Men’s Consumer Habits Cause More Climate Emissions Than Women’s, Study Finds

Close-Up of Man Purchasing Gas at Station

A new study found that men’s consumerism, particularly related to cars and meat-eating, creates 16% more carbon emissions than women’s.

The study, published on July 19 in the Journal for Industrial Ecology, found that despite the sum of money spent on goods between men and women being similar, men contribute more emissions, according to The Guardian. Men’s spending on fuel was the biggest difference.

There have been few studies related to gender and carbon emissions and the researchers of the study said it should be considered when taking climate action, according to The Guardian.

“We think it’s important to take the difference between men and women into account in policymaking,” Annika Carlsson Kanyama, leader of the study from the research company Ecoloop in Sweden said to The Guardian.

The study focused on single men and single women in Sweden and found that men spend 70% more on carbon-emitting products than women who spend more on low-emitting items and services like healthcare, furnishings and clothing, according to Republic World.

“The way they spend is very stereotypical – women spend more money on home decoration, health and clothes and men spend more money on fuel for cars, eating out, alcohol and tobacco,” Kanyama said to The Guardian.

The UN has said that the ongoing climate crisis is not a gender-neutral issue. Women tend to be more vulnerable to the effects of climate change and one 2016 report found 80% of people displaced by the climate crisis are women, according to The Independent.

The study focused on individuals because there are insufficient data for individuals living in families, according to WION.

Additionally, the study found that food and travel were responsible for more than half of all emissions, and for both genders, around one-third of annual emissions occur during the holiday season, according to WION.

The researchers deduced that replacing meat and dairy with plant-based foods, and switching travel from planes or cars to trains cut people’s emissions by 40%, according to The Guardian.

Audrey Nakagawa is the content creator intern at EcoWatch. She is a senior at James Madison University studying Media, Art, and Design, with a concentration in journalism. She’s a reporter for The Breeze in the culture section and writes features on Harrisonburg artists, album reviews, and topics related to mental health and the environment. She was also a contributor for Virginia Reports where she reported on the impact that COVID-19 had on college students.

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