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Climate change in an ageing world

Publication date:
C. Byrne
Type of publication:

The impact of climate change on an ageing global population is creating a nexus of vulnerability which is set to increase over the coming decades. The effects of climate change are already being experienced globally through more extreme weather events and the resulting impacts on people’s lives, health and wellbeing. Growing proportions of older people are increasingly exposed to risks, especially in low- and middle-income countries, which are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. There is growing political consensus that coordinated global action is required to mitigate climate change and to develop strategies to adapt to current and future impacts.
This paper outlines the impacts of climate change which are currently being experienced as evidenced by the IPCC and identifies the current and future implications for older people, including an assessment of how livelihoods, healthcare, nutrition and energy are particularly affected by our changing climate. It reiterates the global call for an immediate binding agreement during COP21 and makes 10 recommendations to ensure that the national commitments, which will form the basis of its implementation, address the specific needs of older people.
Key messages:

a binding framework to limit carbon emissions and the resulting temperature increase to below 2°C is urgently needed to mitigate the most dangerous impacts of climate change. Even with such an agreement, climate change will continue to pose significant and specific risks for older people
national climate change strategies must be inclusive of the capabilities, rights and vulnerabilities of older people to reflect the convergence of population ageing and climate change
the full participation of people of all ages in these strategies is essential to their success