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Glasgow Declaration: Climate Action in Tourism

by Yucatan Times
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The Glasgow Declaration is a catalyst for increased urgency about the need to accelerate climate action in tourism and to secure strong actions and commitment to support the global goals to halve emissions over the next decade and reach Net Zero emissions as soon as possible before 2050.

We have long known that our dependence on fossil fuels, unsustainable land use, and wasteful consumption patterns drive climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. Recently, COVID-19 has deepened our awareness of the connection between these impacts and risks to human health.

Rebalancing our relationship with nature is critical to regenerating both its ecological health and our personal, social and economic well-being. It is also critical for tourism, which relies on and connects us with flourishing ecosystems. Restoring nature – and our relationship with it – will be key to our sector’s recovery from the pandemic, as well as its future prosperity and resilience.

According to the latest UNWTO/ITF research, tourism CO2 emissions grew at least 60% from 2005 to 2016, with transport-related CO2 causing 5% of global emissions in 2016. Unless we accelerate decarbonisation, sector CO2 emissions could rise 25% or more by 2030, compared to 2016.

As outlined in the One Planet Vision for a Responsible Recovery of Tourism from COVID-19, committing to and planning for a green recovery offers us a unique opportunity to transform the sector in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. If we can move rapidly away from carbon- and material-intensive ways of delivering visitor experiences, instead prioritising community and ecosystem wellbeing, then tourism can be a leader in transforming to a low-carbon future.


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change were adopted by United Nations member states with associated interest from a number of private sector companies and coalitions. The implication for the private sector is particularly important and valuable in delivering these objectives through innovation, responsiveness, efficiency and the provision of specific skills and resources.


The alternative is worsening vulnerability. Climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss jeopardise most tourism activities. Rising sea-levels, more frequent floods, and other extreme weather events threaten community livelihoods everywhere, from infrastructure and supply chains to food security.

Climate change impacts are most severely felt by under-represented and vulnerable groups such as women, Indigenous communities, people living with disabilities, and small island states. A just and inclusive transformation of tourism must prioritise their voices and needs, as well as those of younger generations who will otherwise pay the full price of our inaction.

A just transition to Net Zero before 2050 will only be possible if tourism’s recovery accelerates the adoption of sustainable consumption and production, and redefines our future success to consider not only economic value but rather the regeneration of ecosystems, biodiversity and communities.

TYT Newsroom

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