Over 50s have the highest carbon footprint, yet are most concerned over climate change and are calling for stronger leadership from the Government to combat global warming, according to new research published today by the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York.
The findings come in a report, Greening the Greys, the first analysis of the carbon footprint of the over 50s and their attitudes to climate change.
The report reveals that baby boomers, aged 50-64, have the highest carbon footprint of 13.52 tonnes per capita/year 10-20 per cent higher than any other age group.
But the over 50s fear climate change and worry over the climate their grandchildren will inherit. They are motivated to take action but frustrated by the failure of the Government and business to provide stronger leadership to combat global warming.
The report combined a detailed carbon footprint analysis of the UK by age and household expenditure, together with an attitudinal survey of over 700 people aged 50+ together with five focus groups involving 50 people.
The carbon footprint was based upon an analysis of the products and services that over 50s use in their daily lives. The footprint analysis breaks down the UK's 698 million tonnes of carbon dioxide associated with consumption into over 40 kinds of household expenditure categories. Using age specific expenditure data, it calculates the carbon footprint by age and spending on items such as holidays abroad, home heating and food.
The report shows that the baby boomers have a carbon footprint of 13.52 tonnes/capita per year compared with the average UK citizens of 11.81 tonnes. Carbon intensive activities, such as high car dependence, holidays abroad and eating out, are key factors contributing to the size of their footprint.
People aged 65 to 74 have a carbon footprint of 12.10 tonnes of carbon dioxide per capita/year. They also enjoy holidays abroad
Contact: David Garner
University of York