🇬🇧 We need to talk about carbon emissions in the travel and tourism industry.
Our industry is growing rapidly. We are responsible for many jobs around the world. But we are also responsible for 11% of the planet's carbon emissions.
The travel and tourism sector shares some common issues regarding sustainable development in Latin America and differs from the problems that other continents are now facing. Issues such as the eradication of poverty and social inequality, economic imbalance vis-a-vis the countries of the North and monetary and financial instability, deforestation, sanitation and pollution of rivers, lakes and seas are among the topics that all of us, from Baja California to Mexico to the Chilean and Argentinean Patagonia unite us and affect our activities as professionals and as destinations.
In terms of environmental conservation and protection of the environment, there is only one theme that is global, and this issue is that of climate change. The issue is difficult to cope with - and no major practical solutions developed globally so far. What we do know is that while this great solution does not come, every industry must organize and mobilize to change what is under its control. And our industry has a lot to do.
We are responsible for 1 in 5 jobs in the world and just over 10% of world GDP. We have a lot of strength. However, at least 11% of carbon dioxide emissions are also concentrated in our commercial activities - activities that are dear to the very economic and financial sustainability of tourism, such as transportation and lodging.
We have emitted more CO2 in 30 years than in the last 800,000 years. Issuance rates today are 60% higher than they were 25 years ago. More than 200 billion tons of carbon have been emitted since 2007 - and again, we are responsible for 11% of this total.
Today the overall goal is not to allow global temperature to rise by more than 2 degrees Celsius "from pre-industrial levels." This limit is crucial especially for regions close to the tropics - guess who is in this region? We, Latin Americans.
We can not afford to see destinations that we love and on which we depend disappear, like our vast coastlines of paradisiacal beaches. Other areas may suffer from drought and others with effects related to fires and high temperatures.
So, it should be part of our work to measure and act to reduce our carbon footprint. It is not an individual job, and every actor must participate (and charge!) For a sustainable supply chain - from the supplier of basic inputs to the traveler. On this, we should be even more alert: tourists are already aware that their carbon footprint directly affects the destinations they visit, and already makes choices from airlines, hotels, receptive etc that prove to be responsible for the environmental impact that these cause. Soon, beyond climate issues, we will have a clear demand issue that we need to be ready to respond to.