Federal employees are resisting going back to work, noting how cutting off daily commute is better for the environment.
The largest federal employee union is fighting back against a measure that the U.S. House of Representatives approved this month mandating that employees return to their physical offices, arguing that remote work is better for the environment. According to an excerpt by Maxine Joselow in The Washington Post, “the American Federation of Government Employees points to research showing that telework curbs climate pollution caused by commuting in gas-powered cars.”
Others, like Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, believe that forcing people to return to work is one way to revive the city’s downtown, which has seen hundreds of companies leave since the epidemic began. Yet since more than 80% of Americans commute by driving their own cars, cutting back on commutes might have a big influence on the transportation sector’s carbon emissions.
Gregory Keoleian, director of the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan, estimates that if 25% of federal workers switched to remote work, emissions would be cut by 750,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
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