New Study Finds that Men’s Spending Emits More Than Women’s

Graphic by Annabel Driussi for ODP

by Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer

A new study found that men’s consumer spending causes 16% more emissions than that of women when spending similar sums of money on goods. The study juxtaposed the spending habits of single men and women in Sweden, and found that men were more likely to spend on fuel for their cars, though for all genders transportation and food comprised the largest amounts of their emissions.

Why This Matters:

The study’s authors maintain that gender is a key component of understanding the climate crisis: “The climate crisis is one of the key challenges of our time and affects men and women quite differently,” Leonore Gewessler, Austria’s climate minister, told the Guardian. “For instance, the majority of people impacted by energy poverty are women. It is, therefore, crucial to take gender differences into the equation, if we want to develop solutions and a transformation that works for everyone.”

Moreover, the European Environmental Bureau recently published a report that suggests that there is a signifficant intersection between gender inequality and the environment, which policymakers rarely take into account. The report maintains that though men cause on average 8 to 40% more emissions than women, women tend to suffer more from the effects of climate change. 

Emissions Spending Differs By Gender: Though there are relatively few studies about the effects of gender on emissions, studies in 2010 and 2012 proved that men spent more on energy and ate more meat than women, both of which cause high emissions. Moreover, other research found that in families with one car, men used it more often to go to work with women more likely to use public transport.

Annika Carlsson Kanyama, at the research company Ecoloop in Sweden, who led the study, told the Guardian: “I’m surprised more studies have not been done about the gender differences in environmental impact. There are quite clear differences and they are not likely to go away in the near future.”

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