The carbon footprint of global tourism increased four times more than previously believed, according to a study published today in Australia, which attributed 8 percent of the world's polluting gas emissions.
Tourism contributes significantly to the world's gross domestic product, and is projected to grow by 4% annually, thus outpacing many other economic sectors.
However, global carbon emissions related to tourism are currently not well quantified. The University of Sydney research published in the journal Nature is the first dedicated to studying the global carbon fluxes related to tourism in 189 countries, including the United States, China, Germany and India, which are the ones that contribute the most to these. emissions.
Small island states also attract a disproportionate share of carbon emissions, due to their small population and the influx of foreign tourists.
The study found that, between 2009 and 2013, the global carbon footprint of tourism increased from 3.9 to 4.5 Gigatons of CO2-equivalent, four times more than previously estimated, which represents approximately 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Transportation, especially air, shopping, and food are significant contributions. According to the evaluation, the contribution of air travel to polluting emissions is 12 percent of the total impact of tourism, which is equivalent to 0.55 GT CO2-e.
Most of this footprint is exerted by and in high-income countries. The rapid increase in tourism demand is effectively outpacing the decarbonization of tourism-related technology.
Due to its high carbon intensity and continued growth, tourism is projected to account for a growing share of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
"Our analysis is the world's first look at the true cost of tourism, including consumer items such as restaurant meals and souvenirs"said study author Arunima Malik.
Study co-author Ya-Yen Sun, from the University of Queensland and Taiwan's Cheng Kung, called for including tourism in climate change plans, and applying taxes or emissions trading plans for aviation.
With information from: