Demography and climate change

Demography is intimately related to both climate change adaptation and mitigation.

The report focuses on demography and climate mitigation through analyses of trajectories for emissions and population at global and EU levels. At the global level, the report highlights the role of population momentum.

While population growth implies almost by definition higher emissions, at least in the short term, the intrinsic inertia in demographic processes implies that solutions to reduce emissions need to come from reducing inequalities, the greening of the economy and a change in consumption rather than from interventions on fertility.

At the EU level, the report finds that although in absolute terms older people emit less, they have higher per capita emissions, a greater share of their emissions is concentrated in carbon-intensive consumption items and they are less likely to change their attitudes or behaviour towards more environmentally friendly patterns.

Considering the trends for the ageing of the EU population, these intergenerational differences in consumption and attitudes add a new policy challenge to the already pressing need to reduce the differences in responsibilities for emissions linked to income.

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