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Climate Change and Tourism Policy in OECD Countries

image of Climate Change and Tourism Policy in OECD Countries

Undertaken jointly with United Nations Environment Programme, the report analyses policies and issues related to climate change adaptation and mitigation in the tourism sector. It provides policy recommendations, with the objective to identify priority areas to be included in a framework for action in the area of climate change and tourism.  A review of the state of policy-making on this important issue clearly indicates that greater efforts could be made by countries to understand the likely impacts of climate change on tourism; there is a low awareness of the tourism sector's climate change mitigation and adaptation needs; and that current policy, with few exceptions, is inadequate to the scale of the challenge, both on mitigation and adaptation.

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Proposed agenda for further research and development

A number of key policy actions seem to emerge from the findings in this report. Strong growth in emissions from aviation is unavoidable if no stronger regulatory environment is implemented. Aviation industry groups and tourism organisations maintain that emission reduction strategies need to consider “social and economic” dimensions, as well as the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” (CBDR). It is unclear whether growth in tourism emissions can be compensated for by greater emission reductions in other sectors – maintaining a 2°C objective - and whether further growth is possible even under the CBDR principle, given that for instance many tourism-dependent island states already exceed sustainable per capita emission levels (Gössling, 2010). Policy development and research will need to address both the ethical and economic implications of exceeding the 2°C objective, based on i) the argument of poverty alleviation, and ii) burden sharing between sectors, based in part on the argument that aviation’s options for reducing emissions will be better in the longerterm future.

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