machine for scientific calculations, text editing, and graphic design are still significant, computers are increasingly perceived as means of accessing information and interacting with other people – i.e., as electronic media. The aim of this chapter is to analyze digital electronic media and their effects on environmental sustainability. Two fields of application are addressed: electronic media that may replace or augment traditional print media such as newspapers or magazines, and videoconferencing as a potential substitute for traveling to a face-to-face meeting or conference. In both cases, the environmental costs of the electronic media are compared to those of their conventional counterparts. The examples show that electronic media can represent an energy-efficient alternative to traditional activities such as long-distance travel. But they can also be added on top of existing activities instead of replacing them. In such cases, a net increase in the environmental impact results. The availability of small, energy-efficient devices being used as electronic media does not guarantee dematerialization. The overall resource use and emissions throughout the life cycle of the media product systems and, more importantly, at the macro level of total global production and consumption need to be considered. To achieve the dematerialization potential of new electronic media solutions, their efficiency needs to be combined with sufficiency; thus additional measures are necessary to turn the dematerialization potential of electronic media into environmental relief.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This section analyses the environmental impact of ICT. This is done through an analysis on how two specific applications (tele-work and teleshopping) affect transport behavior. These two applications are considered to have a large potential with regard to savings in energy consumption.
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we focus on a select group of technical and policy issues, which are currently important and/or are expected to become more critical in the coming years. The first set of technical issues deals with the evaluation of (1) persistence, (2) behavior and behavior change, and (3) rebound. We provide an overview of the importance of these issues, discuss key data collection and analytical challenges involved in evaluating them, and identify some recent methodological advances that have been made in these areas. These technical issues are becoming more important as energy efficiency and demand side management are increasingly being relied upon as a means of achieving long-term energy resource and environmental objectives. The second set of policy issues deals with (1) the evaluation of energy efficiency at the “policy” rather than the “program” level, (2) the use of “top-down” rather than “bottom-up” evaluation of energy efficiency programs and policies, and (3) closing the loop between evaluators and implementers. We provide an overview of the importance of these issues, particularly as seen by policymakers at the state, federal, and international levels.
Article
Full-text available
Before his major 1870s economic writings, William Stanley Jevons wrote in 1865 his first important book entitled The Coal Question. Jevons displays an interest for the problem of resource depletion, and some opportunism linked to the treatment of a subject in vogue at the time. The Coal Question is retrospectively essentially known for having pointed out the first bases of what we call today the rebound effect, known as well as the “Jevons' paradox”. No one can deny the major contribution Jevons did by insisting on the energy efficiency paradoxical phenomenon. However, this is not the only interesting idea proposed in The Coal Question. This article aims at drawing a larger framework of the ideas developed by Jevons, looking at some specific points that testify to his position as a turning point in the history of environmental studies. We see that Jevons expresses a desire of emancipation from both natural sciences and engineering, yet without ignoring the necessity of interdisciplinary perspectives to deal with environmental matters. It places Jevons as a pioneer of several modern approaches towards environmental economics, including ecological economics.
Article
Full-text available
This article explores the idea that certain temporalities of technology relate to temporalities embodied in different social practices. Our interest focuses on practices that do not seek a priori to domesticate time but rather seek to come to terms with it. Sociological analysis can no longer assume that technological artifacts incorporate functional time demands that determine unequivocally the uses of time. Instead it is concrete practices that generate those qualities of technology that we usually tend to grasp as `permanent' and `pregiven'. To what extent the complex inter-relationship of technology and time is revealed will be illustrated by three different types - the `surfer', the `sceptic' and the `gambler'. These figures show the complicated and multidimensional ways in which technology plays a part in the constitution of reality and assumes differing shapes in everyday life.
Article
Full-text available
This article discusses recent innovations in how peer review is conducted in light of the various functions journals fulfill in scholarly communities.
Article
Full-text available
How many scholarly research articles are there in existence? Journal articles first appeared in 1665, and the cumulative total is estimated here to have passed 50 million in 2009. This sum was arrived at based on published figures for global annual output for 2006, and analyses of annual output and growth rates published in the last decade.
Article
Full-text available
Pervasive Computing will bring about both additional loads on and benefits to the environment. The prevailing assessment of positive and negative effects will de-pend on how effectively energy and waste policy governs the development of ICT infrastructures and applications in the coming years. Although Pervasive Comput-ing is not expected to change the impact of the technosphere on the environment radically, it may cause additional material and energy consumption due to the pro-duction and use of ICT as well as severe pollution risks that may come about as a result of the disposal of electronic waste. These first-order environmental impacts are to be set off against the second-order effects, such as higher eco-efficiency due to the possibility to optimize material and energy intensive processes or to replace them by pure signal processing (dematerialization). The potential environmental benefits from such second-order effects are considerable and can outweigh the first-order effects. But changes in demand for more efficient services (third-order ef-fects) can counterbalance these savings. The experience gained thus far with ICT impacts has shown that such a rebound effect occurs in most cases of technological innovations.
