Practices like internet shopping and working from home designed to cut carbon emissions could actually be increasing them, new research has shown.
A study by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) found that unless online shopping customers order more than 25 items from one retailer, they may actually be causing more harm to the environment than traditional shopping.
The research also said that people who work from home to cut carbon emissions increase domestic energy use by as much as 30%, stretching urban sprawl and causing pollution.
Findings were published in the report Rebound, which aimed at studying the unintended consequences of transport policy and technological innovations. These are commonly thought to be green and are implemented in a bid to reduce emissions.
The research said that on closer analysis, the measures can merely shift the emission's production elsewhere or lessen the positive impact.
Professor Phil Blythe, chair of the IET Transport Policy Panel and professor of intelligent transport systems at Newcastle University, said: "We hear a lot about the environmental benefits achieved as a result of working from home.
"However, on closer inspection it does appear that any environmental benefits are marginal."
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