Tourism responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions

The trillion-dollar global tourism industry is responsible for almost one-tenth of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, according to an Australian study, which urges travellers to “fly less and pay more”.

The world-first study led by researchers at the University of Sydney found that the US is responsible for the majority of tourism-generated emissions overall.

Air travel was the key contributor to the industry’s carbon footprint, which is four times greater than previous estimates, growing faster than that of international trade, and is responsible for 8% of total emissions.

This is expected to get worse as growing affluence and technological developments make luxury travel more affordable, with top holiday destinations like the Maldives particularly vulnerable to the resulting climate risks.

The researchers recommend financial and technical assistance to help share the burdens of global warming on winter sports, sea-level rise on low-lying islands, and pollution impacts on exotic and vulnerable destinations.

“We found the per-capita carbon footprint increases strongly with increased affluence and does not appear to satiate as incomes grow,” lead researcher, professor Manfred Lenzen, said.


Image credit: Shutterstock


Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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