Global warming produces catastrophic effects that put at risk the economic, ecological and social system as well as the survival of the human race. This warming is intensified by the carbon footprint derived from human activities, including tourism.

According to UNWTO figures, tourism is responsible for approximately 5% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. It is worth saying that only a round trip New York London, for example, produces 2.5 million tons of greenhouse gases (GHG), which is half of the emissions that an average person emits in a full year.

For this reason we want to explain a methodology that helps to know what is the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced by our tourism activities that is useful for a trip to Santander or any other destination in the world.

The carbon calculator

Experts have developed various tools that allow quantifying emissions and establishing mitigation and adaptation mechanisms. One of these methodologies is the carbon calculator, an instrument that determines the total GHGs emitted directly or indirectly by a sector, a company, person, event or product, in a specific period of time and in a specific place.

Currently, carbon calculators can be found through specialized software, web platforms and online and offline applications.

You may also want to know Why sustainable tourism in Colombia is not an option.

Benefits of the carbon calculator for tourism

The carbon calculator facilitates the determination of the impact of carbon emissions on the climate, either of the tourist industry as a whole or of the incidence of a hotel, restaurant, agency, congress, concert, activity or traveler. Consequently, it is an indispensable input for tourism market agents who wish to opt for more sustainable production and consumption standards.

If you are a provider of tourism services, you must know what the impact of the services and products you offer is, in order to develop your sustainability policy, set goals in the short and long term and attract travelers increasingly informed and responsible with the environment.

If you are a traveler, we recommend you to identify the carbon footprint of your travel preferences and choose those destinations, operators, programs and means of transport that favor the conservation of the planet.

In this way both companies and tourists travelling to Santander and around the world have at their disposal tools to quantify their impact on global warming and adopt mechanisms to neutralize emissions, either directly through reductions of greenhouse emissions or indirectly through compensation strategies (such as mechanisms like carbon credits).

Sustainabletravel.org Carbon calculator

There are many carbon calculators available, but the one I will refer was developed by the company sustainabletravel.org, a non-governmental organization that promotes methodologies and tools to boost the sustainability of the tourism industry.

This calculator allows travelers to estimate their carbon footprint, depending on the means of transportations and the number of kilometers traveled as well as on the number of days of stay in a hotel according to the region.

Although currently only stays in Europe and North America are considered, you can use the calculation as a reference for your holidays in Santander or in any other destination.

Once the footprint is calculated, you have the option to offset your emissions by buying carbon credits equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide emitted. When you buy these credits, you contribute to finance sustainable projects to mitigate carbon emissions or capture greenhouse gases.

Among the projects financed by the organization are the creation of wind farms that replace fossil fuel-fired power plants with clean and renewable energy sources, the planting of trees that will help absorb and store carbon, and the protection of forest and natural ecosystems of local communities.

Here is the link where you can try the calculator and quantify the carbon footprint of your next vacation in Santander. See https://sustainabletravel.org/utilities/carbon-calculator/

Go ahead and help us to make tourism more sustainable in Santander and to achieve a cleaner environment for everyone!