Will the Rebound Effect increase the use of fossil fuels?
Tonight on the Ronald Brak Discussion Hour we will be debating the rebound effect as it applies to fossil fuels. To start us off, perhaps you could tell us just what the rebound effect is, Ronald?
RONALD: Well, to put it simply, the rebound effect, or Jevon's Paradox, results from people using fossil fuels more efficiently and as a direct result they are able to afford to use more fossil fuels. For example, if someone who can only afford to heat one room in their house gets insulation installed, then instead of reducing the amount of fossil fuel they burn, they might continue to use the same amount and heat two or three rooms. However, this effect is something that only really occurs to a large extent in the developing world and isn’t something that people in richer nations need to be too concerned about, especially where improved efficiency results from a price on carbon. I’m sure Mr Brak will agree with me on this.
BRAK: I couldn’t disagree more. Indeed, the force of my disagreement is psychically radiating from my cerebral cortex with the force of a billon exploding suns. If any of you had even the slightest amount of residual telepathic ability your heads would not only have exploded but also imploded so rapidly they would have come out of the other side and exploded again. You are so very, very wrong.
RONALD: Would you care to elaborate?
BRAK: Certainly. The force of my disagreement roils the sea of troubles and dashes it to vapour, driving a rain of squalling pandemonium before its contentious fury to lash the recalcitrant fools who have the audacity to…
RONALD: No, I meant could you elaborate on why you disagree, rather than elaborating on your disagreement itself?
BRAK: Oh. Well, I disagree because common everyday experience refutes what you say with such force a roll of thunder is heard across the land. Speaking from my own common everyday experience, I know that when I replaced my personal car, a V8 interceptor, I replaced it with two hybrids which I drove by standing with one foot on each car roof while using the controls via a marionette operated by each hand through specially installed sunroofs. Then, when I discovered that I was still only using half the amount of fuel that my V8 did, I bought two more hybrids, hitched all four to a chariot and had them drag me through the streets as I lashed those hybrid beasts most cruelly with a whip. Actually the hard part was modifying them so they could feel pain.
Furthermore, after I had my house insulated, rather than use less heating oil I instead was finally able to heat my house to a pleasant 140 degrees celsius. It was quite comfortable, as long as the dehumidifiers were operating and it was filled with the pleasant smell of crispy bacon whenever visitors came around and touched anything metal.
And now, after building that one gig capacity wind farm, the 230 megawatt solar thermal plant and those six gigawatts of dry rock geothermal power, I now heat my house by burying it in 30,000 tons of coal every day and setting it on fire. And it’s simply absurd not to expect other people to do the same out of some namby-pamby sense of environmental responsibility.
RONALD: So you’d be in favour of some sort of regulation to prevent this then?
BRAK: Normally I’d say no, but having to use an asbestos covered mole machine powered and cooled by a torrent of externally supplied liquid nitrogen every time I want to go from the living room to the kitchen to get a snack is becoming rather tiresome.
RONALD: And I’m afraid that’s all we have time for tonight.
BRAK: I want a mole machine that’s cooled by the latent heat of vaporizing human souls. Now THAT would be cool…