General Article Global tourism leaves a giant carbon footprint

Topic Selected: Travel and Tourism Book Volume: 365

By Daniel T. Cross

We all love to travel. Many of us do at any rate. We love to explore, discover new places, make new friends and get acquainted with cultures different from our own. It’s all harmless fun, after all.

Or is it?

No, it’s not, according to an international team of researchers. The carbon footprint of global tourism is way larger than previously assumed, they say. The researchers conducted a global survey of 160 countries between 2009 and 2013 in order to calculate the amount of CO2 emissions produced by the tourism industry worldwide.

In so doing, they scanned more than a billion supply chains with the aim of tracking the goods and services tourists bought. What they found was that the tourism industry’s carbon footprint around the planet grew by 15% from 3.9 to 4.5 gigatons of equivalent carbon dioxide. That is four times more than previously thought and accounted for about 8% of global greenhouse gas em

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