Dr Ya-Yen Sun talks about the hidden cost of tourism

Published by Darron Toy on


I think travel is an essential part of our
daily life and this can range from a visit to your friends and relatives or go to somewhere
that’s exotic and beautiful or engage with business trip to any destinations and last
year it was estimated more than a billion international visits and if we include domestic
trips, it would add up to eight or nine billion journeys for the globe. So this is a trillion dollar industry and
our study is to provide quantitative information regarding the carbon footprint of global tourism consumption. Our research finds that in 2013 the global
tourism consumption contributes about 4.5 gigatonne of green house gas emissions and
this is about eight per cent of the global emission base at that year and this
is also about four times larger than the previous estimates published in 2005. This is the first type of comprehensive assessment
available to evaluate the global tourism and it’s relationship with the green house gas
emissions and we not only looking at emissions produced by the tourism business but also
the emissions produced by the suppliers and this referred to as life cycle concept means that
every component that you consumed will be taken into account, so this is very comprehensive. In our study we found that tourism is very
carbon intensive. In economic terms it means that if you want
to generate per $ tourism GDP you will produce 20 percent more emissions than generating this $
through the average manufacturing sectors. So tourism is couple intensive and one key
factor for this pattern is that we use a lot of transportation and some of the transportations
are very carbon intensive such as aviation, cruise and personal vehicles. So one way to make lower impact of our travel
is to fly less, do not use as much aviation as you like and use more public transportation
and choose destinations that are close to home. I think one key component is to pay the fee
to offset the carbon of your trip. I think one key step to reduce the carbon
contents of our travel is through technology development. In other words that we need to adapt the renewable
energies, try to replace the old facilities or flight fleet so that we can deliver a service
but use less energies and produce less emissions and one way to push the producers to embark
on technology development is through financial consideration. So we suggest carbon tax and carbon trading
schemes as bold strategies where we put financial pressures on the producers and allow them
to adapt renewable energies in a much faster speed

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