Dr Peter Burns of the University of Bedfordshire will join world leaders in Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference this week (December 11).
Professor of Tourism Research Development, Dr Burns will apply his expertise to hosting a panel of Tourism and the International Climate and Sustainable Development Agenda: The Path to Low Carbon Development, an official side event of the Conference.
Director of the University’s Institute for Tourism Research, Dr Burns will chair a panel looking at how to lower carbon output at tourist destinations, specifically through the use of case studies and initiatives.
The opportunity for Dr Burns to preside over part of the Conference came about through his work for various United Nations Development Programme-funded climate change projects. Amongst his résumé is the setting up of the Maldives Tourism Adaptation Platform and his role as chief technical adviser on the Towards Carbon Neutral Tourism project in Montenegro.
Dr Burns said: “To be invited by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Paris Regional Tourism Board is a distinct honour.”
The United Nations Climate Change Conference, hosted this year by the French Government, opened on November 30 and runs until December 11. Its aim is to seek international agreement between all countries to keep global warming below 2°C.
Even though the industry has made significant efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, the tourism sector does have a notable effect on climate change due to its reliance on fossil fuels, with three percent of greenhouse gases being emitted via air and marine transport alone.
The conference, held in Le Bourget, intends to ‘recommend actions for low carbon tourism development’ by facilitating ‘exchange between the representatives of the global tourism sector’.
“The task I have is to draw together several examples by speakers from the Philippines, Caribbean and Morocco and highlight ways in which destinations can build resilience and take actions against the impacts of climate change,” added Dr Burns.
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