Ageing populations might help to drive down greenhouse gas emissions?

Well it’s certainly an attention-grabbing headline.According to this article from The Conversation, older people’s transportation behaviour in Germany and the United States showed that older people in both countries were less likely than their younger compatriots to have a car or a driver’s licence, and tended to stay at home more often.

Consumption patterns and the nature of needs during old age is such that the provision of basic needs like good health, healthy social relations, security – all of which are less energy-intensive – become more important than discretionary consumption.

The pattern is also reflected in diets. Put simply, older people eat less. In the United States, where average food energy intake increased markedly between the early 1970s and the late 1990s for almost all age groups, those aged 60 and above were the only ones to buck the trend.

Interesting stats for those of us who are trying to convince the world that ageing is not a bad thing.

An exhaustive (pardon the pun) study by the authors found that an ageing population has significant negative influence on CO2 emissions. “Our analysis suggests that a 1% increase in the share of elderly people aged 65 years and above reduces per capita CO2 emissions by an estimated 1.55% in the long run”.