Words to ponder
A brief one for today.
The Jevons paradox, sometimes known as the Jevons effect, is the idea that increasing the efficiency of using a resource (say, energy) tends to increase the use of that resource.
This could be true in some cases:
‘Wes Jackson, a plant geneticist and president of the Land Institute: “When the Wal-Marts of the world say they’re going to put in different lightbulbs and get their trucks to get by on half the fuel, what are they going to do with that savings? They’re going to open up another box store somewhere. It’s just nuts.”‘
— Heather Rogers, ‘Green Gone Wrong: How Our Economy Is Undermining the Environmental Revolution’
Over at Climate Progress James Barrett does a pretty clear analysis of how people often talk about the Jevons paradox – myths and misconceptions.
But one thing someone pointed out in the comments:
“Most of the time someone refers to the Jevons paradox, as far as I can tell, the concern that they’re really trying to express is that GIVEN OTHER FACTORS AND GIVEN HUMAN TENDENCIES, and GIVEN HOW HUMANS OFTEN BEHAVE AS EFFICIENCIES IMPROVE, improvements in efficiencies (by themselves) cannot be counted on to achieve reductions in the absolute total consumption of a resource as time progresses.”