Article
Full-text available
Information technology (IT) is continuously making astounding progress in technical efficiency. The time, space, material and energy needed to provide a unit of IT service have decreased by three orders of magnitude since the first personal computer (PC) was sold. However, it seems difficult for society to translate IT's efficiency progress into progress in terms of individual, organizational or socio-economic goals. In particular it seems to be difficult for individuals to work more efficiently, for organizations to be more productive and for the socio-economic system to be more sustainable by using increasingly efficient IT. This article provides empirical evidence and potential explanations for this problem. Many counterproductive effects of IT can be explained economically by rebound effects. Beyond that, we conclude that the technological determinism adopted by decision-makers is the main obstacle in translating IT's progress into non-technical goals.
Article
Full-text available
The interaction or feedback between energy efficiencies or energy intensities and energy use has long been the topic of debate. Some have argued that energy efficiency improvements, by reducing energy intensities and therefore lowering the cost of energy services, would lead to 'rebound’ effects offsetting much or all of any initial savings in energy. In this paper we analyse historical data on energy use, efficiency and pricing in different sectors to try and identify 'rebounds'. For the period of our data (since about 1970) we show that key measures of activity (car use, manufacturing output and structure, house area, etc.) have changed little in response to changes in energy prices or efficiency, instead continuing their long-term evolution relative to GDP or other driving factors. While our analysis cannot disentangle more macro-level economic feedbacks in a detailed way, we show indirectly that such effects also appear to have been small over the 1970s and 1980s. Overall, our analysis of disaggregated sectoral and subsectoral energy-use and activity trends in a variety of IEA economies, suggests that any feedback effect is small compared to both the effects on energy use of changes in energy intensities and overall economic growth.
Article
Full-text available
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have relevant positive and negative impacts on environmental sustainability on various levels: First-order effects such as increasing electronic waste streams; second-order effects such as improved energy-efficiency of production; third-order effects such as a product-to-service shift in consumption or rebound effects in transport. In the simulation study described in this article, all known relevant effects on all three levels were modeled using a System Dynamics approach in combination with scenario techniques and expert consultations. The prospective study for the European Union with a time-horizon until 2020 revealed great potential for ICT-supported energy management and for a structural change towards a less material-intensive economy, but strong rebound effects in the transport sector whenever ICT applications lead to time or cost savings for transport.
Article
Full-text available
This paper challenges the belief that improving the efficiency of resource use will necessarily lead to lower consumption. Findings are presented of a study by the UK Open University of the environmental impacts of three higher education (HE) delivery systems. Initial analysis indicates that the distance-taught courses involve 90% less energy and CO2 emissions than the campus courses. Electronic delivery does not result in a reduction in energy or CO2 emissions compared to print-based distance learning, due to rebound effects, e.g. in use of computers and home heating. The paper concludes that to limit consumption, we need to deal with rebound effects and practice ‘sustainable consumption’.
Article
Full-text available
Sustainability concepts that rest on the idea of resource- or energy-efficiency improvements due to technological progress tend to overestimate the potential saving effects because they frequently ignore the behavioral responses evoked by technological improvements. Efficiency improvements also affect the demand for resources and energy, and often an increase in efficiency by 1% will cause a reduction in resource use that is far below 1% or, sometimes, it can even cause an increase in resource use. This phenomenon is commonly labeled the rebound effect, which is well-known among energy economists, but never attracted much attention in ecological economics. The paper starts with the traditional neoclassical analysis of the rebound effect in a partial equilibrium framework that concentrates on the demand of one particular energy service such as mobility or room temperature. It also provides an overview of some of the main empirical studies based on this model that mostly confirm the existence of the rebound effect, but are controversial about its actual importance. However, we have to go beyond the neoclassical single-service model in order to take care of the variety of possible feedback affecting energy use. The paper presents two important expansions of the single-service model in order to show the potential relevance of the rebound effect to ecological economics. First, it is shown that in a multi-services model it proves to be difficult to make general statements about the relevance of the rebound effect. In this case, the overall effect of an increase in energy efficiency on total energy use depends on the on the assumptions about the substitutability between the services considered and the direction of the income effect. Second, the paper also tries to take care of the fact that changes in resource use or energy use are frequently just ‘side-effects’ of other forms of technological progress. Especially technological change of a time-saving nature can have a large influence on energy use as many time-saving devices (for example, faster modes of transport) require an increase in energy consumption that is frequently reinforced by a ‘rebound effect with respect to time’. This effect will be especially strong when wages are high and, at the same time, energy prices are low, as is currently the case in most industrialized countries. Consequently, the paper also provides a strong argument for the introduction of energy taxes.
