There have been a great deal of things that have happened over the last decade or two, which would suggest that the older generation don’t care what happens to the climate because they won’t be here to tolerate the effects.
Older generations also have a significant reputation for intransigence: adoption of new technology often spreads to the older people last. The problem with global warming is that the speed required to adjust is way too high to allow more senior members of society to wait.
This is why I found the results of a recent survey so encouraging. The survey wasn’t huge, only looking at 500 people, however it found more than two-thirds of respondents want ministers in our government to move faster even if it pushes up prices for services.
The survey found that these people were highly likely to be making adjustments to mitigate future climate change. These ranged from traveling less, to changing their diet and using less energy at home.
This is in some ways particularly encouraging, as the majority of home greening efforts take a significant length of time to pay off
If you are already advanced in age the benefit felt is unlikely to be by you.
Now of course for most elderly parents or grandparents, they are greatly interested in passing down their housing stock to their descendants – so any greening of the house can last longer. Nevertheless, for older people reducing the future carbon emissions of their house is less about their own financial interests – indeed the government should bear this in mind.
The other issue is that the majority of these people live in particularly large and expensive houses. These are often the houses that young people aspire to live in if they ever make it. Due to their size and age, many of these properties will cost several tens of thousands of pounds to upgrade and as such the current inhabitants must be thinking about their descendants if they’re willing to upgrade their house for the future fight on climate change.