Growing old in a changing climate

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JournalPublic Policy and Aging Report
DateAccepted/In press - 24 Oct 2016
DatePublished (current) - 26 Jan 2017
Issue number1
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)8-12
Original languageEnglish


An ageing society and a changing climate bring together two key policy challenges which need to be addressed to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and ensure a safe, secure, equitable and sustainable future. By end of the century global surface temperature is likely to increase by 1.5°C to 2°C (IPCC, 2013). As the planet warms, we can expect climate-related extremes, such as heat waves, droughts, floods, cyclones, and wildfires. Increasing climate variability will have direct and indirect effects on human health and wellbeing, especially of vulnerable groups.

While many older people are healthy and socially and economically active, others are not, rendering them physically, financially and/or emotionally less resilient in coping with a changing climate (Haq et al, 2008; Sánchez-Gonzalez and Chávez-Alvardo, 2016). An understanding of the factors which contribute to older people’s vulnerability and resilience can therefore strengthen the capacity of government to prevent and minimise the climate-related impacts on this demographic group.

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