Article
Full-text available
We analyse the co-authorship networks of researchers affiliated at universities in Turkey by using two databases: the international SSCI database and the Turkish ULAKBIM database. We find that co-authorship networks are composed largely of isolated groups and there is little intersection between the two databases, permitting little knowledge diffusion. There seems to be two disparate populations of researchers. While some scholars publish mostly in the international journals, others target the national audience, and there is very little intersection between the two populations. The same observation is valid for universities, among which there is very little collaboration. Our results point out that while Turkish social sciences and humanities publications have been growing impressively in the last decade, domestic networks to ensure the dissemination of knowledge and of research output are very weak and should be supported by domestic policies.
Article
Full-text available
The containment of power consumption and the use of alternative green sources of energy are the new main goals of telecommunication operators, to cope with the rising energy costs, the increasingly rigid environmental standards, and the growing power requirements of modern high-performance networking devices. To address these challenges, we envision the necessity of introducing energy-efficiency and energy-awareness in the design, configuration and management of networks, and specifically in the design and implementation of enhanced control-plane protocols to be used in next generation networks. Accordingly, we focus on research and industrial challenges that foster new developments to decrease the carbon footprint while leveraging the capacities of highly dynamic, ultra-high-speed, networking. We critically discuss current approaches, research trends and technological innovations for the coming green era and we outline future perspectives towards new energy-oriented network planning, protocols and algorithms. We also combine all the above elements into a comprehensive energy-oriented network model within the context of a general constrained routing and wavelength assignment problem framework, and analyze and quantify through ILP formulations the savings that can be attained on the next generation networks. KeywordsEnergy efficiency–Energy-awareness–Energy-oriented network models–Power consumption minimization–Carbon footprint minimization–Integer Linear Programming
Article
Full-text available
We estimated the world’s technological capacity to store, communicate, and compute information, tracking 60 analog and digital technologies during the period from 1986 to 2007. In 2007, humankind was able to store 2.9 × 1020 optimally compressed bytes, communicate almost 2 × 1021 bytes, and carry out 6.4 × 1018 instructions per second on general-purpose computers. General-purpose computing capacity grew at an annual rate of 58%. The world’s capacity for bidirectional telecommunication grew at 28% per year, closely followed by the increase in globally stored information (23%). Humankind’s capacity for unidirectional information diffusion through broadcasting channels has experienced comparatively modest annual growth (6%). Telecommunication has been dominated by digital technologies since 1990 (99.9% in digital format in 2007), and the majority of our technological memory has been in digital format since the early 2000s (94% digital in 2007).
Article
Full-text available
White Certificate schemes are currently being implemented or proposed in a growing number of jurisdictions as a means to drive greater energy efficiency uptake. After briefly discussing some of the strengths and weaknesses of such schemes, this paper outlines a proposed alternative approach--the use of Energy Sales Targets. This approach essentially involves the imposition of a cap on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with annual energy sales and, in its simplest version, requires no tradeable certificates or permits. The proposed approach creates a clear measurable link between how compliance is enforced (the retailers' targets) and the desired outcomes of the scheme (measurable reductions in GHG emissions). This drives physical additionality of the scheme, including negation of any rebound effect within the covered sectors. It also avoids the need to define the activities eligible to create certificates, and likewise, no deeming, auditing, monitoring or verification would be required by government beyond ensuring retailer compliance--significantly reducing administration costs. There does not appear to be a clear precedent for this type of scheme anywhere in the world, and so this paper should be seen as a preliminary scoping of options that are deserving of more in-depth assessment.
Chapter
The research involved a carbon-based environmental assessment and data analysis of 30 Higher Education (HE) courses in campus-based and distance education systems in fifteen UK institutions that were using a range of teaching models to provide teaching, learning and assessment. The increasing pervasiveness of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) combined with new pedagogical approaches and practices to using them, is creating innovative teaching models. There has been little research on the environmental sustainability of complex HE teaching models whether face-to-face, distance-taught (print-based), online, or blended. This raises questions about whether greater use of ICTs in HE has better or worse environmental impacts than more traditional models. To be able to compare environmental impacts across a wide range of HE courses, we developed a classification of teaching models, using lecturers’ ratings to establish the use of online, face-to-face, print-based distance, or ICT-enhanced blended teaching models. Next the environmental assessment methodology was designed to inform data gathering and analysis of the key sources of carbon impacts associated with HE courses, including: staff and student travel; purchase and use of ICT devices and educational materials; residential energy consumption; and campus site operations. This chapter examines the role of ICTs in UK-based HE teaching models and their carbon-based environmental impacts, and identifies models and practices that will benefit sustainability drives in HE.
