Today, the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) published a new report entitled “Demography and climate change – EU in the global context”.
The report shows that population growth remains one of the key drivers of emissions. At the same time, there is a mismatch in population growth rates and levels of greenhouse gas emissions across countries. The main emitters are regions where the population has already stopped or slowed down growing. Meanwhile, most of the global population growth is happening in the world regions that currently have the lowest emissions and that are the least responsible for past emissions. This means that main emitters will need to ensure deep and swift emissions cuts, while countries with low emissions but high population growth need (support) to find ways of growth that avoid steep emission rises.
The report further highlights the need for policies that take account of the challenges and solutions for different population and age groups, such as older and low-income individuals. The report proposes ways to mitigate the impact on vulnerable demographic groups and help create measures to adapt to these changes in line with the EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change.
Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, who spoke at the launch event at the JRC in Ispra (Italy), said: “To design effective climate and environment policies, it is important to understand how demographic change affects emissions, and how climate change and environmental degradation impacts different population groups. The JRC’s report provides valuable insights of this reciprocal relationship between human populations and climate change and will contribute to ensuring that our policies are well devised to address climate mitigation and adaptation.”
The report is part of the Commission’s efforts to integrate demographic insights into EU policymaking. It provides scientific evidence on the implications of global population growth for emissions, and explores the possible consequences of population ageing in Europe for the EU’s climate targets.