The Aging & Climate Change Clearinghouse (ACCC) aims to be a central and trusted resource on the intersection of climate change and the rapidly increasing older population. To carry out this mission, the Clearinghouse gathers, disseminates, and stimulates research, real-world interventions, and policies to address the intersection of aging and climate change. In addition, we encourage older adults and organizations to work together to find solutions. ACCC, located at Cornell University, is a global initiative with a local focus.

A man looking at the camera and standing in a farm field

Why an initiative on aging and climate change? Environmental challenges are increasing at the local, national, and global levels as our society faces such issues as compromised water quality, air pollution, toxic waste, the challenges of sustainable growth, energy shortages, and severe weather events. These problems directly affect the health and well-being of individuals and the quality of life within communities. Researchers from a variety of fields are intensively investigating these problems. Concerns grow as the urgency of the threats increases.

However, the public has paid scant attention thus far to the relationship between environmental issues and a second trend of critical importance in contemporary society: the enormous growth in the older population. The number of people aged 65 and over worldwide is expected to double over the next two decades, and by 2030, over 20% of the U. S. population will be over 64 years old. The implications of this growth for the environment and for energy use have been virtually unexplored. We believe that this situation provides enormous opportunities for research and the development of new programs on this issue, which will be of mounting concern over the next decade.