The carbon footprint of global tourism

Manfred Lenzen, Ya Yen Sun, Futu Faturay, Yuan Peng Ting, Arne Geschke, Arunima Malik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

141 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tourism contributes significantly to global gross domestic product, and is forecast to grow at an annual 4%, thus outpacing many other economic sectors. However, global carbon emissions related to tourism are currently not well quantified. Here, we quantify tourism-related global carbon flows between 160 countries, and their carbon footprints under origin and destination accounting perspectives. We find that, between 2009 and 2013, tourism's global carbon footprint has increased from 3.9 to 4.5 GtCO2e, four times more than previously estimated, accounting for about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Transport, shopping and food are significant contributors. The majority of this footprint is exerted by and in high-income countries. The rapid increase in tourism demand is effectively outstripping the decarbonization of tourism-related technology. We project that, due to its high carbon intensity and continuing growth, tourism will constitute a growing part of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)522-528
Number of pages7
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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    Lenzen, M., Sun, Y. Y., Faturay, F., Ting, Y. P., Geschke, A., & Malik, A. (2018). The carbon footprint of global tourism. Nature Climate Change, 8(6), 522-528. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-018-0141-x