Round Table on Travel & Tourism and Carbon Pollution

Climate Change, WTM London, 2013

The travel and tourism industry is beginning to address the challenge of its greenhouse gas emissions and its contribution to climate change. As we saw in the UK outbound this year, changes in the climate affect both originating markets and destinations where drought and extreme weather events affect local communities, their environment and holidaymakers. The climate is still getting warmer and this will affect many destinations with hotter summer temperatures and less snowfall in some ski resorts.

The travel and tourism industry contributes about 5% of global CO2 emissions with air transport accounting 40% of the travel and tourism sector’s emissions around 2% of global emissions. On current trends the proportion of carbon pollution resulting from travel and tourism is expected to increase. In 2008 the European Union decided to include aviation in its Emissions Trading System from 2012 and then in November 2012 deferred the requirement for airlines to surrender emission allowances for flights into and out of Europe until after the 2013 International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) General Assembly in September 2013. The price of carbon in the EU subsequently hit record lows due to an oversupply of credits and the number available has been reduced.

The travel and tourism industry is an important source of economic development and livelihoods in many developing countries and in many it is one of the few ways of earning vital foreign exchange – there are no simple choices, ETS, APD, fuel tax are all approaches which some favour – they all have costs, many of which raise important issues of intra-generational equity. Our panel will answer Stephen’s questions about what can be done by the industry to tackle the consequences of climate change and its contribution to causing it.

WTM has invited three leaders in the travel and tourism industry to join a round table discussion with Stephen Sackur of Hard Talk fame to discuss, in the wake of the 2013 ICAO decision how the industry can best address the challenges of climate change. How can it adjust to changes in climate taking place around the world? How can it make a significant contribution to reducing carbon pollution?

Gerald Lawless, President and Group Chief Executive Officer, Jumeirah Group.
Johan Lundgren, Deputy Chief Executive TUI Travel PLC.
Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Tourism in the Cabinet of South Africa - former Minister of Environment who led the SA delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations for five years

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