Well, what do you know? Here's a liberal idea I can actually get behind:
Want to reduce the effects of global warming? Stop working so hard. Working fewer hours might help slow global warming, according to a new study released Monday by the Center for Economic Policy and Research.
A worldwide switch to a "more European" work schedule, which includes working fewer hours and more vacation time, could prevent as much as half of the expected global temperature rise by 2100, according to the analysis, which used a 2012 study that found shorter work hours could be associated with lower carbon emissions.
The Center for Economic Policy and Research is a liberal think tank based in Washington.
"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," writes economist David Rosnick, author of the study. Rosnick says some of that reduction can be attributed to fewer operating hours in factories and other workplaces that consume high levels of energy.
Of course, I'd still want the same money for working fewer hours, so we're talking pure fantasy here. And, alas, the study is pretty much a fantasy, too. In a rare case of refreshing honesty, the author admits that there might be a hitch or two in his reasoning:
He admits there are flaws to his analysis—the study didn't take into consideration the rise of telecommuting, which has and will continue to cut down on transportation emissions, and there is no way to know what a person would do with their increased vacation or leisure time. Working fewer office hours is unlikely to have much of an impact on carbon emissions if a person were to then take a vacation, for example.
I know I am capable of using far more energy on vaction than I do pursuing work-related goals.