Nine-hour working weeks may be necessary to avert climate disaster

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The UK may need to drastically reduce its working hours to avoid a climate disaster, a study has concluded. The study, conducted by thinktank Autonomy, found that workers in the UK, Sweden and Germany may all need to reduce their work to less than ten hours a week per person to limit global heating just to around 2C, given current productivity levels. The study, based on UN and OECD data on carbon productivity per industry sector in the three countries, also found that reducing working hours would not be enough to tackle the climate crisis by itself, as it concluded that a drastic economic shift will also be needed. ‘Working time reduction as an isolated policy by itself will likely be insufficient to combat climate change,’ the study says. ‘Rather, it needs to be supplemented by other policies facilitating radical economic transformation, for instance to shift jobs from sectors such as manufacturing and fossil fuel extraction towards employment in service professions and green jobs (e.g. reforestation operations).’ The paper assumes an ‘absolute’ decrease in working time by those currently working, with jobs not being offered to the unemployed or extra hours being offered to the underemployed. However, it does […]

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