'Change spending habits': Study reveals that men are worse for the planet

Edited By: Moohita Kaur Garg WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Jul 21, 2021, 05:54 PM(IST)

Man pumping gas (Representational Image) Photograph:( AFP )

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When taking action against climate change, gender differences in emissions should be considered, according to researchers

Despite spending similar amounts, men's purchases cause 16 per cent more climate-warming emissions than women's, a study has revealed.

The research published in Journal for Industrial Ecology finds that spending on petrol and diesel for cars was the greatest difference between men and women.

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According to researchers, gender differences in emissions have been remarkably understudied and should be acknowledged when action is taken against climate change.

The study compared the emissions produced by single men and women in Sweden, and found that food and holidays were responsible for more than half of all emissions. It was discovered that men and women, both, accounted for roughly one-third of their annual emissions during the holiday season.

According to the research findings, people's emissions can be reduced by 40 per cent if they chop meat and dairy from their diet and switch to train travel instead of flying or driving.

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Researchers at Ecoloop in Sweden, who conducted the study, believe it's vital to take men's and women's differences into account in policymaking.

Annika Carlsson Kanyama, of Ecoloop, says that spending habits, in general, are very stereotypical as women spend more on home decorations, health and fashion, and men spend more on fuel for cars, eating out, alcohol and tobacco.

Due to insufficient data for individuals living in families, the research made use of data for individuals living alone.

The study suggests a change in dietary habits and holidaying ways to reduce the number of annual emissions produced by individuals, as these changes do not require any extra spending such as buying an electric car.

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A previous study from 2017 found that individuals can make the greatest difference in fighting climate change if they have fewer children, don't drive, or avoid flying.

Studies from 2010 and 2012 found that men spent more on energy and consumed more meat than women, which in turn resulted in high emissions. 

Carlsson Kanyama, while expressing her surprise at the very limited amount of studies done on the gender differences in environmental impact, says that these differences are evident, and it doesn't seem likely they will disappear anytime soon.

Last week, the EU's green deal was criticised for omitting gender impact on climate. 

According to Austria's climate minister, Leonore Gewessler, the climate crisis is one of the biggest challenges of our time, which affects both genders differently.

Women are disproportionately affected by energy poverty, and the road towards developing solutions and creating a transformation that works for everyone must take gender differences into account.

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