Time Matters: The Carbon Footprint of Everyday Activities in Austria – Ecological Economics – article

Time Matters: The Carbon Footprint of Everyday Activities in Austria

Barbara Smetschka, Dominik Wiedenhofer, Claudine Egger, Edeltraud Haselsteiner, Daniel Moran, Veronika Gaube | Ecological Economics

2019-10-22

Mitigating climate change to achieve the goal of staying below 2 °C of warming requires urgent reductions of emissions. Demand-side measures mostly focus on the footprints of consumption. Analysing time use can add to understand the carbon implications of everyday life and the potentials and limitations for decarbonising consumption better. We investigate the carbon footprints of everyday activities in Austria. We linked data from the Austrian Time-use Survey and the Austrian Household Budget Survey with the Eora-MRIO for 2009–2010 in order to estimate the household carbon footprints of all time-use activities. We introduce a functional time-use perspective differentiating personal, committed, contracted and free time to investigate the average carbon intensity of activities per hour, for an average day and for the average woman and man. We find that personal time is relatively low-carbon, while household as well as leisure activities show large variation in terms of CO2e footprint/h. The traditional gendered division of labour shapes the time-use patterns of women and men, with implications for their carbon footprints. Further research analysing differences in household size, income, location and availability of infrastructure in their relation to time use is crucial to be able to assess possible pathways towards low carbon everyday life.

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