The Strategist

The University of Sydney: Tourism increases greenhouse gas emissions

05/10/2018 - 12:22

Scientists at the University of Sydney found that the tourism industry is responsible for a significant amount of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. According to their calculations, 8% of all greenhouse gases in the world are emitted as a result of intensification of air, water and land tourism, as well as a large number of catering, entertainment and leisure facilities in places where tourists are concentrated. Previously it was believed that this industry emits three times less greenhouse gases.

Gareth Williams via flickr
Gareth Williams via flickr
The Sydney University study was published in the Nature magazine. Scientists say that the rapid growth of tourist activity since 2009 has led to the fact that now participants of this market emit a total of 8% of all greenhouse gases on earth. Previously it was believed that this level amounts from 2.5% to 3% of greenhouse gases.

Analyzing the dynamics of emissions in 189 countries, scientists concluded that harmful emissions from the tourism industry grow by an average of 3% annually. The researchers explain this fact by more active passenger traffic by air, sea and land. In addition, they note, new bus routes appeared as a result of the development of tourism, and hotels, restaurants, cafes, leisure and entertainment centers were built, which also "contributed to the pollution of the atmosphere". More than half of the emissions that have grown since 2009 were recorded in the developed countries. At the same time, developing countries, such as China, recorded a higher dynamics - an average of 17.4% per year from 2009 to 2013.

The most harmful emissions from tourism are recorded in the US, China and Germany.

The top ten also includes India, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom, where the majority of harmful emissions are produced in domestic tourism, including business trips. At the same time, small island states such as Maldives, Seychelles, Cyprus or Mauritius emit 30-80% of total volume in international tourism.

The researchers note that although the tourism industry makes a significant contribution to the development of the world economy ($ 1.2 trillion or 4% of total GDP), market participants and authorities need to pay attention to the problem of greenhouse gases. Experts urge to develop more environmentally friendly modes of transport and energy, take into account ecological aspects when constructing new tourist sites, more closely control emissions from private enterprises of the tourism industry and to develop more optimal routes for tourists around the country, thereby reducing emissions from inefficient use of transport.