Impact of tourism higher than predicted

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According to a new report published in Nature Climate Change journal, the impact of global tourism could be around four times worse than previously thought.

‘The carbon footprint of global tourism’, authored by Manfred Lenzen, Ya-Yen Sun, Futu Faturay, Yuan-Peng Ting, Arne Geschke and Arunima Malik, found that the tourism industry accounts for around eight per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and is a ‘significant and growing contributor’ to greenhouse gas emission.

The research studied tourism emissions right across the supply chain, finding that between 2009 and 2013, tourism's global carbon footprint increased from 3.9 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent to 4.5Gt. Aviation, shopping and food are found to be the major contributors. The majority of the gasses are produced by high-income countries, with the US topping the producers list, and the researchers say that the growing demand for tourism is outstripping the decarbonisation of tourism-related technology. To conclude, the study believes that tourisms influence on the rising amount of greenhouse gas emissions will only continue to grow.

University of Sydney's Professor Manfred Lenzen, lead author of the research, emphasised the impact of air travel before adding: “We found the per-capita carbon footprint increases strongly with increased affluence and does not appear to satiate as incomes grow.”