U.S. employees work an average of 16 percent more hours per year than most of their European counterparts do—often with no increased productivity—a new study notes. A longer workday requires more energy for heat, light, and power, and the atmospheric emissions from that extra energy use contribute substantially to U.S. releases of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide.
U.S. workers typically labor some 1,817 hours per year, compared with 1,560 hours per year among Europeans, who have shorter workdays and more vacation.
"If the United States had adopted European standards for work hours, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in 2000 would have been 7 percent lower than its actual 1990 emissions," conclude report authors David Rosnick and Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.