According to a new Swedish study recently published in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, men spend their money on greenhouse gas-emitting goods and services, such as meat and fuel, at a much higher rate than women.
The study looked at the carbon emissions created by consumption among categories like food, clothing, furniture, and vacations to see if households could reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by buying different products and services. The research team reviewed Swedish government data through 2012 and analyzed the spending habits of households, single men, and single women.
According to the study, single Swedish men spent about 2% more money overall than single Swedish women. But the stuff that the men bought created 16% more greenhouse gases than the stuff that the women bought. That’s because men were more likely to spend money on high-emitting categories, like fuel for cars, while women spent more on less-emitting categories like furniture, health care, and clothing.
For both men and women, vacations were a major source of emissions, accounting for approximately one-third of their total carbon footprint.
While the carbon impact of men’s and women’s diets were nearly equal, men spent more money on meat while women spent more on dairy. Both meat and dairy production are major sources of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The study found single people were responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than married people or people in households.
According to the research team, people could decrease their carbon emissions nearly 40% by making more environmentally-friendly choices, including switching to plant-based foods and traveling by train as opposed to flying or driving when possible.
Photo, posted June 17, 2012, courtesy of Stephen Ausmus/USDA via Flickr.