Liberal Think Tank: Working Less Could Slow Global Warming
A liberal Washington, D.C. think tank released a study that claims global warming can be slowed if people worked less.
The liberal Center for Economic Policy and Research suggests a worldwide switch to a "more European work schedule, which includes working fewer hours and more vacation time." The Center's study claims a more European schedule "could prevent as much as half of the expected global temperature rise by 2100." The study claims the less people work, the less carbon gets emitted.
"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 author of the study, wrote.
According to US News & World Report, Rosnick "says that as developing countries' economies grow, they have two choices—they can have a 'European' work schedule, or an 'American' schedule of little vacation and 40-hour work weeks."
"There's a lot of controversy—should the developing world follow an American or European model?," he says. "If the world were to follow a more European model of work, we would expect fewer hours, less output, and lower emissions of greenhouse gases."
Rosnick says with a 10-hour reduction in hours worked beginning in 2013, a "1.3 degree Celsius temperature increase" can be prevented.
"We can get a similar amount of work done as productivity and technology improves," he says. "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."
Yet, the author admits there are flaws in his study. For instance, "the study didn't take into consideration the rise of telecommuting" and "there is no way to know what a person would do with their increased vacation or leisure time." If Americans have more leisure time, they can use that time to fly, which could increase carbon emissions.
More importantly, what these types of studies do is further give liberals opportunities to talk about the "Europeanization" of America, which will erode the American work ethic--which was represented in the "Farmer" Super Bowl commercial--that has always made the country exceptional.