Federal Union: Remote Work Is Climate-Friendly

Federal workers are pushing back on a return to the office, citing the environmental benefits of eliminating daily commuting.

1 minute read

February 24, 2023, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


An image of Washington D.C. with highways and the streaks from car head and tail lights in the foreground, and the Washington Monument in the background.

Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

After the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill calling for federal employees to return to their physical offices this month, the largest union of federal employees is pushing back, saying that remote work is healthier for the planet. According to a piece 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.”

For others, like D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, mandating a return to the office is one way to revitalize Washington, D.C.’s downtown, which thousands of businesses have fled since the start of the pandemic. But with over 80 percent of U.S. commuters driving to work in private vehicles, reducing trips to work could significantly impact carbon emissions in the transportation sector. According to Gregory Keoleian, director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems, one-quarter of federal employees switching to remote work could reduce emissions by 750,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023 in The Washington Post

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