Decarbonized global tourism put at $1 billion a year

When those in the business talk of sustainable tourism, they mainly mean operations on the ground here. But tourism increasingly is being accused of causing damaging effects worldwide.

A new study by researchers in Europe said that mitigating these effects could be done for as little as $11 a trip.

They proposed a combination of strategic energy saving and renewable energy initiatives within the industry and the purchase carbon offsets from other parts of the global economy where emission reductions can be done at less cost, according to the University of Waterloo.

Daniel Scott, from the University of Waterloo, said that the tourism sector has promised to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2035, according to the university. He estimated the investment to do this at $1 billion a year.

Scott and colleagues just published a report on carbon emissions in tourism in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism, a peer-reviewed publication that has been around since 1993. It is a Taylor and Francis title.

It was this report that suggested the $11 cost.

Recent estimates conclude that tourism, including transport, accommodation, and leisure activities contributed close to 5 per cent of total human-made emissions of carbon dioxide worldwide, said the researchers.

The United Nations has an international meeting scheduled in Paris next week with the goal of reducing carbon emissions.

The researchers put a lot of reliance on the United Nations recommended targets of reducing carbon emissions and potential involvement of world governments.

“Our analysis shows that the tourism sector can be compatible with a decarbonized global economy, if governments and business leaders show collective leadership to make it happen,” Scott was quoted as saying.

An estimate of tourism's carbon footprint.

An estimate of tourism’s carbon footprint.

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