Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Shorter Work Hours Mean Less Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A new study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research finds that:
  • If Americans worked as few hours as western Europeans, it would lower our energy consumption by 20%. This alone would mean that the United States would have produced 3% less greenhouse gas emissions in 2002 than in 1990, almost bringing us to the Kyoto goal for cutting emissions.
  • If Europeans worked as many hours as Americans, it would raise their energy consumption by 25%, making it virtually impossible for them to reach their Kyoto goal.
  • If the developing nations imitate the American model (all else being equal), world emissions of CO2 in 2050 would be 14Gt, raising world temperatures by 4.5 degrees. But if the developing nations imitate the European model, world emissions of CO2 in 2050 would be 10Gt, raising world temperatures by 2.5 degrees - a very substantial difference.
It should always have been clear that we can reduce our environmental impact by shortening work hours - producing and consuming less. It is good to have a study that quantifies it.

This study is available at


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