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The foundations of the environmental rebound effect and its contribution towards a general framework

Font Vivanco, D; McDowall, W; Freire-González, J; Kemp, R; Van der Voet, E; (2016) The foundations of the environmental rebound effect and its contribution towards a general framework. Ecological Economics , 125 pp. 60-69. 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.02.006. Green open access

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Abstract

The study of the so-called rebound effect has traditionally pertained to the domain of neoclassical energy economics. In recent years, other disciplines have applied this concept in the context of the environmental assessment of products and policies, and multiple perspectives have unfolded more or less in parallel. Among these, the environmental rebound effect (ERE) perspective, focused on efficiency changes and indicators that go beyond energy to multiple environmental issues, has remained relatively unnoticed. This article thus asks the following questions: What are the foundational aspects of the ERE and how these relate to other perspectives? Are there irreconcilable differences between perspectives? And what is the value of the ERE towards a general framework? We map the fundamental ideas behind the ERE and find that the lack of articulation has resulted in inconsistent usage and lack of clarity. We also argue that the ERE offers many valuable insights for rebound assessment, such as the study of broader efficiency changes and of innovations aimed at tackling multiple environmental issues. Perhaps most importantly, the ERE helps bringing together the existing rebound perspectives, as its application shows that it is both possible and valuable to articulate broader definitions for the rebound effect.

Type: Article
Title: The foundations of the environmental rebound effect and its contribution towards a general framework
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.02.006
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.02.006
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2016. This manuscript version is published under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Non-derivative 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). This licence allows you to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work for personal and non-commercial use providing author and publisher attribution is clearly stated. Further details about CC BY licences are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0.
Keywords: Rebound effect; Consumption; Energy economics; Industrial ecology; Life cycle assessment; Technological efficiency
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1490716
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