Aging population good for the climate

Our aging population could protect the climate

Elderly CO2 emissions decrease as they age

Proving that good can come from any situation, researchers have found that people tend to create less carbon dioxide emissions as they reach old age.

By looking at how residents spent their money, the researchers were able to figure out what each elderly person’s carbon emissions were. Once people reach retirement, they are producing more carbon dioxide than at any other time in their lives. After retirement, however, this level begins to drop. According to the study by demographer Emilio Zagheni of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, the level drops from 14.9 metric tons per person annually at age 65 to 13.1 metric tons at age 80.

Why is it so? Elderly people tend to drive less and take public transport more, burning less fossil fuels. They also spend more on health, which is a low-carbon industry. On the other hand, they also spend more time at home, consuming more electricity and gas through living.

If electricity and home living can be made more carbon-neutral, society could reap the benefits of an aging population with a better, cleaner climate.

(Source: Emilio Zagheni)
(Image source: Anna Strumillo,


About agsam

Sam Thorp is a Biotechnologist/Business Strategist with a background in Parkinson’s disease, game theory and entrepreneurship. He is a consultant at ACCESS Health International Southeast Asia.

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