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The Carbon Crunch$
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Dieter Helm

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780300186598

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300186598.001.0001

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Can demand be cut?

Can demand be cut?

(p.100) Chapter 5 Can demand be cut?
The Carbon Crunch

Dieter Helm

Yale University Press

This chapter explains that energy demand can be decoupled from economic growth, so there can be more consumption with less energy. Energy efficiency can be increased and energy demand cut, while making a profit at the same time. This demand reduction will reduce emissions and, by cutting energy bills, enable customers to absorb the higher costs of renewables. Government incentives are complex; budgets are compartmentalized; and there is no direct link between cost savings, career prospects, and departmental interests. Thus, it is an area where there is much work to be done. A carbon price would help dampen energy demand as well as increase energy efficiency. The energy efficiency argument is hence based on grand claims about the scale of the prize, with little evidence that the gains are anything like as big as suggested; and nobody can object to making energy consumption as efficient as possible.

Keywords:   energy demand, economic growth, energy efficiency, government incentives, carbon price, energy consumption

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