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People Account for a Third of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

New research shows that people over the age of 60 account for close to a third of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. In 2005, 2010, and 2015, a survey covering 27 European Union countries, the U.S., and four other nations, showed that baby boomers leave the most significant carbon footprint.

Older people used to be thrifty. The generation that experienced World War II was careful about using resources. Edgar Hertwich, a professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Industrial Ecology ProgramThe ‘new elderly,’ are different,” said a news release. Hertwich added that the post-war baby boomer generation is the new elderly. They have different consumption patterns than the ‘quiet generation’ born in 1928-1945. Today’s seniors spend more money on houses, energy consumption, and food.

The study also suggests that the over-60 age group were behind a growing share of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in all countries surveyed. Heran Zheng believes lawmakers can take away an important message from this research: the new seniors are making it tough to slash emissions.   According to researchers, emissions of the elderly have a more local impact, compared to consumption habits among younger generations that lead to more significant emissions in other countries.

Researchers also noted that the global aging wave will exacerbate the issue, as people born between 1950 and 1960 add to the growing elderly population, expected to double between 2019 and 2050.  Researchers said all age groups surveyed had reduced their carbon footprints overall, with people under 30 leading the way.

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