Aging, generational shifts, and energy consumption in urban China

Han, X., Wei, C., & Cao, G.-Y. (2022). Aging, generational shifts, and energy consumption in urban China. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 119 (37) e2210853119. 10.1073/pnas.2210853119.

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China is recognized as the largest energy consumer and is also the country with the largest and fastest-aging population. Ongoing demographic changes may reshape China’s household-based energy consumption patterns because of the large gap in consumption behavior between the elderly and the young as well as varying attitudes toward the environment among generations. However, when the impact of China’s aging population on energy consumption is projected, the heterogeneous cognitive norms of generations in the process of demographic transition are not well understood. In this study, we assessed the future impact of China’s demographic transition on energy consumption using a proposed theoretical framework to distinguish between age and generational effects. Specifically, we used age–period–cohort (APC) detrended analysis to estimate age and generational effects based on China’s urban household survey data from 1992 to 2015. The results indicated large differences in energy use propensity across ages and generations. The elderly and younger generations tended to be energy-intensive consumers, resulting in higher energy consumption in this aging society. Our results consequently show that future changes in China’s elderly population will result in a substantial increase in energy consumption. By 2050, the changing consumption share of the elderly population will account for ∼17 to 26% of total energy consumption in the residential sector, which is close to 115 million tons of standard coal (Mtce). These findings highlight the need to interlace environmental education policies and demographic transitions to promote energy conservation behavior in children and youth for low-carbon, sustainable development.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions (TISS)
Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2022 09:49
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2022 09:49

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