Published on Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Weigh the evidence, see the opportunities, confront the challenges, reap the benefits
The carbon market - what opportunities and challenges are there for travel and tourism? How can YOU benefit?
On the one hand: Carbon allowances are at an all-time low price of just €7 a tonne; massive new resources of shale have been found putting a cap on fossil fuel prices; at every turn climate change and the global warming process is being challenged by vested commercial interests; the EU Emission Trading System global expansion is turning into a bitter world trade war; the COP process and the Kyoto agreement to allocate global carbon emissions appear to be slowing to a halt. After 20 years the road from Rio, after all the enthusiasm and determination to have a new world … seems to have hit a dead end.
But, the problem hasn"t gone away. Our world is inexorably stumbling towards 4 degrees extra, which will certainly mean major social, economic, cultural and environmental catastrophes and massive, massive financial costs. It is said that, for each year we avoid action, the build up cost is trillions of dollars. Eventually this bill will have to be paid.
So, eventually, a global carbon market will kick in, for one simple reason - there is no alternative.
Governments will certainly impose legislation to keep within their targets (when they are agreed); they will have to impose fines on entities which do not achieve.
Between governments, between utilities, between industries and down to the level of SMEs, SMMEs and individuals, a carbon market represents a sensible way of managing emissions by giving them a value. If recognized carbon markets do not fulfil this role, then "grey" markets and under-the-counter deals will.
Why will tourism be affected? Because it is the world"s biggest industry; because it currently emits between 5-12% of all global greenhouse emissions and because it is growing dramatically - UNWTO forecasts an increase of tourism of 100% by 2018; a recent forecast indicates a tourism increase of 400% by 2050.
So tourism is going to be dramatically affected by climate change, global warming and, necessarily, the carbon market.
Back in 2007, the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) recognized the size of the danger and came up with a plan at Davos - the "Davos Agreement" and in 2009, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) outlined its vision.
UNWTO called for:
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