OLDER people in York and North Yorkshire are worried about climate change and are the group keenest to take action, according to a new study.

The survey, by scientists at the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York, also showed that over-50s have the highest "carbon footprint" of any group in the population.

The report - called Greening The Greys - was commissioned as part of Climate Talk, a year-long project to discover the older generation's attitudes towards global warming.

It showed that the "baby boomer" generation of 50 to 64-year-olds produced the highest amount of carbon each year, at 13.52 tonnes per person.

That is between ten and 20 per cent higher than any other group.

But it also revealed that over-50s fear climate change and worry over the world their grandchildren will inherit.

Dr Gary Haq, lead author of the report, said they are motivated to take action but frustrated by the failure of the Government and business to provide stronger leadership to combat global warming.

He said: "The Government is essentially pushing at an open door with regard to achieving a change in behaviour in the over-50s, and a move to a low carbon lifestyle.

"In order to close the gap between concern for climate change and the impact of current lifestyles, Government needs to take action to make a low carbon lifestyle an easier option not just for the over-50s, but for everyone."

The report combined a detailed carbon footprint analysis of the UK by age and household expenditure, together with an survey of more than 700 people aged 50 plus together with five focus groups involving 50 people.

The detailed findings showed that 80 per cent of the over-50s feel they should personally take action to combat climate change.

But nearly three-quarters of those surveyed said they felt frustrated with the barriers that prevent them from having a low carbon lifestyle.

The report called for:

  • Investment in increasing the energy efficiency of the country's housing, especially for those aged over 70
  • Reversal of the current trend for motoring costs to go down in real terms while public transport costs go up
  • Investment in high-quality, cheaper public transport systems.

The Climate Talk project has won a £60,000 grant from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs' climate change challenge fund to raise awareness of global warming.

The report can be downloaded from www.climatetalk.org.uk or www.sei.se

JEREMY SMALL asked shoppers in York their views on climate change.

Joyce Mills, 60, of Malton, said: "The Government should try to bring down rail ticket prices and have more carriages on trains - I think people would use the service more."

Lynn Peschke, 49, of York, said: "The Government keeps saying people should turn off their televisions and computers, but then you've got these enormous factories - it's a joke."

Jeremy Hyland, 39, who lives in York, said: "The Govern-ment should make it cheaper for people to use public transport - rail fares should definitely come down."

Helen Lawrenson, 46, of York, said: "I think it's getting worse. Summers are definitely warmer now - temperatures of 80/90 degrees were unheard of years ago."