On WTM Word Responsible Tourism Day last year we debated carbon efficiency and aviation emissions and the question “Is the travel and tourism industry taking responsibility for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions?” If you missed it you can see the debate on video online.
We are returning to the issue of the travel and tourism industry’s carbon emissions this year, not least because a decision about the international emission trading scheme should be made by October. If no such scheme emerges then the EU has said that it will unilaterally implement its ETS initiative.
The carbon pollution issue has gone out of the headlines, but it has not gone away. The most complete set of data on carbon concentrations in the atmosphere is from Hawaii where a stream of consistent readings has been taken since 1958. When Charles David Keeling began to collect the data 55 years ago it was registering 315 parts per million. Last week it went through the 400 ppm barrier. That is a 27% increase, in just over half a century.
The travel and tourism industry needs to address its carbon emissions – there is no doubt that the industry will come under increasing pressure to improve it carbon efficiency. Consumers are being encouraged to take action too. Fly Smart’s test of a carbon friendly search engine in 2009 found that 57% of users of the Carbon Friendly Flight Search engine were willing to pay a premium for less aviation emissions, which averaged 19% over the cheapest flight offered, by selecting to book the cheapest greenest flight offered. Over 10,000 flight searches were made on the site while it was live.
There is now a new way to choose the most carbon efficient way to fly. The Calasi app allows air passengers to ‘fly smarter’ by choosing the option that creates the least aviation emissions. Download the app onto your search engine and you can use Calasi on a number of meta-search engines to identify the optimal carbon efficient flight: it empowers the consumer to make a responsible choice.