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Jevon’s Paradox

Word on the street is that back in 1865 a chap called William Stanley Jevons noted that while there had been a number of improvements in coal efficiency in steam engines and the like, instead of reducing consumption the effect was to increase consumption instead.

While it’s not a surefire outcome, there are plenty of parallels like more efficient batteries leading to more overall battery use, washing machines leading to doing more washes rather than less time spent washing, or the ability to recycle some plastics leading to more overall plastic consumption.

Also see, the fifth fuel: energy efficiency, and save some landfill.

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