What to Know
- Vacation may be fun for many, but it turns out, tourism is not great for Earth, according to published reports
- The carbon footprint of global tourism is four times larger than previously thought, according to Sciencemag.org
- The new analyses actually reveals that global tourism accounts one-twelfth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions
With summer just around the corner, families are starting to make travel plans. Vacation may be fun for many, but it turns out, tourism is not great for Earth, according to published reports.
The carbon footprint of global tourism is four times larger than previously thought, according to Sciencemag.org, adding that a new analyses actually reveals that global tourism accounts one-twelfth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Previous studies only looked into carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions related to air travel, but the new research also takes into account CO2 emission and other planet-warming gases related to the construction and maintenance of infrastructures like hotel and airports. It also includes “emissions associated with tourists’ purchases of food, beverages and souvenirs,” Sciencemag.org reports.
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The study, titled “The Carbon Footprint of Global Tourism,” which was published in Nature Climate Change, uses data collected by and within 160 countries. Armed with this information, the researchers estimate that global tourism between 2009 and 2013 accounted for greenhouse gas emissions equal to 4.5 billion metric tons of CO2, which is “about 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions,” the researchers say. Air travel accounted for about 12 percent of that total, researchers say.
Researchers contend that if the recent trend continues — and if the global economy further grows, as is expected —the carbon footprint of global tourism will be more than 40 percent, reaching 6.5 billion metric tons of CO2, by the year of 2025.
However, there are certain steps tourists and travelers can take to reduce their carbon footprint. The United Nations World Tourism Organization has previously suggested choosing to travel and vacation at a destination closer to home, using more public transportation and having governments offer tourism providers incentives to boost their energy efficiency.
To date, none these approaches has been successful, according to Sciencemag.org.