#Tourism - Impacts on climate change
Sustainable Consumption & Production, is goal number 12 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The tourism industry in general and the hospitality industry in specific are unmindful of these goals, which are essential for the planet. Consumption & production in the areas of energy, water, waste, architecture and the food/procurement chain are disproportionate to the value the sector adds back to the economy. As an example, hospitality being a high margin industry can now afford to move to renewable energy technologies, as they have become commercially viable, consume less water, process their waste, move towards low embodied energy buildings and reduce the carbon impact in their procurement strategies.
The planet as a whole is trying to reduce its green house gas emissions by cutting down burning of fossil fuels for energy generation. In this scenario, nations around the world have set targets for reduction of GHG emissions. The focus has rightly been on the biggest emitters – the electricity plants using coal and other fossil fuels. Some sectors like tourism, have managed to stay under the radar screen.
Green Dreams for the Planet hopes to size the carbon impact of the tourism industry and facilitate development of incentives and legislation for governments, to curb the negative impact of the industry.
In phase 1, Green Dreams for the Planet Foundation has started with sizing estimations of hospitality industry. The multi phase activities will eventually estimate the carbon impact of the overall tourism industry, and then culminate in a global level conference to raise awareness to the issue, and with legislative guidelines for policy makers to ensure adoption.
One of the first projects taken on by Green Dreams for the Planet Foundation is to help reduce green houses gases from vehicle emissions.
Globally, vehicle emissions contribute to green house gases, which are leading to climate change challenges. In 2005, more than 14% of world greenhouse gas emissions came from transportation (passenger and freight)1. Obviously these figures have climbed a lot since then.
It is also known that 17.2% of the fuel of a vehicle is burnt when the vehicle is idling2. Most of this idling happens at traffic signals. Studies have proven that idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and emits more CO2 than engine restarting. While this may vary depending on the size and type of engine, the variance is from 0.2 to 0.5 gal/h for passenger vehicles across a range of sizes, and increased with idling speed.3
Green Dreams for the Planet is devising strategies to persuade drivers of vehicles to switch off their engines when they see red at a traffic signal.
A test campaign was launched on 22nd April 2015 on the occasion of the World Environment day in Bangalore city. Volunteers were stationed at 15 traffic signals across the city with placards that carried a simple message encouraging them to turn off their engines. The test campaign was a success. More than 75% of vehicles who saw the appeal message, responded to the call to turn their engines off.
This initiative is Phase 1 of a multi phase initiative that we will see the scaling of this initiative at a global level in a 5 to 7 year period.