Our Illusory Faith in Energy Efficiency to Decouple Energy-GDP

Event Status

*Note: This talk will be presented remotely via Zoom and on the Energy Institute's YouTube channel. See access details after the bio.

Bio: Dr Paul Brockway is a University Academic Fellow in Energy and Economics at the Sustainability Research Institute at the University of Leeds, UK. He has a 5 year research fellowship on the topic ‘Applying thermodynamic laws to the energy-GDP decoupling problem’, where he applies an Exergy Economics approach to study thermodynamic energy conversion within energy-economy modelling frameworks.

Abstract: To meet our Paris Agreement and climate change targets, energy models assume a key role for energy efficiency to reduce energy use, in combination with a huge deployment of renewables. But is this blind faith in energy efficiency merited? I examine historical global trends, and find there has been no global historical absolute energy-GDP decoupling, and yet this is a key assumption in the models. So, what is causing the disconnect between past and future assumed energy-GDP trends? I explore the evidence for large economy-wide rebound as a plausible explanation, and find compelling support for this hypothesis. It also confirms an underrecognized role for energy efficiency in enabling economic growth. So what can we do? I close by considering what we can do in response, covering modelling and policy actions. 

Note: This talk will be presented remotely via Zoom Webinar and on the Energy Institute's YouTube channel. If using Zoom, viewers must register for an account with Zoom and log in to Zoom using that registration in order to use the meeting link and participate. Faculty, students and staff of UT, please use your personal UT Zoom account. 

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Date and Time
Feb. 2, 2021, 12:30 to 1:45 p.m.
Online at https://utexas.zoom.us/s/96723392808 or https://www.youtube.com/user/utenergyinstitute/
Event tags
UT Energy Symposium