Green Globe – The International Standard for Sustainability

The International Standard for Sustainability | Tourism can play key role in tracking climate change

A UN report warns that emissions from the global tourism industry will double in the next 25 years unless new sustainable practices are developed. The report, which was co-authored by United National Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) cites that most of the energy for tourism comes from fossil fuels, with the industry contributing as much as five per cent to global green house gases. Aviation currently accounts for 40 per cent of tourism’s carbon emissions, car transport for 32 per cent and accommodation for 21 per cent.

Countries need to not only mitigate the impact of climate change but also need to take action to adapt to its effects—an aspect which has been largely overlooked until now.

Policies taken by countries such as Austria, Germany, Ireland and South Africa show that it is possible to identify the future impact of climate change effects, but these policies are still in the initial stages in virtually all the countries and need to be developed further.

The report in particular highlights the impact that water scarcity will have in the industry as many tourism assets such as lakes, rivers, snow and fresh water will be affected by climate change, resulting in a disruption of the socio-economic environment.

“Countries should strengthen their incentives for the tourism sector to help reduce their green house gas emissions and adopt

environmentally-friendly practices as it has the potential to play a pivotal role in combating climate change.” UNEP

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