June 09, 2012
Want To Test Your Knowledge Of Jevons Paradox?
Try applying it to this op-ed by
William Ruckelshaus and K. C. Golden.
Here's enough to get you started.
Here in the Northwest states, three decades of investment in energy efficiency are
delivering impressive results: We're harvesting enough energy savings to power more than
four cities the size of Seattle. Those efficiency upgrades are saving us more
than $2 billion a year on our energy bills. We're squeezing more work out of our
existing hydropower, and adding new renewables like wind, solar and geothermal
power. Renewable energy isn't "alternative" in the Northwest — it's
the backbone of our power system, and the reason why we enjoy some of the cleanest
and most affordable electricity in the nation.
The region's growing clean-energy economy isn't just about energy efficiency and
renewable-energy companies. It's Boeing gaining a competitive edge by marketing
the world's most efficient commercial aircraft while developing sustainable fuels for
By now, I assume that everyone knows about Jevons Paradox, but in case you need a review,
you can find one here.
Incidentally, I'm not sure that economists would find it particularly
Cross posted at
Jim Miller on Politics.
(Yes, the co-author is that William Ruckelshaus, the man who ignored the
recommendations of his scientific advisors and banned DDT.)
Posted by Jim Miller at June 09, 2012
01:38 PM | Email This
Energy efficiency makes market based growth and profits easier, driving demand, so the casual effect on environmental issues is greater harm, which per the Jevons Paradox, requires MORE government intrusion to have the intended effect.
I don't think this proves the case you want it to. Either your implying energy diversity is bad, because it promotes industry efficiency, or your implying its bad because its not the fix that government regulation provides.
I can't really tell, because you linked to content that didn't support your premise, without a strong op-ed on it.
The biggest government subsidy people use, ( or welfare if you like ) is driving. from the general fund paying for roads, auto industry bailouts and rebates ( cash for clunkers ) to our military being motivated to keep international oil prices low ( rather than depending on domestic sources or technology ) nearly every level is subsidized. Letting the true market price of driving come forward would fix many issues overnight.
The Jevons Paradox has nothing to do with the passage you quoted. The passage praises money savings due to increased efficiency, and money savings and cleaner air due to renewable energy sources. The passage doesn't suggest that consumption declined due to increased efficiency, which is what the Jevons Paradox deals with.
The Jevons Paradox is real, but it doesn't apply here. Saying it does is as ridiculous as saying that Laffer Curve, which is applicable to some very rare situations, has had any relevance to the US income tax code in the past 40 years. Surely no one here would fall for such silliness.
I respect his passion, commitment, hard work, long career, dedication, etc. He is a good citizen.
But he was wrong about DDT and he is wrong about "climate change".
He also doesn't understand that the continued availability of cheap energy is a necessity to enable billions of humans to hope to enjoy the standard of living that he has.
Smugly talking down to your readers doesn't make for effective communication.
"By now, I assume that everyone knows about Jevons Paradox, but in case you need a review..."
What, am I supposed to feel dumb and uninformed? Apparently, by now, everyone knows about this. Oh, surely. "What, you haven't heard? About Jevons Paradox? Oh, how odd. I thought everyone knew by now. I would explain it to you but I can't be bothered. Why don't you ask Siri on your iPhone 4S. She'll direct you to the wikipedia entry."
Sounds like this year's version of "Occam's Razor." An obscure philosophical idea that becomes an incredibly popular, faddish discussion topic at urban intellectual cocktail parties and hipster bars like Linda's. Not because it's particularly exciting, but more to give the people discussing it an opportunity to pat each other on the back for their exceptional intellectual awareness.
5. AD@4, well put -- and ironic since clearly even Jim doesn't really understand Jevons Paradox. Jim's effective communications skills we last demonstrated a few weeks ago when he asked the Seattle Times editorial page to personally reply to his complaint that they'd criticized John Boehner for being uncooperative. Comments to his post are still closed whole he waits for their reply.
6. I'm glad to hear that hydroelectric is now considered renewable, clean energy. Wonder how that will affect Miss Patty's idea to tear down the dams to save the salmon.
7. Fieryfood, what's your point? Of course hydropower is renewable and clean. Just because some good adjectives describe it doesn't make it perfect, or even better than the alternatives.