Chapter
Direct rebound effects relate to individual energy services, such as heating, lighting and refrigeration and are confined to the energy required to provide that service. Since improved energy efficiency will reduce the marginal cost of supplying the relevant service it could lead to an increase in the consumption of that service. For example, consumers may choose to drive further and/or more often following the purchase of a fuel-efficient car because the operating cost per kilometre has fallen. Similarly, consumers may choose to heat their homes for longer periods and/or to a higher temperature following the installation of loft insulation, because the operating cost per square metre has fallen. The extent to which this occurs may be expected to vary widely from one energy service to another, from one circumstance to another and from one time period to another. But any increase in energy service consumption will reduce the ‘energy savings’ achieved by the energy-efficiency improvement. In some circumstances it could offset those savings altogether (backfire).
Chapter
We present an interdisciplinary approach to electric mobility based on three main research areas: Energy Management, System Architecture and Human–Machine Interface. A flexible energy management model is developed to suit the needs of arbitrary aggregated configurations in different hybrid vehicles. Our modular and data-centric vehicle ICT architecture reduces communication overhead, while addressing component plug-and-play and automotive safety. The classical human–machine interface is extended with a highly integrated HMI module which analyzes the interaction context. A drive-by-wire hybrid vehicle prototype has been constructed, the Innotruck, which serves as both testing ground for the developed concepts and a presentation area for communicating the results to public. Emphasis is placed on the societal importance of our work, impact and dissemination of results. More than 20 industry and research partners contribute directly to the project and the further development of the prototype vehicle.
Article
CMOS circuits have been the workhorse of ICT for 40 years. Due to the unique scaling property of this technology, energy efficiency has enormously improved during that time, notably by lowering the supply voltage from the longtime standard of 5 to 1 V and less. As the era of ‘‘happy scaling’’ has come to an end, progress becomes increasingly difficult and techniques beyond 2D size reductions have come into play. A superior and viable alternative to CMOS has yet to be found.
Article
Environmentalists tell us that improving energy efficiency will lead to a reduction in energy consumption whereas economists are convinced that the opposite will occur. This paper claims that the goal should be fewer carbon dioxide emissions not less energy use, which requires development of non-fossil fuel sources,The promotion of energy efficiency should thus not be to reduce energy consumption but to produce a higher quality of life and enable society to fund the transition to a greener and move sustainable future.
Article
The United States is the richest economy in the world. Yet in the 2000s the United States has been unable to deliver equitable and stable economic growth to its own population (Lazonick 2009a, ch. 1; 2009b; and 2011a). The national unemployment rate, which was over six percent in the "jobless recovery" of 2003, exceeded ten percent in the "jobless recovery" of 2009, and in April 2011 was still at 9.0 percent. The distribution of income has become increasingly unequal over the past three decades, with a disappearance of middle-income jobs. In the 1990s and 2000s even the jobs of well-educated and experienced members of the labor force have been vulnerable to downsizing and offshoring. Meanwhile, there has been a growing concentration of income among the richest households. The share of total income (including capital gains) going to the top one percent of households in the income distribution rose from about nine percent in the mid 1970s to over 22 percent on average in 2005-2008 (Alvaredo et al. 2011). A prime reason for the decline of employment opportunities and the growth in income inequality in the last three decades in the United States is the way in which US business corporations are governed, and in particular the way in which the stock-based remuneration of corporate executives influences their resource-allocation decisions. In the 1980s and 1990s agency theorists advocated stock-based compensation so that corporate executives would have the incentive to "maximize shareholder value" (MSV), which would supposedly improve the performance of the economy as a whole (Jensen 1986; Jensen and Murphy 1990). In this paper I will argue that, on the contrary, MSV is an ideology that has been destructive of the performance of the US economy.
Article
Information and communication technology (ICT) can be seen as a general-purpose technology with wide-ranging socio-economic and environmental implications across sectors. ICTs also constitute a system of technologies with stronger internal links since the emergence of the Internet and broadband as a new information infrastructure. The new infrastructure has co-evolved with widespread integration of ICTs in everyday life, and consumer demand has been decisive for ICT innovation. This article explores the environmental directionality of ICT innovation and the broadband transition, focusing mainly on energy impacts. It is argued that much innovation tends to develop in an unsustainable direction and that public regulation falls far short of the challenge. Transition theory is applied to analyze the background for the unsustainable development and the reasons why environmental concerns do not figure more prominently in the broadband transition. Finally, it is discussed how the direction of ICT innovation could be influenced in order to realize more of the positive sustainability potential.
