A report on the Paris Climate Change Agreement and its implications for tourism: why we will always have Paris

May 2016
Journal of sustainable tourism

Sustained international diplomatic efforts culminated in the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement by 196 countries in December 2015. This paper provides an overview of the key provisions of the agreement that are most relevant to the tourism sector: much strengthened and world-wide participation in greenhouse gas emission reduction ambitions, an enduring framework for increased ambitions over time, improved transparency in emissions reporting and a greater emphasis on climate risk management through adaptation. The declared carbon emission reduction ambitions of the tourism sector and international aviation are found to be broadly compatible with those of the Paris Agreement, however, claims of reduced emission intensity in the tourism sector since 2005 and a roadmap by which emission reduction ambitions for 2020 and 2035 might realistically be achieved both remain equivocal. The need for international tourism leadership to improve sectoral scale emission monitoring capacity to meet the increasing requirements for transparency, convene an assessment of risks from climate change and climate policy, foster greater collaboration on destination climate resilience and accelerate technological, policy and social innovation to put tourism firmly on a pathway to the low-carbon economy are all emphasized, as is the need for dialogue between tourism and tourism researchers.