Missing carbon reductions? Exploring rebound and backfire effects in UK households
Households are expected to play a pivotal role in reducing the UK's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the UK Government is encouraging specific household actions to help meet its targets. However, due to the rebound effect, only a portion of the GHG emission reductions estimated by simple engineering calculations are generally achieved in practice. For example, replacing short car journeys by walking or cycling reduces consumption of motor fuels. But this frees up money that may be spent on, for example, purchasing extra clothes or flying on vacation. Alternatively, the money may be put into savings. Since all of these options lead to GHG emissions, total GHG savings may be less than anticipated. Indeed, in some instances, emissions may increase--a phenomenon known as 'backfire'. We estimate that the rebound effect for a combination of three abatement actions by UK households is approximately 34%. Targeting re-spending on goods and services with a low GHG intensity reduces this to a minimum of around 12%, while re-spending on goods and services with a high GHG intensity leads to backfire. Our study highlights the importance of shifting consumption to lower GHG intensive categories and investing in low carbon investments.
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.:
- Brannlund, Runar & Ghalwash, Tarek & Nordstrom, Jonas, 2007.
"Increased energy efficiency and the rebound effect: Effects on consumption and emissions,"
Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-17, January.
- Brännlund, Runar & Ghalwash, Tarek & Nordström, Jonas, 2004. "Increased Energy Efficiency and the Rebound Effect: Effects on consumption and emissions," Umeå Economic Studies 642, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
- Lester C. Hunt & Yasushi Ninomiya, 2003. "Unravelling Trends and Seasonality: A Structural Time Series Analysis of Transport Oil Demand in the UK and Japan," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 63-96.
- Brookes, Leonard, 2000. "Energy efficiency fallacies revisited," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6-7), pages 355-366, June.
- Druckman, Angela & Jackson, Tim, 2009. "The carbon footprint of UK households 1990-2004: A socio-economically disaggregated, quasi-multi-regional input-output model," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 2066-2077, May.
- Scrieciu, S. Serban, 2007. "The inherent dangers of using computable general equilibrium models as a single integrated modelling framework for sustainability impact assessment. A critical note on Bohringer and Loschel (2006)," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(4), pages 678-684, February.
- Mizobuchi, Kenichi, 2008. "An empirical study on the rebound effect considering capital costs," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 2486-2516, September.
- Guonan Ma & Wang Yi, 2010.
"China’s High Saving Rate: Myth and Reality,"
CEPII research center, issue 122, pages 5–39.
- 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.
- Druckman, A. & Bradley, P. & Papathanasopoulou, E. & Jackson, T., 2008. "Measuring progress towards carbon reduction in the UK," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(4), pages 594-604, July.
- Alcott, Blake, 2008. "The sufficiency strategy: Would rich-world frugality lower environmental impact," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 770-786, February.
- Sorrell, Steve & Dimitropoulos, John, 2008. "The rebound effect: Microeconomic definitions, limitations and extensions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 636-649, April.
- 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.
- Lenzen, Manfred & Dey, Christopher J., 2002. "Economic, energy and greenhouse emissions impacts of some consumer choice, technology and government outlay options," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 377-403, July.
- Weber, Christopher L. & Matthews, H. Scott, 2008. "Quantifying the global and distributional aspects of American household carbon footprint," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 379-391, June.
- Harty D. Saunders, 1992. "The Khazzoom-Brookes Postulate and Neoclassical Growth," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 131-148.
- Girod, Bastien & de Haan, Peter, 2009. "GHG reduction potential of changes in consumption patterns and higher quality levels: Evidence from Swiss household consumption survey," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5650-5661, December.
- Kerkhof, Annemarie C. & Moll, Henri C. & Drissen, Eric & Wilting, Harry C., 2008. "Taxation of multiple greenhouse gases and the effects on income distribution: A case study of the Netherlands," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 318-326, September.
- Alfredsson, E.C., 2004. "“Green” consumption—no solution for climate change," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 513-524.
- J. Daniel Khazzoom, 1980. "Economic Implications of Mandated Efficiency in Standards for Household Appliances," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 21-40.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:6:p:3572-3581. 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: (Shamier, Wendy)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.