Article
Shifting consumer preferences towards ‘green’ consumption is promoted by many governments and environmental groups. Rebound effects, which reduce the effectiveness of such actions, are estimated for cost-saving ‘green’ consumption choices using Australian data. Cases examined are: reduced vehicle use, reduced electricity use, changing to smaller passenger vehicles, and utilising fluorescent lighting. It is found that if rebound effects are ignored when eval- uating ‘green’ consumption, environmental benefits will be overstated by around 20% for reduced vehicle use, and 7% for reduced electricity use. Rebound effects are higher, and environmental benefits lower, when more efficient vehicles or lighting are utilised rather than simple conserva- tion actions of forgoing use. In addition, lower income households have higher rebound effects, suggesting that environmental policy directed at changing consumer behaviour is most effective when targeted at high income households. Additionally, an inherent trade-off between economic and environmental benefits of ‘green’ consumption choices is demonstrated. The size of the rebound effect, and the observed variation with household income, is attributed to life-cycle analysis (LCA) methodologies associated with the calculation of embodied GHG emis- sions of consumption goods. These results should be therefore be interpreted as the minimum rebound effect to include in policy evaluation.
Article
The sustainability of archival institutions will be greatly affected by attempts to mitigate their carbon footprint to meet the challenges of global climate change. This paper explores how recordkeeping practices may enhance or undermine the sustainability of archives. To enhance sustainability, it is a common practice to increase the efficiency of recordkeeping practices. However, increases to efficiency may lead to a phenomenon known as Jevons’ Paradox. Jevons’ Paradox occurs when improvements in efficiency to a system or process result in an increase in use (instead of a decrease) of a resource. The failure of the paperless office demonstrates Jevons’ Paradox, and it has wide implications for the future sustainability of repositories. This paper advances the notion that “green” technologies alone are not enough to ensure sustainability. They must be deployed in concert with a systematic use of archival practices and theories for environmental sustainability to be ensured.
Article
The possibility that stereotype rebound may occur for viewers of aid agency appeals was investigated. Stereotype rebound refers to the ironic finding that active efforts to avoid thinking about people in a stereotypical manner can backfire and subsequently lead to increased stereotypical thinking and prejudiced behaviour. In two experiments, participants were instructed to avoid stereotyped thinking about developing world poor and were later asked to respond to a situation involving the same group—in Experiment 1, participants wrote a ‘day in the life’ story about the target group; in Experiment 2, participants seated themselves in preparation for meeting a member of the outgroup. In neither experiment was the typical stereotype rebound effect observed. In Experiment 1, suppressors' stories were found to be no more stereotypical in content than controls. In Experiment 2, suppressors sat closer to the target than controls. The differences between these results and those of experiments utilizing other stereotyped groups are discussed in terms of differences in stereotype content and attitudes to socially sensitive outgroups. Copyright
Article
Abstract We develop an econometric model to estimate the impact of Electronic Vehicle Management Systems (EVMS) on the load factor (LF) of heavy trucks. This technology is supposed to improve capacity utilization. The model is estimated on the Quebec subsample of the 1999 National Roadside Survey. The LF is explained as a function of truck, trip, and carrier characteristics. We show that the use of EVMS results in an increase of 16 percentage points of LF on backhaul trips. However, we also find that there is a rebound effect on fronthaul movements, with a reduction of LF by about 7.6 percentage points. Nous estimons un modèle économétrique pour évaluer l'impact des systèmes de gestion électronique des véhicules (SGEV) sur le taux de chargement (TC) des camions lourds. Cette technologie est censée améliorer l'utilisation de la capacité. Le modèle est estimé sur le sous-échantillon québécois des données de l'enquête nationale routière en bord de route de 1999. Le TC est expliqué en fonction des caractéristiques du camion, du voyage et de l'entreprise de transport. Nous montrons que l'utilisation de SGEV accroit le TC sur le retour d'environ 16 points de pourcentage. Par contre, nous trouvons également un effet rebond sur l'aller avec une réduction de TC d'environ 7.6 points de pourcentage.
Article
The environmental effects of e-commerce may be described in terms of first-, second-, and third-order effects. Data for these effects are scarce, partly because research on environmental effects of e-commerce and e-business is still in its infancy, although it is evolving very rapidly.Until now, positive environmental consequences of e-commerce have generally been coincidental. Two crucial questions that must be addressed are (1) How do we improve our understanding and management of the environmental effects of e-commerce? and (2) Which approaches are best suited to the development of sustainable e-solutions? Three approaches to developing sustainable e-commerce solutions are discussed: the extension of environmental performance measurement and management to e-commerce activities, the use of new cooperative forms of innovation management, and the provision of customer choice. Finally, an outlook on future research demands is presented. The technology itself (information and communication technologies, Internet) does not determine sustainability, but rather its design, use, and regulation does.
