Ageing Populations: A Barrier to Strong Climate Action?

A new study conducted by our UB School of Economics researchers, Daniel Albalate, Germà Bel, and Jordi J. Teixidó, has been published in Population and Environment. The article, titled “The Influence of Population Aging on Global Climate Policy,” explores the intricate relationship between demographic shifts and climate policy ambition on a global scale.

The study investigates how the transition to an aging population impacts the ambition and outcomes of international climate agreements. By analyzing data from recent climate accords such as the Paris Agreement and the Glasgow Climate Pact, the researchers explore whether the proportion of elderly individuals within a population influences a country’s commitment to combating climate change.

Utilizing various indicators of climate policy ambition and employing robust econometric methods, the study uncovers a compelling negative association between the share of elderly individuals in a population and both the ambition of climate agreements and the implementation of regulatory measures to address climate change. This suggests that as populations age, challenges may arise in maintaining and enhancing climate policy ambition due to shifts in political influence.

However, the study goes beyond mere statistical correlations. It examinates the deeper implications of these findings for understanding contemporary societal challenges. The authors emphasize the urgent need for greater efforts to comprehend the factors hindering stronger government actions to tackle pressing climate challenges.

The conclusions drawn from the study highlight the significance of addressing the impact of population aging on climate change policy. While previous literature has primarily focused on the vulnerability of the elderly to climate change effects, this study reveals a different aspect: how the demographic weight of older age groups may act as a barrier to more ambitious climate action.

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