International tourism groups call for lower C02 emissions

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Global tourism organizations are calling for enhanced cooperation among stakeholders to combat climate change by decreasing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

In its Transport Related CO2 Emissions of the Tourism Sector report, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said transport-related CO2 emissions from tourism are predicted to increase by 25 percent to 1,998 million tons from 1,597 million tons between 2016 and 2030.

During the same period, international and domestic arrivals are expected to increase from 20 billion to 37 billion.

It added that tourism-related transport emissions represented 22 percent of all transport emissions in 2016 and is projected to range at 21 percent in 2030.

“Tourism’s transport-related CO2 emissions remain a major challenge and require tourism to work closely with transport in order to support its commitment to accelerate the decarbonazition process and the implementation of a high ambition scenario,” UNWTO said.

It added that the tourism sector must determine its own high ambition scenario, complementing the efforts of the transport sector.

“Here, tourism would advance towards significantly decoupling growth from emissions in order to grow within the international climate targets,” UNWTO said.

With the launch of the report,UNWTO executive director Manuel Butler said it is now time for the tourism sector, especially tourism policy makers, to use data effectively and ensure the sector plays a leading role in addressing the climate emergency.

 “While tourism is mentioned in many nationally determined contributions as a big concern, not enough has yet been done. Industry must do more, but governments must align their policies, so that at the international level we can collectively work to increase ambition, said Ovais Sarmad, deputy executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Meanwhile, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) recently reiterated its commitment in the global fight against climate change through its Climate and Environment Action Plan dubbed as S0AR.

“The initiative sets an ambition for the travel and tourism sector to be climate neutral by 2050 and will set science-based targets, energy efficiency measures, renewable energy and initiatives to reduce the use of plastics, food waste and others,” WTTC said.

In addition, WTTC said it has also spearheaded the creation of a Sustainable Travel and Tourism Partner program, to recognize companies that are taking action on this area and will share industry best practices via a Sustainability Knowledge Hub.

 “We are excited to be moving forward with our Climate and Environment Action Plan (S0AR), as the leaders within the travel and tourism industry, we have the power to drive real change and are committed to this issue,” WTTC president and CEO Gloria Guevara said.

“Many of our members are already champions in sustainable business practice, and WTTC has the opportunity to convene the industry so we can move faster, contribute, and address the significant environmental and sustainability challenges facing our world,”Guevara added.

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