24 Jun 2008

Climate change: 'Rebound Effects' and education

Rebound EffectI only recently came across the UK Energy Research Centre's newish report on how 'Rebound Effects' can result in energy savings falling short of expectations, thereby threatening the success of UK climate policy.

In the press release re the report they give examples of a rebound effect like the driver who replaces a car with a fuel-efficient model, only to take advantage of its cheaper running costs to drive further and more often. Or a family that insulates their loft and puts the money saved on their heating bill towards an overseas holiday. Indeed only last week someone I was talking to said we saved so much by growing our own food last year that we're taking the car across to France this summer.....

Of course the effect might be less significant if the threatened 40% rise in energy costs occurs towards the end of the year..... It is also why we need to spend money on energy efficiency, renewable energy generation AND education / lifestyle-change programmes.

Indeed reading Sunday's Observer was enough to make many campaigners weep - a Ipsos MORI poll showed that the majority of the British public is still not convinced that climate change is caused by humans - and many others believe scientists are exaggerating the problem. Many of us had hoped that doubts would have been silenced by a report last year by more than 2,500 scientists for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which found a 90 per cent chance that humans were the main cause of climate change and warned that drastic action was needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions. See the article here. However with tabloids still failing us so badly it is perhaps no wonder so many still doubt climate change (see previous blog here on tabloids).

Anyhow all that is just more evidence that we need to do more on education re climate change....

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