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Working Papers

Work less to pollute less? What contribution can or must working time reduction play in reducing carbon emissions?

Andrew Watt (Head of the department Macroeconomic Policy Institute - Hans-Böckler Foundation)

Publication date : 2012

Number of pages : 28

Author(s) :

Andrew Watt (Head of the department Macroeconomic Policy Institute - Hans-Böckler Foundation)

This article asks whether we can, and whether we must, work less to pollute less. After examining different scenarios, the only strategy that appears commensurate with the normative views set out in the paper, i.e. meeting emissions targets while maintaining employment – seems to be a combination of radical efforts to accelerate the decoupling of emissions from economic growth and considerably more substantial reductions in average working hours than have been the norm in recent decades. The author argues that only if the required decoupling acceleration can be achieved, our children and grandchildren can enjoy decent living standards and high levels of employment, along with considerably greater free time, while dramatically reducing Europe’s carbon emissions.

Collection: 2012.08
ETUI, Brussels, ISSN 1994-4446, ISSN 1994-4454 (pdf)

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