Article
In the discussion of energy conservation, a great deal of attention has focused on mandated efficiency standards for cars and energy-using household appliances. (In this article, I will use the term "appliance" in a generic sense to cover household durables). Unfortunately, the estimates of energy savings predicted to result from these mandated standards are derived mechanically.' When mandated standards raise the appliance efficiency by 1 percent, demand is predicted to drop by 1 percent; when they raise efficiency by 2 percent, demand is predicted to drop by 2 percent; and so on. Examples of such results are found in reports by the Department of Energy (1979a, 1980) and by the Staff of the California Energy Commission (1979) on energy demand in California in the coming two decades.
Article
- DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1065/lca2006.04.018 Goal, Scope and Background Life cycle assessment has emerged into a useful tool to assess and potentially reduce the environmental impacts per functional unit. This has contributed to increase eco-efficiency but not necessarily to decrease absolute pollution per capita. The number of functional units is increasing and new functions add to the impacts of consumption. Despite the attempts to use different levels of definitions for the functional unit and applying LCA in the field of lifestyle studies there has been little success to grasp the consumption side of sustainable production and consumption. This contribution aims to tackle the consumption side by at least two extensions: the function of products, services, and activities is assessed with a multi-attribute need function and the propensity to cause both psychological and physical rebound effects are considered in the design phase. Methods We develop a checklist approach with an evaluation and assessment table. The elements of the checklist are rooted in a number of independent fields of science: needs matrix, happiness enhancing factors, a number of limiting factors that can cause rebound effects, and streamlined LCA. Results and Conclusion For illustration purposes we comparatively evaluate gardening, having a dog, a weekend house, and starting yoga classes and show that the new analysis framework is able to make transparent and operable the inclusion of a number of additional factors that remained so far implicit or neglected. The additional factors considered can be grouped into factors that may cause rebound effects through psychological or physical mechanisms. The assessment table combines the degree of satisfying needs and enhancing happiness in a psychological rebound score. The physical rebound score considers six factors that may constrain consumption: Costs, time, space, other scarce resources, information, and skills. This allows predicting the potential for rebound effects that would increase total impacts from consumption. In addition, it gives also a handle on how to use the knowledge on rebound effects to not only reduce the impacts of the product or activity at hand but also reducing other consumption that in turn might have adverse impacts. Recommendation and Perspective Many assumptions in selecting and quantifying the additional factors and the final assessment procedure remain conceptual and therefore provisional. This contribution opens new avenues of investigations that need both further refinements of the theories and empirical evidence. Consumerism and materialism has undermined much of the success stories of improved eco-efficiency and LCA. We suggest using some of the very same psychological and physical mechanisms to foster sustainable consumption.
Article
This paper discusses the relationship of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) and sustainable development. It deconstructs popular myths about a sustainable information society. One myth is that telework has reduced the need to travel and hence environmental pollution. The reality is that teleworkers make up only a small share of the total workforce, telework can generate new social relationships and hence the need for more travelling, work-related travel produces only a small amount of the total carbon dioxide emissions, and that the total distance travelled per employee is constantly rising. Another myth is that information economy is weightless and dematerialized which reduces environmental impacts. The energy and resource intensities of the ICT sector are indeed lower than the one of the total economy. The ICT sector also emits less CO2 than the total economy. But the ICT sector constitutes only a small portion of the total value added and fossil fuel combustion is still the dominant activity of modern industrial economies. Some stakeholders argue that virtual products allow resource, energy, and transport savings. But burning digital music on compact discs and DVDs, printing digital articles and books, etc. results in rebound effects that cause new material and energy impacts, computers have a low life span of 2–3years, reusable and upgradeable computers and computer equipment are hardly used and might not be as profitable as non-reusable ones, computers are consuming much energy. Alternatives such as energy consumption labels on ICTs and green ICTs that consume less energy contradict dominant economic interests. A sustainable information society is a society that makes use of ICTs and knowledge for fostering a good life for all human beings of current and future generations by strengthening biological diversity, technological usability, economic wealth for all, political participation of all, and cultural wisdom. Achieving a sustainable information society costs, it demands a conscious reduction of profits by not investing in the future of capital, but the future of humans, society, and nature.
