WTTC and UN team up to tackle climate change
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UN Climate Change) have agreed a common agenda for Climate Action in Travel & Tourism.
Recognising the ambition set by the Paris Agreement to maintain temperature levels at two degrees above pre-industrial levels, and the economic importance of Travel & Tourism to the world’s economy (10 per cent of GDP and one in 10 jobs), the Common Agenda sets out a framework for the two organisations to recognise and address the linkages between T&T and climate change.
Speaking at the 2018 WTTC Global Summit in Buenos Aires recently, Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of UN Climate Change, said: “This is the first time the T&T sector has actively engaged on a global level with the UN Climate agenda.
“We recognise that T&T has a huge role to play in addressing climate change. While climate change itself poses significant risks to some tourism destinations, in many of the most high-risk areas, tourism can provide opportunities for communities to build resilience to its impacts.
“At the same time, as a fast-growing sector, T&T has a responsibility to ensure this growth is sustainable and sits within the parameters set by the Paris Agreement. I call on players across the sector to join us in the move towards a climate neutral world. I am delighted that WTTC is committed to working with us in this ambition.”
Gloria Guevara, WTTC president and CEO, added: “Sustainable growth is one of WTTC’s strategic priorities and climate action is a pillar within that. This is a huge opportunity for our sector to really engage in a meaningful way with the global climate agenda. We are already seeing how climate change is impacting our sector with extreme weather events, rising sea levels and destruction of biodiversity.
“There are many different initiatives from across the WTTC Membership and beyond to reduce the impact of Travel & Tourism on climate change and through this new Common Agenda with UN Climate Change we will have a platform to communicate actions and integrate them into the broader initiatives which UN Climate Change is leading, with a particular focus on the upcoming COP24 in Poland.”
Given the importance of Travel & Tourism to the world economy and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the growing imperative to address climate change in a meaningful way, WTTC and UN Climate Change will work together towards a carbon neutral world with the aim of:
- Communicating the nature and importance of the interlinkages between T&T and climate change
- Raising awareness of the positive contribution T&T can make to building climate resilience
- Reducing thecontribution of T&T to climate change and supporting quantitative targets and reductions
WTTC has been actively engaged in climate change conversations since 2009 when the Council set out a comprehensive framework for the sector and set an aspirational target of reducing total carbon emissions by no less than 50 per cent by 2035 with an interim target of 30 per cent by 2020 with a follow up report issued in 2015.