Happiness and limits to sustainable tourism mobility: a new conceptual model

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Tourism is both a victim and a vector of climate change (Cabrini et al., 2009). Although the impact of climate change on tourism will lead to considerable behavioural change for entrepreneurs, governments and tourists, this chapter examines behavioural change required to mitigate the impact of tourism on climate. Global tourism is responsible for 5 per cent of current global CO2 emissions (UNWTOUNEP-WMO, 2008). The impact of tourism on radiative forcing - the main parameter determining the changes in temperature - is greater. Up to 12.5 per cent of radiative forcing is caused by non-carbon effects such as contrails and contrailinduced cirrus clouds that are caused by aviation (Scott et al., 2010). Approximately, 75 per cent of all CO2 emissions are caused by transportation, of which 40 per cent is caused by air transportation alone (UNWTO-UNEP-WMO, 2008). Adding the effects of radiative forcing, these shares could be as high as 91 per cent and 74 per cent, respectively (UNWTO-UNEP-WMO, 2008). Although air transportation’s share was only 17 per cent of all transportation emissions in 2005, multiple studies (Dubois et al., 2011; Peeters and Dubois, 2010; Scott et al., 2010) explained that current behavioural trends towards a higher share of air transportation and concomitant increase of distances have caused a significant increase in emissions. This growth is found not only in business as usual (BAU) scenarios but also in scenarios that take account of proposed pro-environmental measures (UNWTOUNEP-WMO, 2008). Furthermore, Peeters and Dubois (2010) and Dubois et al. (2011) demonstrate that it is not feasible to maintain current growth trends for trips and achieve the required emission reductions for sustainable development relating to climate change. The required emission reductions are approximately 80 per cent of 1990 global CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases by 2050 (Hansen, 2008; Hansen et al., 2008; Parry et al., 2009; Rockstrom et al., 2009). BAU emissions are expected to quadruple over this time period. To accommodate a reduction of 80 per cent, overall travel efficiency must improve by a factor of 16, or almost 94 per cent. Although the industry suggests such a reduction is achievable (ATAG, 2010), science cannot confirm this (Lee et al., 2013; Owen et al., 2010). Therefore, even though current aviation emissions are low, measured as a share of global emissions, the main problem is the strong future growth rate.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding and governing sustainable tourism mobility: psychological and behavioural approaches
EditorsJ.E.S. Higham, S.A. Cohen, P. Peeters, S. Gössling
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780203771501
ISBN (Print)9780415839372
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Publication series

NameContemporary geographies of leisure, tourism and mobility


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