Article
This article sketches the problem of indirect energy use effects, also known as rebound, of energy conservation. There is widespread support for energy conservation, especially when it is voluntary, as this seems a cheap way to realize environmental and energy-climate goals. However, this overlooks the phenomenon of rebound. The topic of energy rebound has mainly attracted attention from energy analysts, but has been surprisingly neglected in environmental economics, even though economists generally are concerned with indirect or economy-wide impacts of technical change and policies. This paper presents definitions and interpretations of energy and environmental rebound, as well as four fundamental reasons for the existence of the rebound phenomenon. It further offers the most complete list of rebound pathways or mechanisms available in the literature. In addition, it discusses empirical estimates of rebound and addresses the implications of uncertainties and difficulties in assessing rebound. Suggestions are offered for strategies and public policies to contain rebound. It is advised that rebound evaluation is an essential part of environmental policy and project assessments. As opposed to earlier studies, this paper stresses the relevance of the distinction between energy conservation resulting from autonomous demand changes and from efficiency improvements in technology/equipment. In addition, it argues that rebound is especially relevant for developing countries. KeywordsBackfire-Developing countries-Jevons’ paradox-Rebound mechanisms-Relieving limits-Tradable permits JEL ClassificationsQ43-Q48-Q54-Q55-Q58
Article
This article contributes to the theoretical and empirical discussions on how it could be possible to transform technical eco-efficiency into reduced environmental impact of consumption. The rebound effect is an important concept in this context. The relevance of consumer behaviour is addressed within three important sectors for the Zero Emissions Techniques and Systems: shopping of paper products, energy use in household and waste management. It is not only important how much the consumers buy, but also what kinds of products they buy and how they use and dispose of them. However, the responsibility for a sustainable development should not entirely be put on the shoulders of the individual consumer.
Article
Current energy and GHG emissions policies either focus directly on emissions or promote renewable production and the implementation of specific efficiency measures. Meanwhile, the fundamental structure of the energy market based on profits through energy throughput remains largely unchallenged. This policy oversight prevents the transition to an energy economy in which profits are based on energy services delivered at the lowest energy cost: a performance-based energy economy (PBEE). The PBEE applies the combined concepts of the performance economy and energy services to the energy sector. Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) are discussed as an example of PBEE practices. The implications for energy suppliers and consumers as well as the conditions for PBEE diffusion and consequences for technological change are also explored. The expected environmental, social and economic benefits are described. However, absolute consumption and emissions reductions may prove elusive due to the rebound effect. In order to forestall rebound-led increases, complementary policy measures likely to lead to absolute reductions are required.
Article
Beginning with William Stanley Jevons in 1865, a number of authors have claimed that economically justified energy-efficiency improvements will increase rather than reduce energy consumption. ‘Jevons Paradox’ is extremely difficult to test empirically, but could have profound implications for energy and climate policy. This paper summarises and critiques the arguments and evidence that have been cited in support of Jevons’ Paradox, focusing in particular on the work of Len Brookes and Harry Saunders. It identifies some empirical and theoretical weaknesses in these arguments, highlights the questions they raise for economic orthodoxy and points to some interesting parallels between these arguments and those used by the ‘biophysical’ school of ecological economics. While the evidence in favour of ‘Jevons Paradox’ is far from conclusive, it does suggest that economy-wide rebound effects are larger than is conventionally assumed and that energy plays a more important role in driving productivity improvements and economic growth than is conventionally assumed.
Article
The rebound effect results in part from an increased consumption of energy services following an improvement in the technical efficiency of delivering those services. This increased consumption offsets the energy savings that may otherwise be achieved. If the rebound effect is sufficiently large it may undermine the rationale for policy measures to encourage energy efficiency.The nature and magnitude of the rebound effect is the focus of long-running dispute with energy economics. This paper brings together previous theoretical work to provide a rigorous definition of the rebound effect, to clarify key conceptual issues and to highlight the potential consequences of various assumptions for empirical estimates of the effect. The focus is on the direct rebound effect for a single energy service — indirect and economy-wide rebound effects are not discussed.Beginning with Khazzoom's original definition of the rebound effect, we expose the limitations of three simplifying assumptions on which this definition is based. First, we argue that capital costs form an important part of the total cost of providing energy services and that empirical studies that estimate rebound effects from variations in energy prices are prone to bias. Second, we argue that energy efficiency should be treated as an endogenous variable and that empirical estimates of the rebound effect may need to apply a simultaneous equation model to capture the joint determination of key variables. Third, we explore the implications of the opportunity costs of time in the production of energy services and highlight the consequences for energy use of improved ‘time efficiency’, the influence of time costs on the rebound effect and the existence of a parallel rebound effect with respect to time. Each of these considerations serves to highlight the difficulties in obtaining reliable estimates of the rebound effect and the different factors that need to be controlled for. We discuss the implications of these findings for econometric studies and argue that several existing studies may overestimate the magnitude of the effect.
