SW Associates, LLC: Sustainable Development through Tourism

OECD and UNEP Publish Report for Policymakers on Climate Change and Tourism

Climate Change and Tourism Policy in OECD Countries

The OECD and UNEP have just published “Climate Change and Tourism Policy in OECD Countries.” The Report estimates that global greenhouse gas emissions from tourism could double in 25 years. They conclude that “Policy-makers must now develop effective strategies, regulations and incentives that focus on its main sources of current and future emissions.”

Is it politically viable in a fast-spreading climate of budget cuts and austerity? Short and medium term, in the opinion of this blog, implementation will be nearly impossible. However, if climate change is not addressed by policy-makers AND the tourism industry, the longer term costs to the industry and economies that have even low levels of economic dependence on tourism will be even higher. Either take the tough medicine now or pay more later. 

In the report, OECD and UNEP provide the results of a survey, which found “that policies on climate change mitigation were still in their infancy.” In fact, “only one-third of the countries studied had identified tourism-related strategies
and only five out of 44 had implemented any policies (apart from the EU ETS).

To remedy the situation, the Report a five-fold tourism climate policy strategy:

i) embracing the building of knowledge and awareness

ii) fostering technical innovation, research and behavioral change

iii) the introduction of carbon pricing and emissions trading

iv) regulation, and

v) incentives for adopting low carbon technologies.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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