Shorter work week to tackle climate change


An international progressive thinktank has floated a novel solution to the climate crisis and systemic underemployment: significantly shorter work weeks.

Dramatically shorter work weeks will lead to significant drops in carbon emissions per person, author of thinktank Autonomy’s latest report Philipp Frey argues.

The findings are based on OECD and UN data on greenhouse emissions per industry across three European countries: Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom.

“While there is a general agreement that GHG emissions and working hours have a strong, positive relationship, the exact magnitude of this relationship is still being discussed. Research by Nässén and Larsson suggest that a 1 percent decrease in working hours could lead to a 0.8 percent decrease in GHG emissions,” Mr Frey writes in the report.

The paper focuses primarily on emissions unit produced per industry, but also argues that a significantly curtailed workweek would result in a number of flow on benefits, including increased productivity and higher rates of employment.

“It is becoming equally clear, however, that driving the current mode of production forward is even more unrealistic if we are to avoid disaster,” Mr Frey concludes in the report.

The full report can be found here

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