It is argued that without an international climate treaty, or with a soft treaty in the form of voluntary pledges, well-intended local and national climate strategies will seriously rebound in terms of energy use and CO2 emissions. I unravel the complexity of rebound in an international context, for which purpose the distinction between national and international rebound is introduced. The main climate–energy strategies and policies are assessed based on their capacity to control rebound, with carbon pricing – especially cap-and-trade – appearing to be the best approach. It is argued that motivations for further negotiations on amendments to the recent Paris climate agreement, namely on national policy coordination, can be strengthened by rebound concerns. As part of this, a new suggestion is to complement carbon equalization tariffs on carbon-intensive goods imported from countries with weak or non-existent climate policies with ‘revenue-recycling offsets’. These offsets would ease the political way to implementing carbon equalization tariffs, in turn creating pressure on countries to sign an effective climate treaty – a requirement to achieve consistent and serious carbon pricing worldwide. To support these arguments, the empirical patterns of rebound estimates are broadly outlined.
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