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Could a ‘carbon passport’ be introduced for holidaymakers?

Intrepid Travel believes carbon passports could be introduced to help curb carbon emissions (Jordan Pettitt / PA Wire)
Intrepid Travel believes carbon passports could be introduced to help curb carbon emissions (Jordan Pettitt / PA Wire)

This year has seen some extreme weather conditions, with devastating wildfires and floods happening across the globe.

And, according to a holiday company, the climate crisis behind these events could soon be addressed by restricting international travel with carbon passports.

Intrepid Travel’s recent report claims that drastic measures could be introduced to prevent the “extinction” of popular holiday destinations.

They sai this could be undertaken through “personal carbon allowances”, and the tourism sector evolving and becoming more “regenerative”, as they deemed the current model “unsustainable”.

The report has led to questions about what a carbon passport is and how likely the prediction is. Here is a comprehensive look at the matter.

What is a carbon passport?

A carbon passport, as envisioned by Intrepid Travel, would be a passport that assigns each traveller an annual carbon footprint, which they cannot surpass.

The report, created in collaboration with foresight agency The Future Laboratory, explained: “These allowances will manifest as passports that force people to ration their carbon in line with the global carbon budget, which is 750 billion tonnes until 2050.

“By 2040, we can expect to see limitations imposed on the amount of travel that is permitted each year.”

They added: “By 2040, it will be unusual to see members of Generation Alpha without a carbon-footprint tracker on their smartphones. Every Uber ride, plane journey, and trip to the supermarket will be logged in their devices, noting their carbon footprint in real time.”

Is a carbon passport actually going to be introduced?

As it stands, there are no official announcements or projects regarding the creation and introduction of carbon passports.

However, governments and travel agencies have become more and more sensitive to climate change and carbon emissions in recent decades.

However, the Climate Change Committee’s report has found that most policies are not on track to meet the country’s 2030 targets. The Government has also recently delayed its net zero targets.

Completely stopping emissions is widely deemed as extremely difficult, but countries across the globe can take measures, like planting more trees, which absorb greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and combat the climate crisis.

How much do flights impact climate change?

Travel is known to inflame the current climate crisis, causing eight per cent of global CO2 emissions. Aviation accounts for 2.5 per cent of this total.

According to Intrepid Travel, a flight between New York and London creates 986 kg of CO2 per passenger, which is “more than the average person produces annually in 56 countries including Paraguay and Burundi”.

As it stands, many experts are encouraging keen travellers to try to limit their carbon emissions to 2.3 tonnes a year to get ahead of the climate crisis. However, currently, the average carbon footprint in the UK is 11.7 tonnes per person.