So how do we reduce emissions?

By USING LESS ENERGY. Anyone saying that some new and fancy tech is going to solve things for us is wrong. Adding more tech means using more energy.

We have to stop adding energy generation in order to stop Jevon's Paradox.

@tinyrabbit I'm not sure we need to worry about 19th-century paradoxes about energy TBH.

"Jevons wasn’t wrong about nineteenth-century British iron smelting... but the young and rapidly growing industrial world that Jevons lived in no longer exists."

@dajbelshaw @tinyrabbit

I see plenty of present days examples unfortunately, if not of literallly then of similarly, as anyone who had filled up their device storage space can attest.
@dajbelshaw (Also, that magazine article is presenting the exact same point @tinyrabbit is making: energy use reduction is an important part of the solution.)

@Sandra @tinyrabbit Yeah, but the point is that we have a limitless supply of energy (the sun) - the problem is emissions and the impacts of legacy forms of energy production


No, but, there is bandwidth issues. Renewable doesn't mean "all at once, and endlessly". Renewable power or still trickling and gradual and slow. This goes for all kinds of renewable resources like wood too. A tree can grow but it takes a while.

So we want to stop fossils, develop renewables, but also cut down on how much we use.

Just like that New Yorker article that you linked to states: switching to more energy efficient solutions is very worthwile.


Along with bandwidth issues, there's obviously also the problem of harnessing that energy. Most of the time we're considering solar panels since they fit into the current energy grid.

Unfortunately, solar panels and batteries require nonrenewable resources to be built and replaced. The panels and batteries themselves also eventually need disposal.

That's all to agree with @tinyrabbit's original point that energy reduction is desirable from an ecological perspective.



It is not limitless. Nothing ever is.

Oil was consodered to be limitless, until people noticed, very suddenly, just how wrong that assumption was.

We're currently trying to migraze our electricity generation away from things that produce CO2, and it's notna question whether we makenit in time, it's a question of how much too late we are. Increasing electricity use now causes us all to be even later.
@Sandra @tinyrabbit

@dajbelshaw @Sandra @tinyrabbit
(oh crap, those typos... typing on phone screens sucks)

...also, the old engineering adage: "There's no free beer". Whatever we do causes negaive externalities. Whatever we do to excess has excessive negative externalities. If we treat anything as "limitless", it will sooner or later blow up in our faces. Solar panels and wind turbines are orders of magnitude better than coal/oil/gas power plants, but they're not without issues. *nothing* ever is.

21st centruury example: The increase in fuel efficiency in airplaines has led to increased flying which led to an overal *increase* in CO2 emissions from air traffic.

You can think if it this way: a Dollar spent on airplane fuel now gets you further than it used to, so more people spend theor Dollars on flying than on other things.

Total emissions are seat miles times efficiency. Anyone who focusses on one of those two and neglects the other is wrong. Basic maths.


@dajbelshaw I finally made time to read this article, and became quite perplexed at why you chose to quote it. The very gist of it is the Jevons Paradox is very much still in effect and that efficiencies will not save us at all. I.e. exactly the opposite of the argument you tried to make when quoting it 😐


"We have to stop adding energy generation in order to stop Jevon's Paradox."

Yes! But! This sentence is syntactically ambiguous, let me rephrase it into something I can agree with:

"Because of Jevon's paradox, we can't rely on energy generation to solve our problems".

I.e. we can have energy generation but there's sooooo much other things we need to stop doing and other things we need to start doing. Restore peatland ♥
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