Spatial Dynamics in the Urban Century
Edited by Karima Kourtit, Peter Nijkamp and Roger R. Stough
Chapter 12: Dynamic analysis of the energy rebound effects in megacities: evidence from Beijing and Shanghai, China (1990–2011)
As early as in the 1860s, Jevons (1865) proposed that the idea to reduce total energy consumption by improving energy efficiency is not consistent with the actual situation. He found that every improvement of the engine would only accelerate the consumption of coal, and it occurs repeatedly in later history. To save energy, people continuously improve technology and develop many related preferential energy-saving policies to enhance energy efficiency, which in turn increases total energy consumption. Taking China as an example, since the economic reform in the late 1970s, and the rapid economic development, energy consumption of 987.03 million tons of standard coal equivalent (SCE) in 1990 rose to 3620.00 million tons of SCE in 2012, increasing nearly 2.7 times in the last two decades. In the same period, energy intensity in China declined from 5.273 tons of SCE in 1990 to 1.867 tons of SCE in 2012, which is only 35.4% of that in 1990 (Figure 12.1). That is to say, with the decrease of energy intensity and the increase of energy efficiency, the total energy consumption did not decrease but grew at a faster rate, which is the so-called energy rebound effect, now a hot issue in the field of energy economics.
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