Study: Global Warming Prevented by Shorter Work Week

A recent study conducted by the Center for Economic Policy and Research claims that if Americans adopted a more "European" work schedule, global warming could be slowed down. 

If Americans took longer vacations and worked less hours per week, the study says carbon emissions would be reduced. This could lead to a delay in the global temperature increase expected to occur by 2100. 

There is a link between a shorter work week and lower levels of carbon emissions, which is what prompted the center to conduct the study.

It analyzed gains from an increase in consumption versus the possible loss from working fewer hours. 

An expanding developing country could choose the European work model to keep carbon emissions at bay, the study concludes. 

This change could "eliminate one-quarter to one-half" of global warming which is not already in our atmosphere, and would have even more of an effect if workplaces consuming large amounts of energy adopted it. 

"The relationship between [shorter work and lower emissions] is complex and clearly understood, but it is understandable that lowering levels of consumption, holding everything else constant, would reduce greenhouse gas emissions," David Rosnick, the study's author, said. 

While he admitted that some climate change is unavoidable, we can still alter the amount. 

"In addition to reducing emissions by other means, a significant reduction in climate change is possible by choosing a more European response to productivity gains rather than following a model more like that of the United States," he said. 

Rosnick proposes Americans work .5 percent less each year, starting with a 10-hour cutback in 2013. He said this will prevent an increase of up to 1.3 degrees. 

"We can get a similar amount of work done as productivity and technology improves," he said. "It's something we have to decide as a country - there are economic models in which individuals get to decide their hours and are still similarly productive as they are now."



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