In a recent study that says global tourism accounts for 8 pc of carbon emissions, India stands fourth.
India has the world’s fourth-largest carbon footprint from tourism, including business travel, after the USA, China and Germany, says a study that estimates tourism’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions as being 8 pc- four times more than previously estimated.
The study is the first to quantify greenhouse gas emissions from all tourism activities, from air travel to shopping, eating in restaurants, local transportation, etc.
As per the study, domestic travel accounts for larger portions of carbon footprints than foreign travel in each of the countries in point.
While the study suggests India being fourth largest in the world for tourism related carbon footprint, Indians have been shown to produce nearly four times less carbon as compared to Americans. They produce 240 million tonnes from Indians, irrespective of where they travel.
With 909 million tonnes of carbon emitted, irrespective national or international travel, American travellers top the tourism carbon footprint ranking.
“Our analysis is a world-first look at the true cost of tourism, a complete life-cycle assessment of global tourism, ensuring that we don’t miss any impacts,” Arunima Malik, researcher at the University of Sydney and the lead author of the study, told the press.
Malik and her colleagues extracted data from 189 countries, examined supply chains including those for transport, shopping and food, in the context of tourism. Data from more than a billion supply chains was calculated for tourism footprint.
The researchers’ study of global movements also showed that travelling is largely an indulgence of the ones with high incomes and that the emissions linked to tourism mainly flowed between high-income countries.
“We found that the per capita carbon footprint increases strongly with increased affluence and does not appear to (be) satiate(d) as incomes grow,” said Manfred Lenzen, a researcher at the University of Sydney.
Air travel emissions make up about 12 pc of tourism’s global carbon footprint, the study showed.
The researchers are hoping their findings will encourage more meaningful discourse over strategies to mitigate the emissions linked to tourism. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), suggests that travellers choose short-haul destinations, increase use of public transport and lower their use of aviation, and that tourism operators be provided market incentives to improve their energy efficiency.
“Our findings provide proof that so far these mitigation strategies have yielded limited success,” the researchers wrote in their paper. “Neither responsible travel behaviour nor technological improvements have been able to rein in tourism’s carbon footprint.”
The research has also been welcomed by the World Travel Tourism Council (WTTC), which has agreed that the industry’s efforts to curb tourism related carbon emissions have failed.