I like to ask audiences questions when I present. I've been asking this one for the last few years:
There is of course no right answer, the idea is to stimulate thinking on the topic of the Rebound Effect and Jevons Paradox.
The agent-based model (ABM) below relates to this question:
Below are the agents and behaviours that this model is composed of:
In words what is happening is:
The 30% out-compete the other agents by avoiding the influence of the 20%. Even though the greedy 50% do well for much of the time, at some stage in the simulation their greed changed down to that of the 20% so they accrued less energy. This meant they had less reserves when things got tough (less energy available in the system). The stubborn and greedy 30% out-competed everyone simply by never flirting with the idea that they should consume less. The simulation at the end is dominated by 1 type of greedy agent and everyone else perished. Don't believe me - try it!
What happens? Well if you set the energy growth rate fairly low e.g. 0.0021 per time unit we get the following:
I have not proved anything about the world - that is not what ABM is about. I have made a set of assumption explicit and created an environment that allows other people to explore the inferences that can be made from these assumptions. By doing this within the BehaviourComposer I have hopefully made it easy for others to change the model to something that is more meaningful to them. For instance, they may decide that the 20% might team up with the converted 50% to punish the high consuming 30% somehow - see Nature: Altruistic Punishment paper.
I've prepared this for my talk at People and Energy conference next week. Feedback most welcome!