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WTMvideopanel (Credit: Griffith Institute for Tourism Insights)

 

When reflecting on the last decade of work on climate change and tourism, I can make three observations:

1. The climate is changing faster than predicted

Every year we are witnessing new records in climate extremes. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maintains several websites to report and visualise climate extremes and anomalies. The Figure on the right, for example, shows a long term trends. Not only are temperatures increasing faster than expected, but  so do the rise in sea levels, the intensity of storms, and the retreat of Arctic sea ice.

What does this means for tourism? Very clearly operating in – often vulnerable – locations becomes more costly and riskier. Thus, tourism industry and Government are now forced to get much more involved (and invest!) in adapting to changing conditions. In many cases, adaptation has to respond to negative impacts on assets and attractions. The Great Barrier Reef and recent coral bleaching events is a prominent example.

 

Read the full blog entry to find out more about the other two observations made as well as suggested action points here. 

The blog accompanies a video presentation recorded for the World Travel Market Responsible Tourism Day, 6 November 2017. The panel to which the video contributed was entitled: The Major Environmental Challenges: Carbon & Water RTT, and chaired by Mr Christopher Warren, Crystal Creek Meadows, NSW, Australia.

By Susanne Becken for Griffith Institute for Tourism Insights.

 

 

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Measure for measure: It’s time to offset your global travels

Categories: Green Tips
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In the tourism industry we are constantly inundated with feelings of guilt about our travels. A recent headline in the New York reminded us as much. It read ’Flying Is Bad For The Planet. You Can Help Make It Better’.

Because prevention, rather than treatment, is always a better path to follow the airline suggests measures to take such as flying in economy class rather than in the much more comfortable seats in front of the curtain. For some travellers, however, a reservation in either business or first class is a prerequisite to boarding any commercial aircraft.

The article also suggests, more sensibly, that we should offset our carbon emissions. Some airlines offer ways for travellers to offset flights when purchasing tickets. (IATA also provides guidelines for offsetting for its airline members.)

PATA partner EarthCheck has provided a carbon calculator that helps to calculate the amount of carbon your activities have emitted into the atmosphere.

Companies are encouraged to offset staff travel and other business activities. Hotels, in particular, must do more to create opportunities for guests to offset their stays. Offsetting is not only good for the environment but it also builds a brand’s image and reputation.

There are many organisations that offer carbon offsetting as a service such as Conservation International, CarbonFund.org and Sustainable Travel International. There are also organisations such as myclimate or Nexus that take funds for offsetting and put them into projects that help to reduce carbon emissions in other ways – such as investing in clean cooking stoves in marginalised communities.

Costs may either be absorbed by the company through fundraising, passed on to guests/clients by opting in, or by building this cost element into the overall price. Choose your path to sustainability – and remember to share this commitment by communicating your sustainability efforts to your guests

Carbon offsetting isn’t just about planting trees and it’s certainly not a solution to climate change and global warming. It’s not a perfect system by any means but it is a socially responsible action that reduces the negative environmental impact caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

 

* Share your carbon offset commitments with PATA members and the wider global travel community. Send details to: communications@pata.org and ssr@pata.org

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Estimating the Benefits of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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EPA and other federal agencies use estimates of the social cost of carbon (SC-CO2) to value the climate impacts of rulemakings. The SC-CO2 is a measure, in dollars, of the long-term damage done by a ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in a given year.  This dollar figure also represents the value of damages avoided for a small emission reduction (i.e., the benefit of a CO2 reduction). By U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Read more.

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The E.P.A. found that emissions from airplanes endanger human health because of their contribution to global warming. Credit LM Otero/Associated Pres

The E.P.A. found that emissions from airplanes endanger human health because of their contribution to global warming. Credit LM Otero/Associated Press

10 June 2015 – The Obama administration on Wednesday said it would regulate greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes, a move that could significantly strengthen President Obama’s environmental legacy, but also present major new challenges for the airline industry.  Read more.

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Air

20 April 2015 – BRUSSELS, HONG KONG, CASABLANCA, WASHINGTON DC and LIMA: With the groundswell of political visibility and a number of key events about Climate Change building up to the COP21 climate negotiations later this year, the independent programme Airport Carbon Accreditation today provided an update on its progress since going global in 2014. Vicky Karantzavelou. Read more.

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This report presents estimates for the ‘Carbon Footprint’ of the Queensland tourism industry. The measures presented here are comprehensive and incorporate all of the GHG emissions produced by Queensland tourism, both within the state and beyond it as a result of visitation to Queensland.

by Serajul Hoque, Peter Forsyth, Larry Dwyer, Ray Spurr, Thiep Van Ho and Daniel Pambudi

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This research represents the first comprehensive measure of carbon emissions for the tourism sector, both within Australia, and including associated international aviation. It is provided to inform and stimulate discussion, and to assist this, the report provides additional estimates and data to support national policy for the sector.

by Peter Forsyth, Serajul Hoque, Larry Dwyer, Ray Spurr, Thiep Van Ho & Daniel Pambudi

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The National Climate Change Adaptation Framework identified tourism as one key sector vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in Australia. This paper evaluates how nine government tourism agencies are responding to the issue of climate change in Australia.     It critically evaluates how government tourism agencies are addressing climate change issues, by promoting carbon reduction initiatives and carbon offsetting schemes for tourism operators.

by Heather Zeppel & Narelle Beaumont, University of Southern Queensland Australian Centre for Sustainable Business & Development

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This Update paper examines the science behind climate change.

by Professor Ross Garnaut

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GARNAUT-CLIMATE-CHANGE-UPDATE-5-The-science-of-climate-change-1

 

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Economic Impacts of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Policies on the Australian Tourism Industry: A Dynamic CGE Analysis

Categories: Climate, Oceania, Public Sector, Report
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This report assesses potential economic impacts on the Australian tourism industry of the Australian government imposing a price on carbon emissions through the introduction of measures such as an emissions trading scheme or a tax on carbon.

by Serajul Hoque, Larry Dwyer, Peter Forsyth, Ray Spurr, Thiep Van Ho & Daniel Pambudi

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