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Carbon emissions soar as U.S. tourism increases

Wednesday, October 2nd 2019, 6:06 pm - They study's authors hope their findings will help policymakers develop incentives to create more fuel efficient air travel.

Research out of the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) suggests an uptick in tourism is causing carbon emissions to increase.

"This paper provides one of the first efforts to quantify the carbon emissions associated with tourist air travel in the continental United States," Neil Debbage, assistant professor of geography and environmental sustainability in UTSA's Department of Political Science and Geography, said in a statement.

Researchers used International Civil Aviation Organization data to analyze carbon emissions for direct and connecting routes between 10 heavily-populated areas in the northeastern U.S. and 13 different tourist destinations in the western U.S. and the Sunbelt.

"On average, the difference between direct and connecting routes was equivalent to operating a refrigerator for an entire year," reads a statement by the authors.

"Nearly half of the routes included in the study exceeded an individual's annual mobility carbon budget for all forms of transportation."

Researchers say one way travellers can reduce their carbon footprint is by selecting non-stop routes when possible.

The paper was published this month in the journal Annals of Tourism Research.

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