As suggested by the US auto industry case, creating new job opportunities may lie in the introduction of new technologies, looking beyond just efficiency improvements, and considering possibilities that lie in diversification and in the value chains that provide green technologies such as solar and wind power. The IEA estimates that for every US$ billion invested in clean- energy technology, 30,000 new jobs will be created. As indicated by Martinez-Fernandez et al. (2010) these figures must be dealt with cautiously, without ignoring job losses and social stress that will go with a period of transition.
Remanufacturing and recycling of scarce metals provide primary opportunities in the manufacturing sector per se. Significant opportunities may also lie in the area of industrial symbiosis (new products from old processes), highlighting also the importance of broader systemic (cross-sectoral) impacts as considered in the modelling (see next section) done for this report. Public policies, such as extended producer responsibility or returnable deposits, can help to promote closed cycle manufacturing and extend product life cycles, thereby saving resources and creating more jobs in maintenance, repair, remanufacturing and recycling. Collection and sorting of used or end-of-life products (reverse logistics) could be a significant employer. Shifting taxes away from labour on to waste emissions and/or materials extraction could also be an effective way of creating more jobs by cutting labour costs vis a vis direct energy costs, or capital costs.
4.4 Growth and rebound – lessons for developing markets
The eventual advent of peak oil means that the supply of cheap oil and gas cannot be expected to continue in the future. Future economic growth will depend more than in the past on technological progress and capital deepening because growth in the world labour force is projected to slow gradually. The rate of energy efficiency increase has been slowing down since the 1960s. An acceleration of technological progress vis-a-vis resource efficiency seems possible, but it is unlikely to happen without an unprecedented global effort.
Future economic growth is expected to be driven by emerging countries, led by China and India. However, they are expected to shift away from their current emphasis on export-oriented growth to more domestic demand-driven growth, as growth of the labour force and rural-urban migration slows, leading to wage increases, and as social safety nets are put in place or strengthened. Increased consumption relative to savings will reduce global imbalances, but their GDP growth rates will also
slow. The greatest resource-efficiency effort is required in weaker developing country economies where most of the population increase will take place, and where the economic and social impacts of resource scarcity and commodity price volatility will probably be most severe (Shin 2004).
Economic growth is evidently the primary means of reducing global poverty, although it has a less direct impact on inequality. Increased demand from urbanising populations for products and services and productivity growth will be the basic drivers of economic growth. Increased resource efficiency can be expected to explain part of the future growth in productivity. This is the reason why some point to a likely rebound effect− usually on the basis of historical examples and evidence of the Jevons paradox– and question the extent to which investment in efficiency will really cut resource use. There is little doubt that technological innovations–by increasing efficiency, cutting the cost of basic materials and energy, and by increasing labour productivity–have been the main drivers of economic growth in the past. Lower cost of inputs generates increased demand for existing goods or for new products and services that did not exist previously.
abatement have been set at levels sufficiently high to stabilise atmospheric CO2
and have been fully
internalised to users. In this case, greater take-up of more efficient technologies will help to abate the otherwise negative impacts on economic growth resulting from higher energy prices. Yet energy-efficiency proposals cannot rely on higher oil prices as such, with others alternatives like coal available. This reality underlines the need to have appropriate regulatory policies in place.
There is not just one rebound channel or mechanism, but several, which include: more intensive use of energy-consuming equipment by current users because of a higher energy efficiency and thus a lower effective energy cost; purchase of larger units or units with more energy-consuming functions/services and consequently more energy use (e.g. vehicles with air-conditioning); more energy- and resource-efficient technologies diffuse to new sectors and applications (including households), which partly undoes savings resulting from per-unit improved efficiency; re-spending of money savings owing to energy conservation on other energy-intensive goods and services (income effect); creation of new demand (i.e. new users) owing to a lower market price of energy if initial energy savings are large; and diffusion of more energy-efficient general purpose technologies like batteries or computers (Van den Bergh 2008, 2011). These examples all depend ultimately upon price or cost reductions owing to efficiency gains. However, the next few decades are almost certainly going to experience significant energy prices increases, once the costs of CO2