Considering only first-order effects? How simplifications lead to unrealistic technology optimism in climate change mitigation
This article challenges the notion that energy efficiency and ‘clean’ energy technologies can deliver sufficient degrees of climate change mitigation. By six arguments not widely recognized in the climate policy arena, we argue that unrealistic technology optimism exists in current climate change mitigation assessments, and, consequently, world energy and climate policy. The overarching theme of the arguments is that incomplete knowledge of indirect effects, and neglect of interactions between parts of physical and social sub-systems, systematically leads to overly optimistic assessments. Society must likely seek deeper changes in social and economic structures to preserve the climatic conditions to which the human civilization is adapted. We call for priority to be given to research evaluating aspects of mitigation in a broad, system-wide perspective.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Moe, Espen, 2010. "Energy, industry and politics: Energy, vested interests, and long-term economic growth and development," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 1730-1740.
- Madlener, R. & Alcott, B., 2009. "Energy rebound and economic growth: A review of the main issues and research needs," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 370-376.
- Unruh, Gregory C. & Carrillo-Hermosilla, Javier, 2006. "Globalizing carbon lock-in," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 1185-1197, July.
- Schipper, Lee & Grubb, Michael, 2000. "On the rebound? Feedback between energy intensities and energy uses in IEA countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6-7), pages 367-388, June.
- Unruh, Gregory C., 2002. "Escaping carbon lock-in," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 317-325, March.
- Pedro Linares & Xavier Labandeira, 2010.
"Energy Efficiency: Economics And Policy,"
Journal of Economic Surveys,
Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(3), pages 573-592, 07.
- Xavier Labandeira Villot & Pedro Linares, 2009. "Energy Efficiency: Economics and Policy," Economic Reports 06-09, FEDEA.
- Xavier Labandeira & Pedro Linares, 2010. "Energy efficiency: Economics and Policy," Working Papers 05-2010, Economics for Energy.
- Praetorius, Barbara & Schumacher, Katja, 2009. "Greenhouse gas mitigation in a carbon constrained world: The role of carbon capture and storage," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5081-5093, December.
- Barbara Praetorius & Katja Schumacher, 2008. "Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in a Carbon Constrained World: The Role of Carbon Capture and Storage," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 820, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
- Sorrell, Steve, 2009. "Jevons' Paradox revisited: The evidence for backfire from improved energy efficiency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1456-1469, April.
- Thomas Wiedmann & Richard Wood & Jan Minx & Manfred Lenzen & Dabo Guan & Rocky Harris, 2010. "A Carbon Footprint Time Series Of The Uk - Results From A Multi-Region Input-Output Model," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 19-42.
- Weber, Christopher L. & Peters, Glen P. & Guan, Dabo & Hubacek, Klaus, 2008. "The contribution of Chinese exports to climate change," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 3572-3577, September.
- Grubler, Arnulf & Nakicenovic, Nebojsa & Victor, David G., 1999. "Dynamics of energy technologies and global change," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 247-280, May.
- Arrow, Kenneth & Bolin, Bert & Costanza, Robert & Dasgupta, Partha & Folke, Carl & Holling, C.S. & Jansson, Bengt-Owe & Levin, Simon & Mäler, Karl-Göran & Perrings, Charles & Pimentel, David, 1996. "Economic growth, carrying capacity, and the environment," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 104-110, February.
- Arrow, Kenneth & Bolin, Bert & Costanza, Robert & Dasgupta, Partha & Folke, Carl & Holling, C. S. & Jansson, Bengt-Owe & Levin, Simon & Maler, Karl-Goran & Perrings, Charles & Pimentel, David, 1995. "Economic growth, carrying capacity, and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 91-95, November.
- Pehnt, Martin & Oeser, Michael & Swider, Derk J., 2008. "Consequential environmental system analysis of expected offshore wind electricity production in Germany," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 747-759.
- Costanza, Robert, 1995. "Economic growth, carrying capacity, and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 89-90, November.
- Sorrell, Steve & Dimitropoulos, John & Sommerville, Matt, 2009. "Empirical estimates of the direct rebound effect: A review," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1356-1371, April.
- A. Greening, Lorna & Greene, David L. & Difiglio, Carmen, 2000. "Energy efficiency and consumption -- the rebound effect -- a survey," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6-7), pages 389-401, June.
- Jaffe, Adam B. & Stavins, Robert N., 1994. "The energy-efficiency gap What does it mean?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(10), pages 804-810, October.
- Unruh, Gregory C., 2000. "Understanding carbon lock-in," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 817-830, October.
- Warr, B.S. & Ayres, R.U., 2010. "Evidence of causality between the quantity and quality of energy consumption and economic growth," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 1688-1693. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:11:p:7448-7454. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.