In order to ensure sustainable development, it is essential to reduce consumption of energy and raw materials in absolute terms. Over the last few years, a range of environmental policy instruments have significantly boosted the efficiency of energy and raw material usage in Germany. The goal of cutting resource consumption in absolute terms and reducing environmental pollution has, however, yet to be attained. This is due to various factors, including rebound effects: cost reductions made possible by resource-efficient production processes often lead to an increase in demand, meaning that the savings are in part offset by increased consumption. It is even more difficult to determine the extent of indirect, macroeconomic or mental rebound effects and the overall rebound effect of environmental policy instruments.
adelphi was commissioned to research the causes and the extent of rebound effects. The analysis was subsequently used as a basis to develop environmental policy recommendations which aim to prevent rebound effects in the area of energy and resources policy.