Article
This paper gives rigorous definitions of the rebound effect, not only in the well described single commodity case (Khazzoom, 1980. The Energy Journal 1(4), 21–40.), but also for a multiple commodity case. It is shown that the familiar laws for the single case do not hold for the multiple case. The paper describes the state of the art of empirical estimation of the rebound effect, with special focus on the estimates done for the Netherlands. We conclude that according to every definition, empirical evidence shows that the RE is probably small: between 0 and 15%.
Article
The authors investigate the effects of information and communications technology (ICT) investment, electricity price, and oil price on the consumption of electricity in South Korea's industries using a logistic growth model. The concept electricity intensity is used to explain electricity consumption patterns. An empirical analysis implies that ICT investment in manufacturing industries that normally consume relatively large amounts of electricity promotes input factor substitution away from the labor intensive to the electricity intensive. Moreover, results also suggest that ICT investment in some specific manufacturing sectors is conducive to the reduction of electricity consumption, whereas ICT investment in the service sector and most manufacturing sectors increases electricity consumption. It is concluded that electricity prices critically affect electricity consumption in half of South Korea's industrial sectors, but not in the other half, a finding that differs somewhat from previous research results. Reasons are suggested to explain why the South Korean case is so different. Policymakers may find this study useful, as it answers the question of whether ICT investment can ultimately reduce energy consumption and may aid in planning the capacity of South Korea's national electric power.
Article
The energy price shocks of the 1970s are usually assumed to have increased the search for new energy saving technologies where eventual gains in energy efficiencies will reduce the real per unit price of energy services and hence, the consumption of energy will rise and partially offset the initial reduction in the usage of energy sources. This is the ‘rebound effect’, which is estimated for the US manufacturing sector using time series data applying the dynamic OLS method (DOLS). When allowing for asymmetric price effects the rebound effect is found to be approximately 24% for the US manufacturing sector.
Article
In The Coal Question William Stanley Jevons [Jevons, W.S., 1865/1965. The Coal Question: an Inquiry Concerning the Progress of the Nation, and the Probable Exhaustion of our Coal-mines. 3rd edition 1905, Ed. A.W. Flux. Augustus M. Kelley, New York.] maintained that technological efficiency gains—specifically the more “economical” use of coal in engines doing mechanical work—actually increased the overall consumption of coal, iron, and other resources, rather than “saving” them, as many claimed. Twentieth-century economic growth theory also sees technological change as the main cause of increased production and consumption. In contrast, some ecologically-oriented economists and practically all governments, green political parties and NGOs believe that efficiency gains lower consumption and negative environmental impact. Others doubt this ‘efficiency strategy’ towards sustainability, holding that efficiency gains ‘rebound’ or even ‘backfire’ in pursuing this goal, causing higher production and consumption. Because many environmental problems demand rapid and clear policy recommendations, this issue deserves high priority in ecological economics. If Jevons is right, efficiency policies are counter-productive, and business-as-usual efficiency gains must be compensated for with physical caps like quotas or rationing.
Article
This paper challenges the view that improving the efficiency of energy use will lead to a reduction in national energy consumption, and hence is an effective policy for reducing national CO2 emissions. It argues that improving energy efficiency lowers the implicit price of energy and hence make its use more affordable, thus leading to greater use—an effect termed the ‘rebound’ or ‘takeback’ effect. The paper presents the views of economists, as well as green critics of ‘the gospel of efficiency’. The paper argues that a more effective CO2 policy is to concentrate on shifting to non-fossil fuels, like renewables, subsidized through a carbon tax. Ultimately what is needed, to limit energy consumption, is energy sufficiency (or conservation) rather than energy efficiency.
Article
Designing privacy into systems at the beginning of the development process necessitates the effective translation of privacy principles, models, and mechanisms into system requirements.
Article
In this paper, we develop an econometric model to estimate the impacts of Electronic Vehicle Management Systems (EVMS) on the load factor (LF) of heavy trucks using data at the operational level. This technology is supposed to improve capacity utilization by reducing coordination costs between demand and supply. The model is estimated on a subsample of the 1999 National Roadside Survey, covering heavy trucks travelling in the province of Quebec. The LF is explained as a function of truck, trip and carrier characteristics. We show that the use of EVMS results in a 16 percentage points increase of LF on backhaul trips. However, we also find that the LF of equipped trucks is reduced by about 7.6 percentage points on fronthaul movements. This last effect could be explained by a rebound effect: higher expected LF on the returns lead carriers to accept shipments with lower fronthaul LF. Overall, we find that this technology has increased the tonne-kilometers transported of equipped trucks by 6.3% and their fuel efficiency by 5%.