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UNWTO outlines strategies at climate change conference

UNWTO outlines strategies at climate change conference

In its on-going effort to cut global tourism emissions, UNWTO brought together experts from United Nations agencies and Oxford University at UN climate change talks in Qatar to present the latest strategies helping to reduce tourism’s contribution to global warming.

Cutting-edge alternative aircraft fuels, emissions trading schemes for aviation, water recycling systems on cruise liners and improvements in hotel insulation were among the innovations presented during the UNWTO side event, The Tourism Sector Response to Climate Change, at the 18th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP18) in Doha, Qatar. 

“As tourism continues to grow, providing economic opportunities and jobs for millions worldwide, its carbon dioxide emissions are also on the up,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, ahead of the event. “We have a window of opportunity right now to move away from business as usual policies and to put the right strategies in place to significantly reduce our emissions.”

On the occasion of the event, which counted on the participation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Oxford University Centre for the Environment and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UNWTO officially launched the publication Tourism in the Green Economy.

The publication builds on the tourism chapter of the 2011 UNWTO/UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Green Economy Report, which finds that an investment of just 0.2% of global GDP per year between now and 2050 would allow the tourism sector to grow steadily over the coming decades, contributing to much-needed economic growth, employment and development while ensuring significant environmental benefits such as reductions in water consumption (18%), energy use (44%) and CO2 emissions (52%), as compared to a business as usual scenario.