Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Shorter working weeks needed to tackle climate crisis

The U.K. think tank Autonomy has issued a report calling for much shorter working weeks, "The Ecological Limits of Work: on carbon emissions, carbon budgets and working time," which is featured in a Guardian article published today, "Much shorter working weeks needed to tackle climate crisis – study." 
People across Europe will need to work drastically fewer hours to avoid disastrous climate heating unless there is a radical decarbonising of the economy, according to a study. 
The research, from thinktank Autonomy, shows workers in the UK would need to move to nine-hour weeks to keep the country on track to avoid more than 2C of heating at current carbon intensity levels. Similar reductions were found to be necessary in Sweden and Germany. 
The findings are based on OECD and UN data on greenhouse gas emissions per industry in the three countries. It found that at current carbon levels, all three would require a drastic reduction in working hours as well as urgent measures to decarbonise the economy to prevent climate breakdown. 
Will Stronge, the director of Autonomy, said the research highlighted the need to include reductions in working hours as part of the efforts to address the climate emergency.
Sandwichman previously addressed this issue last October in a pair of EconoSpeak posts and reached very similar conclusions:

The IPCC 1.5° C Report and the Ten-Hour Week

Some Questions about the Ten-Hour Week


Sandwichman said...

"why is it that libertarians and/or conservatives do not also make a big deal of the 40 hour workweek?"

For the same reason they wouldn't oppose a 40-cent an hour minimum wage. The 40-hour workweek is a standard set 80 years ago. Conservatives did indeed oppose it adamantly in the 1930s.

Anonymous said...

While German or French workers may need to work 10 hour weeks, workers in promising developing countries are simply not about to work less and these countries will do all they can to catch Germany and France and rightfully so.

This argument is sadly a rich folks' argument.

Anonymous said...

Also, as Dean Baker has several times written, look to the greening of China, looking to the control of carbon dioxide emissions in China, which is in intent on moving to electric buses and cars and solar and wind and away from coal. Why not use China as a model of what a turn to greening can mean?

Anonymous said...

Prof Ray Wills‏ @ProfRayWills

But wait, there's more

China > 420,000 electric buses means > 50% China bus fleet electrified
(800k buses in China, my est.)

China Q1 2019
Electric Vehicles production 226k, +109%YoY
Sales 227k, +121%YoY
Bus sales 13.4k, +68%YoY
Commercial EVs 18k, +43%YoY

Prof Ray Wills @ProfRayWills

China > 400,000 electric buses, ~50% bus fleet electrified
Chile has more electric buses than any nation besides China -
Santiago fleet to go 100% electric
Colombia also going electric…

10:47 PM - 18 May 2019

Anonymous said...

Assaad Razzouk‏ @AssaadRazzouk

Out of 425,000 electric buses worldwide:

China: 421,000
Europe: 2,250
US: A minuscule 300

E-buses are cheaper and cleaner and each 1,000 displace a huge 500 barrels of diesel/day (1,000 electric cars remove 15 barrels)

City Mayors, do your thing: All buses should be e-buses

10:35 PM - 18 May 2019

Anonymous said...

May 16, 2019

“There is no alternative” to managing the economy and the climate
By Kevin Cashman

Anonymous said...

By the way, I think the paper by Kevin Cashman complements what Sanwichman has written but more comprehensively. Cashman's paper is excellent:

May 16, 2019

“There is no alternative” to managing the economy and the climate
By Kevin Cashman

Magpie said...

Suppose the world transitioned overnight to a fully electrified fleet of cars, bykes, scooters, buses, planes, choppers, trains, ships, boats. POOFF. Vehicles emit CO2 tonight, tomorrow morning they don't emit any: they are electric vehicles.

As I have nothing more recent, I'll use 2014 World Bank data. That has an advantage: it's only 4 years after the IPCC baseline year of 2010.

All that effort would have reduced the world's CO2 emissions by 20.5% in 2014. The IPCC target reductions for 2030 is 45% of the 2010 emissions. That means less than half the target...

Let me repeat: less than half the target.

With one caveat on top: those vehicles by hypothesis need electricity and its generation in 2014 contributed 49% of all CO2. Generation would have to go up.

Moreover, those brand new electric vehicles also will need to be produced. Manufacturing and construction contributed another 20% of the world's 2014 CO2 emission. Extra production.

That not counting the infrastructure required to service those vehicles.